6 TB NAS Drives: WD Red, Seagate Enterprise Capacity and HGST Ultrastar He6 Face-Offby Ganesh T S on July 21, 2014 11:00 AM EST
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).
|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.