Western Digital has expanded its lineup of enterprise-class hard drives with a new Serial ATA model targeting everything from large datacenters to smaller NAS applications. The WD Se slots in between the firm's existing Red and RE drives and bears a much greater resemblance to the latter.
Like the RE, the Se boasts a 7,200-RPM spindle speed and is available in capacities up to 4TB. It has all the accoutrements one might expect from an enterprise-oriented drive, including RAID-specific error recovery, multi-axis shock sensing capabilities, and advanced vibration cancellation tech. You get five-year warranty coverage, as well.
While the Se matches the RE's warranty coverage, it has a shorter MTBF rating. The RE is good for 1.2 million hours, but the Se is only rated for 800,000. The Se also has a higher read error rate: 15 as opposed to 16. It looks like the Se family is made up of binned RE drives that didn't meet that model's reliability specifications—not that there's anything wrong with that. Binning is a common practice in the chip industry, and WD still has enough confidence in the Se to give it a five-year warranty.
Under the hood, the top Se model reaches 4TB using five 800GB platters. The equivalent RE has the same configuration, and its performance ratings are identical. The power consumption and acoustic specifications are very similar, as well. There is, however, a difference in price. WD says the Se 4TB will sell for $310, which works out to an even $100 less than the $410 RE 4TB. You're only paying a $10 premium over the Black 4TB, which lacks RAID-specific goodies.
Given its spindle speed advantage over the ~5,400-RPM WD Red, the Se looks like an interesting option for folks who need slightly faster mass storage. The Red tops out at only 3TB, so it can't keep up with the Se's capacity. The low-power drive is cheaper, of course, but it also has a shorter three-year warranty.