Feature Set Comparison

Enterprise hard drives come with features such as real time linear and rotational vibration correction, dual actuators to improve head positional accuracy, multi-axis shock sensors to detect and compensate for shock events and dynamic fly-height technology for increasing data access reliability. For the WD Red units, Western Digital incorporates some features in firmware under the NASware moniker. We have already covered these features in our previous Red reviews. These hard drives also expose some of their interesting firmware aspects through their SATA controller.

A high level overview of the various supported SATA features is provided by HD Tune Pro 5.50

The HGST Ultrastar He6 supports almost all features (except for TRIM - this is obviously not a SSD - and Automatic Acoustic Management - a way to manage the sound levels by adjusting the seek velocity of the heads). The Seagate Enterprise Capacity drive avoids the host protected area and device configuration overlay, as well as the power management features. APM's absence means that the head parking interval can't be set through ATA commands by the NAS OS. Device Configuration Overlay allows for the hard drive to report modified drive parameters to the host. It is not a big concern for most applications. Coming to the WD Red, we find it is quite similar to the Ultrastar He6 in the support department, except for the absence of APM (Advanced Power Management).

We get a better idea of the supported features using FinalWire's AIDA64 system report. The table below summarizes the extra information generated by AIDA64 (that is not already provided by HD Tune Pro).

Supported Features
  WD Red Seagate Enterprise Capacity v4 HGST Ultrastar He6
DMA Setup Auto-Activate Supported, Disabled Supported, Disabled Supported, Disabled
Extended Power Conditions Not Supported Supported, Enabled Supported, Enabled
Free-Fall Control Not Supported Not Supported Not Supported
General Purpose Logging Supported, Enabled Supported, Enabled Supported, Enabled
In-Order Data Delivery Not Supported Not Supported Supported, Disabled
NCQ Priority Information Supported Not Supported Supported
Phy Event Counters Supported Supported Supported
Release Interrupt Not Supported Not Supported Not Supported
Sense Data Reporting Not Supported Supported, Disabled Supported, Disabled
Software Settings Preservation Supported, Enabled Supported, Enabled Supported, Enabled
Streaming Supported, Disabled Not Supported Supported, Enabled
Tagged Command Queuing Not Supported Not Supported Not Supported

Interesting aspects are highlighted in the above table. While the two enterprise drives support the extended power conditions (EPC) extensions for fine-grained power management, the Red lineup doesn't. NCQ priority information adds priority to data in complex workload environments. While WD and HGST have it enabled on their drives, Seagate seems to believe it is unnecessary. The NCQ streaming feature enables isochronous data transfers for multimedia streams while also improving performance of lower priority transfers. This feature could be very useful for media server and video editing use-cases. The Seagate enterprise drive doesn't support it, and, surprisingly, the Red seems to have disabled it by default.

6 TB Face-Off: The Contenders Performance - Raw Drives
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  • JohnMD1022 - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Actually, yes.

    I have seen too many bad Seagate drives to use or recommend.

    At one point, I had 9 bad Seagates in my shop at the same time.

    In addition, their customer service leaves a lot to be desired.
  • comomolo - Monday, July 21, 2014 - link

    Have you actually read the article?

    It's clearly written that the drive DID NOT fail. The drive in question passed all the tests and ran perfectly fine by itself on a PC. The author states this looks like a compatibility issue with QNAP's server.
  • GTVic - Monday, July 21, 2014 - link

    A lot of people claim the failure is related to shipping methods, particularly blaming Newegg on this. Proper shipping = reliable drive. I'd believe that sooner than "WD Red sucks" comments.
  • Wixman666 - Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - link

    I have a sea of WD Red hard drives out in the field at various customer locations. I've only ever had one fail.
  • romrunning - Monday, July 21, 2014 - link

    I don't understand - if you had both WD Red and WD Red Pro drives (according to your other quick note on these new drive models), why didn't you review the WD Red Pro?
  • ganeshts - Monday, July 21, 2014 - link

    As I wrote in the pipeline section, the WD Red Pro review will come next week.

    This is for the 6 TB capacity.

    The 4TB versions' review will include the WD Red Pro (sometime next week)
  • continuum - Saturday, July 26, 2014 - link


    Claims there's an early model issue on the regular WD Red's causing them to be invalid? But that's the only site I've heard of claiming this...
  • Rythan - Monday, July 21, 2014 - link

    I've gone through this article a couple of times - where are the idle and load power numbers?
  • ganeshts - Monday, July 21, 2014 - link

    I will add them later tonight (along with the missing He6 benchmark numbers).
  • romrunning - Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - link

    Ah... It just seems that some of your numbers in this face-off would change if the WD drive was 7200rpm instead of 5400rpm. Perhaps that would affect your conclusion as well. But I suppose if you didn't get a 6TB WD Red Pro drive, then it's a moot point.

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