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Thoughts on Western Digital Red vs Green in a Drivepool environment?

edited December 2012 in DrivePool
I've always had Green drives in my server and thus far I've never had a problem.  The server is on 24x7, runs WHS2011, and acts as a torrent downloader, file server, VM server, etc.  It's basically running all the time, but every drive is probably not in use (I just don't know).

I know it's recommended to use the Red drives in a RAID environment, but does that still hold true in a Drivepool environment?  (Pretend for a second the warranties are the same - I know Red is longer, but I'm looking at technical and power characteristics at this point)


  • edited December 2012 Resident Guru
    Short answer? Reds are probably better in a multiple drive array, RAID or not. WD's PR hype aside, it does seem to be what they're designed for.

    Looking at just the 3TB specs, the Red is somewhat more power efficient, noise is slightly less, speed is slightly more, MTBF is higher, load cycles are doubled (and idle head parking is apparently disabled whilst Greens will idle park after 8 seconds, per Anandtech review linked below).

    Red also comes with "Active Balance" which is supposed to reduce vibration in multidrive systems, which is a problem I've run into in the past (for an extreme non-IT example of "harmonic resonance" and why it is a bad thing, google Tacoma Narrows Bridge 1940). Great if it works as claimed.

    In my region, Red is more expensive up front but averaged over TB per Warrantied Year it is better. As my Greens (and other, non-WD, drives) are getting old and wearing out, I'll be buying at least one Red early in the new year (one next week actually, after that we'll see). As always, though, "Your mileage may vary".

  • Thanks Shane; most of what you mentioned is where my head was at.  The parking of heads - do you know offhand if that affects power consumption?  (ie. when running the drive uses xW and when parked the drive uses (x-?)W.  My thinking was that if when parked the power consumption is lower, and the drives are parked for 1/2 of the day, then I would imagine over time that it would have a marginal effect.

    In a true small/medium NAS environment, I would hands down go for Red, but for the home server environment, I'm still on the fence.

    (I'm an engineer - I've seen that Tacoma Narrows bridge video more times than I can count!)
  • edited January 2013 Resident Guru
    WDC's glossary says that head parking reduces power consumption by reducing aerodynamic drag. We are talking rather low wattage either way. To quickly tabulate (and I find it interesting that Red drives use less power writing to the disk than Green drives use sitting idle):

    Average Power Consumption (Watts)
    Drive      Active  Idle  Standby  Sleep
    3TB Red    4.4     4.1   0.6      0.6
    3TB Green  6       5.5   0.8      8.8

    A worst case scenario (wherein the server does nothing all day AND a parked head is what WDC means by standby mode) would work out to a maximum averaged difference of (4.1-0.8)*24*3.6 = 285.12 kJ, or 0.0792 kWh, per day per drive.

    If you check the Anandtech review I linked, they mention how to enable/configure head parking. If you wanted to get fancy you could schedule a script to change the parking frequency according to daily usage patterns (e.g. fast parking in the early am), but be careful you don't end up burning more calories writing and implementing it than you get back on your electricity bill. :)
  • edited January 2013 Resident Guru
    I'll add that I think it very unlikely a parked head is what is meant by standby mode. I suspect standby and sleep modes describe when the platters are stationary and only the solid state circuitry is powered, and that parking may be averaged into the idle figures (at least for the Green drives) according to whatever testbed algorithm WDC uses. But since I'll be getting a Red drive in the next week or two, I can hook up a meter and find out if you like. :)
  • I just
    bought a Red this afternoon.  It was $30 difference - not enough for me
    to say no, once I factored the extra warranty coverage in.  Thanks for
    the input Shane, much appreciated!
  • I bought a couple red 3tb drives last month to expand my whs v1.

    Just bought 5 more (got them for 139 each on boxing week) and set up a hardware raid6 to move to whs 2011 with drive pool. 

    I have 8 greens and 2 reds I'm pulling files from to rebuild the server.  The 2 reds ran at 130-150MB/s while copying and the greens seem to settle in at 80MB/s. 

    Pretty big difference compared to the greens.

    A side note, my 2 Hitachi 5k2000 ran around 100MB/s when copying to the new array.  I think I paid 68 bux for those pre flood.. Come on Toshiba!!!

  • All my WD green drives (3TB) and now one of my green 2TBs are getting SMART error messages due to over aggressive head parking.  This problem is well documented for the WD Green 3TB drives. I'm now slowly replacing them all with WD Reds.
  • edited April 2013 Member
    I too currently have all 3TB WD Green drives.   They actually run a bit hot for me. 

    Since DrivePool is not the same as a raid array,  would the Green vs Red's "Time Limited Error Recovery" feature help a DrivePool scenario? 

