Western Digital’s latest drive is a massive 10 terabytes in capacity. That’s a pretty staggering size given it was just a few years ago we were passing the 2TB barrier. This drive is part of the WD Red series, which is optimised for use at home and small to medium business in Network Attached Storage (NAS) systems.
As storage sizes increase, platter density continues to increase and manufacturers continue to reach the boundaries of what’s possible, but somehow push through those barriers. The precision of the read-write heads and error correction all need to be intensely accurate for this to work. Part of the magic is WD’s 4th generation HelioSeal technology which hermetically seals the HDD and replaces the air inside with helium.
When the drive is sealed, oxygen is not longer good enough, with helium being just one-seventh the density of air, the lower atmosphere allows WD to achieve a dramatic increases in efficiency and reliability. This tech was previously reserved for the the enterprise market, so its fantastic to see it making its way into consumer drives. Another side benefit of using this technique to seal the drive is it helps to keep the noise of the drive to a minimum.
The 3.5″ internal drive runs at a modest 5400 RPM, which won’t break and speed records, but that’s not why you buy this drive, its focus is really on delivering massive storage sizes, rather than SSD-type speed.
This drive features an enhanced balance control technology known 3D Active Balance Plus, that improves overall drive performance and reliability. You really do get the sense that every possible effort was deployed to achieve these goals of the drive.
Performance Speed Tests
While speed isn’t the primary focus for this drive, but it is something you’ll want to know. The read write speed of the drive was testing across a number of benchmarks, the results of which are available below.
Blackmagic Disk Speed Test
The results of this test show a read speed of 209.1MB/s and write of 203.8MB/s.
This benchmark achieved a 204MB/s read speed and 205MB/s write.
Crystal Disk Mark 5.2.1
The final result was a handsome result (for a 5400RPM drive) 209.7MB/s sequential read speeds ad 215MB/s write.
Pricing and Availability
The new WD Red 10TB drives are available now at selected Australian retailers and distributors like CENTER COM and Mwave for A$649.00, Scorptech for A$675.00. You’ll get a 3-year limited warranty. There’s also a Pro version of the WD Red 10TB drives which features a 5-year limited warranty and costs a little more at $749.00 but runs 7200RPM.
Naturally buying a drive at the top of the size chart means you’ll pay a healthy premium over buying 2 drives of half the volume. If you’re trying to build the largest NAS array possible, then you’ll appreciate the size available and could easily scale up to 40 or even 80TB with just 4 or 8 drives. If you go buying smaller drives, you’ll likely be up for multiple NAS boxes which adds to the overall cost and complexity of the system.
If you’re building a massive storage array for the back-end of a security system, then these drives would be perfect given their large capacity and focus on reliability.
However you look at it, storing 10TB of data on a single drive is madness. To avoid having a single point of failure, you’ll likely need multiple drives in that NAS to ensure you have redundancy. If you have the budget, both of those drives could be 10TB in size. Even in this era of 4K HDR video, that’s still a seriously impressive amount of storage space.
While reviewing the drive, it spent some as the secondary storage drive in my PC (currently a Lenovo Y710 Cube), alongside an SSD for the primary boot drive. This was actually an incredibly useful setup, with the speed of the SSD the machine flies, but the size is just 512GB. The massive 10TB drive was perfect for storing and organising all of the data I had spread across multiple hard drives and a half a dozen micro-SD cards. The most data is also backed up in the cloud. When I needed space for Adobe After Effects, Premiere and Photoshop Scratch Disks and Cache files, multi-gigabyte Unity sample files, extract .zip files, or even store an archive of Steam titles, this seemingly endless amount of space was an absolute delight to have access to.
Another option is to leverage Storage Spaces in Windows 10. If you don’t fancy buying a dedicated external NAS box and power that separately to your PC, you could use storage spaces to create a storage pool of redundant data. You will have to delete any files you have on the drive to get started, but this allows you to pair multiple drives of different sizes. If you’ve got the space inside your case, the Sata ports on your motherboard, this option is definitely worth considering.
The drive overall is a stellar achievement in engineering and WD should be applauded for that. Having a luxurious amount of space is incredibly important as we create more media than ever before and look past 4K to 8K and beyond. For now, being able to store every single photo you’ve ever taken on a single drive is a pretty awesome place to live. If you’re budget can stretch for it, this is a drive you should definitely consider for home, or for your small business.
For more information, head over to the WD website at https://www.wdc.com/products/internal-storage/wd-red.html.