WD Green vs. Black

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WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 5:37 pm

Looking to get a new hard drive to act mainly as a back up for my 3 drives I have now. I have a WD Blue 320GB and 2 WD Black 1TB. Next month they hit their 5 year birthday, and they just pasted 40,000 hours of operation. I know hard drives don't last forever, so I was looking at the WD Green since it's more for storage and back up vs. performance. But, I have 2 black drives that have not given me any trouble so far for 5 years. I also see the head parking issues of the WD Green mean it's living on borrowed time, unless I disable the feature.

I don't mind spending the extra $$$ to get the WD black, in fact, I'm leaning towards it. But does the WD Green have the same reliability and performance of the Black (I'm guessing no).

Thanks!
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 5:41 pm

My personal experience has that the blacks have always proven to be more reliable than the greens. I have about 10 of them in use in a file server and haven't had an issue with them. Hitachi's/Toshiba's are also worth your consideration.
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 6:14 pm

The real difference between Black and Green is speed. Black drives get the full 7200 RPM, while Greens only go to 5400 RPM so they are lower power (hence, "green").

If you are focused on storage and want reliability, you might look at the Reds instead. Those are also limited to 5400 RPM, but I think they have features that are better tailored to storage applications, and I believe they have longer warranties as well.
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 6:38 pm

In my work, I've seen hundreds of black, green, blue and red drives. The long term failure rates on greens are a great deal higher than any of the others ( in my experience ). I haven't kept specific track of numbers, but off hand I haven't seen a HUGE difference between Black and Blue drives for long term survivability. I've seen far less Red drives overall, because they are generally in servers and large NAS configurations, but I don't recall many failures on them.

Personally, I don't trust green drives. Yeah for things that don't require performance, the price / GB is nice, but I've seen so many fail I'd have trouble trusting them. That's just from the ones I've come across. I'm not taking careful number stock or anything it is just a general trend I've noticed from experience....
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 6:46 pm

Black or bust if the information is important, IMO.

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/internal/desktop/

I also like HGST drives FWIW.
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 7:53 pm

I've been using a WD black 640 GB and a Green 640GB side-by-side as my storage for years now with no problems. But that's just 1 drive in 1 computer, so my sample size is pretty small compared to some of the other posters who have already posted.

But yeah, as others have said, blacks and reds will be your "best" bet.
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 8:33 pm

Is there any possible validity to the theory that higher RPM drivers are more robust on average, b/c they are both designed to run at higher speed, and if there is an issue, are more likely to fail in QC prior to making it out of the factory (as they would be tested at higher spindle speeds)?
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 8:46 pm

If you're OK with the higher cost, heat, and noise of the Blacks it is hard to go wrong with them. They are based on the same design as WD's enterprise-class drives.

Is the intent for this to be a "live backup" that is always spinning or do you plan to install it in an external enclosure or drive dock, periodically sync stuff to it, and disconnect it when you're not copying stuff to/from it? If your use case is closer to the latter IMO you could save yourself some money by going with the Greens, without taking a meaningful reduction in reliability.
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 9:19 pm

$130 3.0 TB HGST Deskstar NAS H3IKNAS30003272SN(0S03660) 7200 rpm hard-drive
$190 4.0 TB HGST Deskstar NAS H3IKNAS40003272SN(0S03664) 7200 rpm hard-drive
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 11:31 pm

I've worked with tons of different laptop 2.5 disks and can tell you that only mechanical drives I would buy for my own laptop are WD or in worst case scenario - Seagate. Everything else is pure crap. Hitachi and Toshiba were quite awful. HGST is pretty new so haven't had much experience with them.

For desktops I always had WD. Currently running a RAID with 2x3TB Reds. So far so good. Before that I had 2TB Black and a 2TB Green. Both ran without any issues for about 2.5 years before I sold them off in fully working condition. Black was pretty quick, Green was pretty quiet.
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 2:29 am

Blue's are the standard model, Blacks have the highest warranty rating (and price premium to go with). Greens are for for infrequently accessed data, and Reds are NAS / RAID drives. http://support.wd.com/warranty/policy.a ... nd&lang=en

cynan wrote:Is there any possible validity to the theory that higher RPM drivers are more robust on average, b/c they are both designed to run at higher speed, and if there is an issue, are more likely to fail in QC prior to making it out of the factory (as they would be tested at higher spindle speeds)?


