Western Digital Red 3 TB NAS Hard Drive – WD30EFRX


This review is on the Western Digital Red 3TB NAS hard drive (WD40EFRX), I purchased 9 of these drives for an 8-disk QNAPP NAS server and have one on the shelf as a spare.

I recently purchased a QNAPP TS-879U-RP Network Attached Storage server and needed some complimentary drives.  Initially I was leaning towards the 256GB Crucial M4 solid state drives but the cost would have been about $361.00 more and 8 drives in Raid 1+0 (aka Raid 10) would have only netted me 1TB (less overhead) of space, this was not going to work for VMware storage and a 30 user dropbox + backups.  These 3TB drives seemed to offer up a nice alternative.  As a side, we use local SSDs on the VMware servers and have 10GB Infiniband networking from the VMWare nodes to the NAS, I have not had time to benchmark yet but we understood going into this solution that 1GB networking would not suffice and even 7200rpm sata drives would be bottlenecked by a gigabit network.

WD 3TB NAS Smart Info

One of the first things I read on Amazon were reviews indicating poor packaging, I ordered nine of them and they were all satisfactorily packaged as shown below in a larger box with minimal room for knocking around.

WD 3TB NAS drives, as they shipped from Amazon.

WD 3TB NAS drives, as they shipped from Amazon.

Once I installed the drives I let the NAS check and initialize them, they show as 2794.52 GB (consistent across each drive) and appear with the following model #: WDC WD30EFRX-68AX9N080.0

There were a few things about these drives that I felt were important, first and foremost, these are drives specifically designed for NAS solutions, WD coinds these drives as “NASWare” which means they have an enhanced firmware which allows for improved power use, better compatibility with RAID controllers (important for error correcting), less vibration, and they have SMART support for monitoring the drives.  Beyond this, the drives themselves are SATA III and each have 64mb of cache.  WD claims a 35% improvement in Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) for these drives over desktop drives, a claim I did not investigate but their website indicates 1,000,000 hour MTBF “Based on a typical NAS product environment under normal operating conditions.”  As pointed out in the comments, this is > 114 years and highly unlikely for a drive, I copied their spec sheet and included it below, I am sending an inquiry to Western Digital inquiring about this claim although I suspect a response is unlikely.


The drives have been in place for about a month now without issue, we use them around the clock as CIFS shares, FTP, web file access for customers, and iSCSI targets for VMWare, the SMART test have not indicated any issues and the drives seemingly run fairly cool and quite (controlled environment).

WD Red 3TB NAS Smart Results


So overall how impressed am I with this product? Well I knew the limitations of the device going into it for the environment I was using it in, primarily the fact that these are 7200rpm SATA drives vs using SCSi or SSDs.  In my case, I didn’t have the budget for a high end SAN, needed more reliability and storage than I could get from an SSD and knew that these drives have read/write limitations.  Western Digital claims 145-150mb/sec, I was reaching ~100-105mb/sec through CIFS shares with an 8-disk RAID 10 array, this would have been different with RAID 5 which suffers write penalties but I could afford the lost disk space with RAID 10 because of the size of the drives.

My benchmarks were done using gigabit networking, I intend to run more thorough benchmarks with the 10GB infinband which I am hoping to see 130-140mb/sec.


Price – 4  
These were $139.99, they are now $150.89, watch for the price to drop.

Capacity – 5
At 3TB these are the largest mainstream SATA drives, and these in particular are the largest most NAS servers will support.

Performance – 4
They might be Sata III 6GB/s with 64mb cache but they are still spinning at 7200rpm, if you are chasing iops these are not for you.

Where to buy?

Western Digital Red 3TB NAS Drive – Amazon

2 Responses so far.

  1. ironau says:

    1,000,000 hours MTBF would imply
    1,000,000 / 365 / 24 = 114.15 years between failures. I really cannot believe this number is anything but fictional marketing.

    I’ve never heard of a drive of any class lasting 114 years.

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