WD’s new RE drives come in 4TB capacities, SAS and SATA flavors

For quite some time now, 4TB hard drives have been conspicuously absent from Western Digital’s lineup. That changes today with the introduction of a new family of RE models aimed at the server crowd. These latest offerings are available with SATA or SAS interfaces, and they boast capacities up to 4TB.

WD reaches the 4TB mark using five 800GB platters. The platter count is notable because WD has traditionally stuck with four or fewer platters. Turns out the RE 4TB has the same number of platters as the Ultrastar 7K4000 4TB, a similarly enterprise-oriented drive sold by Hitachi Global Storage products, which is now owned by WD. Both drives also feature dual-stage actuators, a technology we saw first in Western Digital products.

SAS versions of the RE will be available in 1, 2, 3, and 4TB capacities. The Serial ATA line drops the terabyte model and has slightly lower sequential throughput ratings. You don’t buy these puppies for speed, though. The RE line is all about maximizing capacity, particularly for rack-mounted servers and storage. Indeed, Dell will be using the RE 4TB in its PowerVault MD3 series.

Although they won’t set any benchmark records, the new REs still feature 7,200-RPM spindle speeds. SATA models have 64MB of cache, while SAS flavors sport half that. The cache will be the only thing fast enough to exploit the 6Gbps transfer rates offered by the respective interfaces.

The RE drives should be shipping as you read this. WD is charging $229, $349, and $549 for 2, 3, and 4TB versions of the SATA variant, respectively. SAS will cost you an extra 20 bucks per drive, with the terabyte model slated to sell for $139. Those prices aren’t cheap, but they’re largely in-line with the cost of the Ultrastar 7K4000. Keep in mind these are enterprise-grade drives. They’re subjected to additional validation testing, including a "extended burn-in test with thermal cycling." The REs also feature RAID-specific error recovery routines, and they’re more tolerant of high-vibration environments like densely packed servers. WD kicks in a five-year warranty, too.

Comments closed
    • bcronce
    • 7 years ago

    “WD is charging $229 … 2TB”

    They currently charge $160 for the Red 2TB models. That’s an extra $70.

    I wouldn’t mind paying $20-$30 to go to SAS+Enterprise.

      • munchies
      • 7 years ago

      I was looking at the RE drives, but they are louder than the Reds (31/34 dbA v. 23/24 dbA idle/seek as quoted by WD). I’m leaning towards the quieter drives over extra warranty + reliability claims.

      • shank15217
      • 7 years ago

      Yes but do you also want to get the $200+ sas hba to go with it?

        • bcronce
        • 7 years ago

        I was looking at a $600 SAS controller for a FreeBSD ZFS file server as all controllers with decent driver support and decent IO performance under load are all SAS capable, but there are not “Cheap” SAS harddrives.

        I really don’t need some 10k RPM 2.5 SAS drive, I just want a 5400 RPM 2-3TB HD with a SAS connector because SAS has ECC and SATA does not. An extra $20 for ECC seems fine to me.

        L1 cache has parity, L2 cache has ECC, memory has ECC, PCIe has error detection, $600 HD controller has ECC cache, File System has ECC, HD medium has ECC, SATA connector has no ECC yet alone error detection.

        I think I found a weak link. In a “normal” server, every part of the system has some form of error detection or correction, except the SATA connections.

    • Derfer
    • 7 years ago

    Will wait for seagate. Every WD drive I’ve bought since sata 6, blue or black, has been unacceptably noisy during seeking while offering no performance benefit for said noise. Their last quiet drives were the 640s. If you have the TV on maybe you won’t notice but that kind of crap irritates me.

      • Jakubgt
      • 7 years ago

      Funny, because the last few Seagate drives I bought all sounded like they had a bunch of rocks inside them

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 7 years ago

        My Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 makes a “scritch” sound every so often. It is much louder than the Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS that it replaced.

      • vargis14
      • 7 years ago

      My new but last gen WD black 1tb drive i picked up at Best Buy for 59$ a few months ago is kinda noisy but not noisy enough to notice it watching a movie or playing a game, just just when it has a real quiet backround and my added side panel 4800×2 factory AMD thin 60mm cooler fan is under 2000 rpms. once it gets over 2700 rpms and maxes at 3350 rpms It drowns out every noise the chassis has.
      I had to add it to keep my full size HIS iCooler 7750 cool once i overclocked it from 800 core to 1150 core and the mem from 1150 to 1350 It was hitting 100c playing BF3 even with its fan running at 5000+ rpms “its silent though even at 5k” but i had to add vcore and up the board power 20% to get a stable overclock that is well worth it since it gives me a 20-25% + increase in gaming performance. That little side intake thin 60mm fan makes a world of a difference dropping my temps 20c to 25c.
      I am Very happy with the overclock the HIS iCooler 7750 gave me considering its powered by the PCI-e 16x slot only. I am sure i could get a better overclock if i had a good power supply, I am currently using a Gateway DX4860 300watt PSU. That’s powering a h67 chipset with a i3 2120 with 8gb 4x2gb memory sticks, his 7750, 1 WD black 1tb drive, 1 seagate 5400rpm 1tb drive, 2 80mm fans, Cpu fan AVC not intel, 1 60mm fan, A dvd burner, G5 logi laser mouse, g930 wireless surround headphones, MS mobile mouse 4000, and a logi K400 wireless keyboard.
      So i think i will use it as is until the PSU croaks if it ever does.
      Ohh BTW thats just one of my HTPC’s, The other one is sporting a 220 watt slim Gateway psu with a H61 chipset i3 2125 cpu 4gb ram 2 sticks, a Oced LP ASUS 6570 running at 800mhz core/6670 speeds, a 500gb 7200rpm seagate HD, a side mounted thermaltake 80mm intake fan powered by a USB port along with the same AVC cpu cooler that is better then intels. Picked up both PC’s at microcenter refurbished to replace my slow old Dell HD zinos for a grand total of $558, Then i spent in total for upgrades including a 2125 cpu, both vid cards, and 1 stick of 1333 mem for 268$ for a grand total of 826$ They both compliment my 2600k gaming/server rig great. I absolutely love the quickness if the affordable SB i3 3.3ghz dual cores with HT. I think removing core parking on them made them even quicker, I know for sure it did on my 2600k.
      Peace