Pretty sure it has more to do with the very aggressive power saving features on lower-speed drives. They spin down / back up within minutes of the system going idle by default, and that heavy cycling adds to wear on the motor and drive components. Greens and many other modern low-speed drives are specifically designed to be used for infrequently accessed storage. This was partly why people using Greens as OS drives had system lag / drive longevity problems a few years ago, the firmware isn't optimized nor intended for it.
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 2:44 am

My experience is that the Toshiba 7200 rpm drives are as fast as the WD Blacks but as quiet as the WD greens - I have a Toshiba 3TB in my system right now and it is as quiet as my Greens, I've retired my Black as it's an older 1 TB drive and inadequate for my storage needs.
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 3:32 am

DO NOT get GREEN HDD i have had 6 in the last 4 years half of them are now dead..... horribly quality
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 5:50 am

Synchromesh wrote:I've worked with tons of different laptop 2.5 disks and can tell you that only mechanical drives I would buy for my own laptop are WD or in worst case scenario - Seagate. Everything else is pure crap. Hitachi and Toshiba were quite awful. HGST is pretty new so haven't had much experience with them.

HGST is not new; in fact you could say that they were the original inventor of the hard drive. They are what's left of IBM's hard drive division after they were sold to Hitachi about a decade ago, and then (more recently) to Western Digital. As part of the deal, WD was forced to spin off HGST's 3.5" desktop business to Toshiba to keep the anti-trust regulators happy.

I've had excellent reliability from Hitachi's desktop (3.5") drives; my experience with their laptop (2.5") drives has been mixed.
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 5:51 am

FWIW, the only difference between Green and Red drives is the timeout and the warranty. And you can change the timeout or disable it altogether with WDIDLE3 (http://support.wdc.com/product/download ... 09&sid=113) to make them physically identical.
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 6:11 am

just brew it! wrote: Hitachi Global Storage Technologies is not new.
http://techreport.com/news/25940/hard-d ... ames-names
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 7:20 am

One might say they've come a long way.

http://techreport.com/news/2799/dr-evil ... p-problems
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 7:46 am

SuperSpy wrote:One might say they've come a long way.

http://techreport.com/news/2799/dr-evil ... p-problems



I would say that the gxp's were more of an anomaly in an otherwise long history of reliable drives.
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 8:46 am

I run a black and a green side by side with an SSD boot drive.
Blacks are awesome drives, I have all my games installed to it (4 year old 1TB black) the green is a mass storage.
The blacks are definitely noisier drives for being faster and 2 heads.
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 9:11 am

Deanjo wrote:I would say that the gxp's were more of an anomaly in an otherwise long history of reliable drives.

Indeed. In fact, after the GXP fiasco they were a tremendous bang for the buck for a few years. My suspicion was that they dropped their prices to win back market share.

My current home file server has 4 Hitachi drives in it. All of them have in excess of 40,000 power-on hours, with two of them approaching 50,000. I have a number of other Hitachi drives in various desktops and external eSATA enclosures. In the past 10 years, I do not believe I have ever had a Hitachi 3.5" drive fail; they get taken out of service when they become obsolete (i.e. when I swap them out for larger drives). The 4 in the server are about due for replacement (actually, I plan to replace the entire server).
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 9:27 am

just brew it! wrote:As part of the deal, WD was forced to spin off HGST's 3.5" desktop business to Toshiba to keep the anti-trust regulators happy.


This isn't entirely correct. It was regulatory driven, but WD didn't sell them the entire 3.5" business. They divested certain assets of the 3.5" drive business to Toshiba to allow Toshiba to continue making 3.5" drives. HGST still makes 3.5" drives to this day. :)

http://www.wdc.com/en/company/pressroom ... 66d18526ab
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 9:46 am

curtisb wrote:
just brew it! wrote:As part of the deal, WD was forced to spin off HGST's 3.5" desktop business to Toshiba to keep the anti-trust regulators happy.

