WD Red & avoiding the SMR pitfall

XeonLab

New Member
Aug 14, 2016
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Hi!

My knowledge on spinning rust has been getting a bit...uhm...rusty lately and I thought it was a good time to update it. However, to my horror it now seems that some (or all) WD Red drives coded "EFAX" have now implemented the dreaded SMR.

The WD Red whitepaper* gives no clue, and I wonder if some of you have first-hand experience with the new Reds and their model numbers so I know what drives to avoid.

Thanks.

*https://documents.westerndigital.co...et-western-digital-wd-red-hdd-2879-800002.pdf
 

XeonLab

New Member
Aug 14, 2016
26
8
3
Where do you see that Red drives are SMR?
Found out it on Geizhals Deutschland which is a price tracker for computer hardware in Europe. They list loads of details for components and as they are usually correct, I started to dig deeper. It turned out that there is talk going on several other forums as well, but noting conclusive.
 

ajs

Active Member
Mar 27, 2018
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Minnesota
Well that is pretty crummy. Best to avoid those "EFAX" drives then. No reason to go SMR if PMR equivalents are available.
 

i386

Well-Known Member
Mar 18, 2016
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Germany
According to the german retailer mindfactory the "EFAX" models are device managed SMR hdds .__.
 

Your name or

Member
Feb 18, 2020
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@XeonLabdo you have a product code for the hdd? If I found the business card I can ask the DACH sales manager.
(Deutsch?)
 

HellDiverUK

Active Member
Jul 16, 2014
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Eh, that's pretty crappy. I'm moving slowly over to Toshiba N300 drives, they've been excellent considering they're cheaper than WD. I've about 200 of them running at work with no failures so far. Just migrated to 12TB N300 at home, from shucked WD80EZZX.
 

blunden

New Member
Nov 29, 2019
10
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Nope, I haven't dug that deep, my suspicion is only that all "EFAX" WD Red drives are SMR.
Investigations by others suggests that such sweeping statements aren't true. Also, WD's SMR drives apparently list support for TRIM and the others EFAX sizes don't as far as I know.

The fact that they use SMR at all bothers me though, especially since they're not transparent about it.
 

HellDiverUK

Active Member
Jul 16, 2014
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Yeah, SMR drives have a very niche use. I ran them no problems in the past, in the form of the Seagate Archive drives, but my use case was ideal for them - running in an unRAID array that slowly filled with videos and the likes, and only read once in a while. I did try them in a Synology, and even in RAID1 they weren't terribly compatible.

Again, I have to recommend Toshiba drives, I've had zero issues with them, and they're basically a HGST drive with a different label. Heck, the 4TB Toshiba N300 I got a few weeks ago is physically identical, and even has similar firmware IDs compared to a HGST Deskstar NAS drive I've had for nearly 6 years.
 
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herby

Active Member
Aug 18, 2013
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I haven't tried the N300 series, but I can vouch for the older Toshiba DT01ACA disks. I know with certainty those were clones of the venerable Deskstars that were popular around the time of the Thailand floods almost a decade ago. They never seemed to sell the 5400 RPM models through retail channels; but their 7K disks don't run all that hot which was my only concern.
 

fossxplorer

Active Member
Mar 17, 2016
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Oslo, Norway
I call this tricking customers intentionally. WD knows that ppl buying WD Red models do it for a specific reason, and they intentionally sell product not as advertised!

Is such even possible? What did the product design leaders at WD think when approving such tech inside Red drives?