        • just brew it!
        • 7 years ago

        The Blacks (and Raptors) have always been a little loud, in my experience.

    • Deanjo
    • 7 years ago

    Now they just need a 4TB Redline drive.

    • curtisb
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]Each model has 64MB of cache[/quote<] The picture shows 32MB of cache for the SAS models, as does the [url=http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=580#tab3<]product page[/url<].

      • indeego
      • 7 years ago

      On October [redacted] the drives will have 64MB cache. Pay no attention to the pictures today.

        • Majiir Paktu
        • 7 years ago

        WD is giving us a sneak-peak at the gaming performance of these drives.

    • Delphis
    • 7 years ago

    Seems with SSDs there is no ‘drive’ (pun intended) to keep the 3.5″ form factor alive any more. With many SSDs being used in laptops too then the companies can make just one product but hit both markets. We may end up seeing computer cases that only have 2.5″ HD/SSD slots instead of the 3.5″

    Heck, I even have systems that don’t even use CD/DVD drives any more because it’s either on the network, or on USB (for installs). So I have cases that don’t even use the 5.25″ case slots.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 7 years ago

      5¼” full-height -> 5¼” half-height -> 3½” half-height -> 3½” third-height -> 2½” ….

      Is there a trend here?

      • shank15217
      • 7 years ago

      3.5 inch form factors still provide the highest storage density in HDs, you need 4 2,5 inch drives for one 3.5 inch drives and that many connectors, more systems are moving toward multi-tiered storage, the 3.5 inch drives are here to stay.

    • Spotpuff
    • 7 years ago

    Are SSDs expected to have the same size problems hard drives have had recently? Maybe science will fix it but it seems magnetic storage is hitting a bit of a wall. It’s amazing the densities they’ve achieved.

    SSDs are now around 512GB in a 2.5″ package so if they went to 3.5″ designs like desktop drive (I doubt they will since it seems the desktop market is shrinking but anyways) would they be able to do 2-3TB hard drives? ANd beyond, with no penalty?

      • [+Duracell-]
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t think SSDs should have the same size problems; the cost of the NAND are probably the prohibitive factor in SSD size.

      • Farting Bob
      • 7 years ago

      Since speed is often directly linked to the numver of chips a controller can manage on a single card there is reason to cram as many in as possible, but if they want 2-4TB SSD’s right now, you’d go PCIe as SATA would quickly bottleneck it. And for some reason PCIe SSD’s are insanely priced and only aimed at enterprise right now.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        But for sheer storage size he’s right…a 3.5″ form factor SSD could pack a whole lot of chips.

          • Bensam123
          • 7 years ago

          Weird I got completely different answers when I suggested the same thing. Including people claiming that it couldn’t be done.

      • Visigoth
      • 7 years ago

      Perhaps not immediately, size will not be a problem (at least, until we hit a transistor density barrier with silicon, but by then there would be other exotic materials to take care of that).

      The more pressing matter will be durability, as the transistors shrink in size, particularly the writes will become a big issue. I believe ultimately though, manufacturers will find a way around this problem with newer technology, bypassing NAND completely and its associated problems.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 7 years ago

      Size is less an issue in age of online streaming and cloud storage. It seems to be less of a priority to most users to have huge drives full of data.

      As to having larger SSD’s, I don’t see why they can’t just let us daisy chain the things together into one larger storage unit. SLI for your SSD.

        • freka586
        • 7 years ago

        Actually that is exactly why this product is needed/wanted. Since it is a server product, these are the kind of drives that are used to provide the streaming content and cloud storage you mentioned.

      • Bensam123
      • 7 years ago

      SSDs have maxed out at 512GB since their major release, like four years ago. (talking about none extreme versions)

      And yes, they could… I’ve suggested that they should make 3.5s as well

    • Grigory
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]dual-stage actuators[/quote<] Neat! I never knew there was such a thing. Here is a video how it works: [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWDlDCUMAi0[/url<]

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    Guess they gave up on the density game too and simply lobbed another platter on there for the time being.

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