This isn't entirely correct. It was regulatory driven, but WD didn't sell them the entire 3.5" business. They divested certain assets of the 3.5" drive business to Toshiba to allow Toshiba to continue making 3.5" drives. HGST still makes 3.5" drives to this day. :)

http://www.wdc.com/en/company/pressroom ... 66d18526ab

My understanding was that they were pulling back from the 3.5" desktop market, and focusing on the enterprise/NAS market with their 3.5" offerings. That's why I said "spin off HGST's 3.5" desktop business". If this is incorrect, I apologize for the misinformation!
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 12:58 pm

I don't have a huge sample size because almost all the consumer disks (rather than enterprise disks) I've looked after have been either Seagates or WD Blues that came with Dell/HP workstations.

I've used Seagate/Samsung/WD red-green-black-RE2 drives outside of work with very few problems, and most of the actual failures I had from WD greens were "soft-failures" rather than total drive losses. Things like dropping out of RAID arrays and SMART errors based on head-parking. But this is all anecdotal because I'm talking about half a dozen drives rather than hundreds of them.

Given the minimal price difference I'd be inclined to buy red/blue for cheap storage. Blacks seem pointless because if you want performance you get an SSD or a hybrid drive.
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 1:14 pm

Another difference between WD Green and Black lines is the Black's use of a segmented actuator (I can't remember what it's technically called), which can cut short-stroke access latency down considerably.
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 2:14 pm

just brew it! wrote:My understanding was that they were pulling back from the 3.5" desktop market, and focusing on the enterprise/NAS market with their 3.5" offerings.


No apoligies necessary...I'm pretty sure I read that's where they're headed now, but it wasn't the intent at the time WD purchased them. However, they do still list desktop drive kits on their site. :)

http://www.hgst.com/hard-drives/interna ... drive-kits
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 3:07 pm

I've seen conflicting reports on whether the Red drives are 5,400 or 5,900 RPM. Either way, it is geared towards lower power.

Red drives have a few differences from the Green drives. Most notably:
- Red has time limited error correction recovery (TLER)
- Red is more carefully balanced, to reduce vibration
- Red has a longer warranty, probably binned parts over the Green
- Red has lower random performance, but really impressive sequential performance (terrible for a boot drive, great for mass storage)

Blacks are more reliable and have higher performance. Otherwise, assuming there isn't a price premium at your time of purchase, I'd purchase Red drives for all budget needs for every case other than a boot drive. Not only are Red drives perfect for NAS, they are perfect for data drives.
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Milo Burke wrote:- Red is more carefully balanced, to reduce vibration
- Red has a longer warranty, probably binned parts over the Green


The binning is something I suspected, and if true is probably key in considering Greens or Reds.
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 3:57 pm

MaxTheLimit wrote:
Milo Burke wrote:- Red is more carefully balanced, to reduce vibration
- Red has a longer warranty, probably binned parts over the Green

The binning is something I suspected, and if true is probably key in considering Greens or Reds.

The "more carefully balanced" bit could be just binning too. The ones that fail the spindle balance test go into the Green bin...
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Re: WD Green vs. Black

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 7:47 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Deanjo wrote:I would say that the gxp's were more of an anomaly in an otherwise long history of reliable drives.

Indeed. In fact, after the GXP fiasco they were a tremendous bang for the buck for a few years. My suspicion was that they dropped their prices to win back market share.

My current home file server has 4 Hitachi drives in it. All of them have in excess of 40,000 power-on hours, with two of them approaching 50,000. I have a number of other Hitachi drives in various desktops and external eSATA enclosures. In the past 10 years, I do not believe I have ever had a Hitachi 3.5" drive fail; they get taken out of service when they become obsolete (i.e. when I swap them out for larger drives). The 4 in the server are about due for replacement (actually, I plan to replace the entire server).


Yeah. I only had a couple Hitachi drives compared to some WD and lots of Seagates, but the track record on Hitachi drives beats them both easily. I started to go exclusive to Hitachi but by the time I did they ceased offering 5-year warranty models :-?
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