Review of White Label 4TB drives

izx

Active Member
Jan 17, 2016
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If your goharddrive reports a slightly higher capacity than spec'd -- say 4.5TB or 6.3TB -- it's a WD Ae "cold-storage" drive that's rated at only 10x r/w per year. 5700rpm, PMR, no error recovery support.

The WD Ae hard drive is best suited for cold storage, backup and data archiving where data is stored on disk but rarely if almost never read again yet may be critical at some future point, prime examples being legal data or photo backups.
 

OBasel

Active Member
Dec 28, 2010
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Like a year later and I've seen prob like 40% of these drives fail. I'm about done with platters.
 

Terry Kennedy

Well-Known Member
Jun 25, 2015
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Like a year later and I've seen prob like 40% of these drives fail. I'm about done with platters.
I've been running 64 WD2003FYYS (RE 2TB) for over 5 years and I've only had 6 of them fail. One of them was a hard failure where the drive vanished from the SATA bus and wouldn't come back, even after a power cycle. The other 5 developed things like an offline uncorrectable sector and went back while the data was still readable. These were purchased in new bulk 20-packs from reputable places like Tech Data. I try to avoid buying drives at retail, even new ones, because the packaging and handling aren't always up to manufacturer standards. One popular online site is well-known for simply dropping an antistatic-bagged drive in a cardboard box with some air pillows (which pop the first time the box is moved).

I wouldn't buy a used re-certified drive, even from the manufacturer. While the majority of returns are "no problem found", an intermittent problem may not be detected during the short (24 hour) test the manufacturer uses to weed out the "no problem found" drives from the ones that are really broken.

I don't know what current manufacturers do with drives that have bad sectors. They might just put the drive (minus PCB) on a media exerciser and do a real format on it. If that's the case and some sort of contamination or head / media defect caused the problem, it will probably happen again at some point in the drive's lifetime.

I also don't know how willing manufacturers are to open up the HDA and fix things inside - while the drive is still in production, the assembly line and test equipment is tied up making new drives, and after the model is out of production neither parts nor test equipment may be available. Opening the HDA gets even more problematic on the helium drives.

That's why I won't buy used drives (as I said, even from the manufacturer). I certainly wouldn't risk it buying from a seller who intentionally wiped the entire performance history (SMART data) of the drive before selling it.
 

awdrifter

New Member
May 22, 2015
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Just an update, after about a year of usage, I've found that some data on the drive is corrupted silently. Luckily I only use it for media storage, so nothing important was lost. But I would avoid these drives from now on.
 

sth

Active Member
Oct 29, 2015
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What file system, zfs/btrfs? It should have reported corruption is so?
 

awdrifter

New Member
May 22, 2015
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It's in a Windows 7 Ultimate x64 PC, the drive is NTFS. How I found out about the corruption is when I tried to playback some media files, they "cannot be rendered". Some video files play become some other files (for example audio from podcasts).
 

The Gecko

Member
Jan 4, 2015
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Just an update, after about a year of usage, I've found that some data on the drive is corrupted silently. Luckily I only use it for media storage, so nothing important was lost. But I would avoid these drives from now on.
I feel for you. I once had an array built of IDE drives and an LSI Logic RAID controller. Every time I ran the controller's built-in function to verify the RAID 5 array, it always told me corruption was found and repaired. Eventually I started to think the controller was bad.

A lot of us use these drives and have discussed all the different types of drives being shipped under the same generic white label. What we've learned is that there is no guarantee what drive will be delivered; you might have received some from a bad batch. If you choose to use these drives for important data (like I did), it is best to use a resilient file system like ZFS and RAIDz2 or RAIDz3 and couple that with ECC RAM. RAIDz1/2/3 protects against silent corruption and FreeNAS gives you the option of running a scheduled scrub (verify) against the array to identify if you have a drive that is starting to go bad.

Personally, I will keep using these drives and purchase more if I have a need because I am confident in the ability of ZFS's RAIDz3 to identify and overcome any issues with the drives.
 
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awdrifter

New Member
May 22, 2015
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This is the first time that I've experienced corruption like this. Usually on real WD branded drives if there's bad sectors HDD Sentinel will detect it. But this drive doesn't have any bad sectors according to HDD Sentinel, so the corruption must be from the custom fw that GoHardDrive written for the drive. I just bought a WD 4TB SE Datacenter drive to replace this. Like I said before, this is a media drive, so nothing irreplaceable was lost. Just some time and hassle.