    So yeah, My Green's are working great but they seem to run HOT. 
    (#2 of 4 from the top does at least)
    Do the Red's run cooler than the Greens? I have all my drives packed in two rather compact MediaSonic ProBox 4-Bay enclosures. (active fan cooling though)

    I'm thinking the Green's are fine for DrivePool but I'd like to know if the Red's run any cooler. 
    (since my enclosures are fan cooled yet smaller than normal)

    Here are the videos that got me thinking about Green vs Red

  • edited April 2013 Resident Guru
    Anecdotally, my Reds run a little cooler than my Greens. However, note that's a sample size of one (ie, pretty much useless statistically) and all of them are within 30C to 35C anyway and the cooling fans are, shall we say, part of a frankenbox server so it's hardly an even cooling distribution.

    Statistically, for drives in general, you might find sections 3.4 (Temperature) and 5 (Conclusions) of this Google study interesting reading. Basically, it found that if drives stay roughly between 30C to 45C, at a reasonably consistent temperature, other factors are more important.

    TLER isn't relevant to DrivePool the way it is to RAID (simplistically, DP doesn't have to rebuild the entire pool if one of its disks fails to respond in time). The low time-to-idle default setting of Greens and aggressive head parking (see rjbreton's comment above yours) is what I'd worry about.
  • edited April 2013 Member
    ok good to know, I think I'll stick with my 3TB greens for now, and plan on switching to either 3TB or 5TB reds when the 5TB drives come out later this year. (price of 3TB "should" come down once 5TB is out)

    I have a high level of confidence in Stablebit-Scanner warning / protecting me from failures with it's evacuation feature at any level of SMART pre-warning errors. 
  • I have two WD greens (1 TB and 2 TB) and two reds (both 2 TB). They are all located in the same hot-swap cabinet with an active fan. The 1TB green run at 33C, the 2TB green run at 37C.

    The two reds are both running at 30C. The "hot" green disk is the OS disk and gets some more load than the pure data disks. My hottest disk however is a Maxtor 1TB running at a wopping 42C. StableBit scanner keeps giving me temperature warnings when ever it goes over 45C which happens nearly daily. I'm planning to swap it for a new WD red when I have some money.
  • edited April 2013 Member
    My 3TB green drives average 42-53.(never below 40)    One drive reached 59 a few times the past couple months.  Scanner sends me email warnings. The hottest one is always the 2nd one from the top of 4.    My set of 4-bay enclosures are inside my floating wall Ikea closed cabinet.  The cabinet and the enclosures are both actively fan cooled. (nice and quiet)  My bedroom is always kind of warm since it's on the third  floor of a new condo.  (so that's part of it) Maybe that few degrees lower Red's give is just what I need in my setup.  $20-$30 extra per red drive isn't all that much for long term peace of mind.  
  • Speak of the Digital Devil, one of my 3TB Green's just reported being "Damaged" via Scanner hours after my last post above.    I just received an over night delivery of a 3TB Red via Amazon.  I have the new Red added & I'm removing the bad Green drive now via DrivePool GUI.  It should be done in the next 24 hours.(takes more than a day to move that much data I guess)

    Speaking of bad drive detection, hopefully 2.x of DrivePool will add the features 1.x of DrivePool had communicating with Scanner talking together.   With 1.x if you have any damage or smart errors, it will evacuate empty the bad drive. (or as much of it as possible)   That at least gives you peace of mind while you wait for a replacement drive to arrive.   I'm looking forward to that feature coming back to 2.x

    Another feature 1.x had that was nice is a Quick Removal option.  If you have faith your files are duplicated it will let you remove any 1 drive right away, and will re-duplicate from that point. (saving time, some risk)

    If I'm happy with the lower temps, I might just replace all my greens with reds right away.  (and sell the green's while the eBay Green value is still near break even'ish for what I paid for them)
  • edited April 2013 Member
    Well I've had my new 3TB Red drive in my 4-bay enclosure along with the other three 3TB Green drives fora week now.   I'm happy to report that the RED drive is running 7 degrees COOLER than my GREEN drives!

    The Red stays in the 30's/40's while the Green's are upper 40's/50's most of the time.   I'm confident my data is safer on Red's long term.   I have more Red's on the way and will be slowly swapping the Green's out.  (eBay sell time soon)
  • edited April 2013 Member
    Well it can take awhile to swap out eight, 3TB drives as you can imagine.   I'm finally getting around to swapping the last two greens, but over night one of the remaining green's threw a SMART error.(see below)   I'm SO happy I'm swapping to RED ones!  The problem of the Green's aggressive head parking has shown it's ugly head.


    StableBit Scanner

    S.M.A.R.T. Warning on 'MEDIA'

    One or more disks are suspect:

    • WDC WD30 EZRX-00MMMB0 USB Device - 1 warnings
      • The head of this hard drive has parked 300,004 times. After 300,000 parking cycles the drive may be in danger of developing problems. Drives normally park their head when they are powered down and activate their head when they are powered back up. Excessive head parking can be caused by overzealous power management settings either in the Operating System or in the hard drive's firmware."

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