Internal SATA hard drive group test: WD 4TB WD40EFRX review
Quiet and with masses of storage space, this drive isn't a bad choice
Perhaps you want a small, stylish NAS that takes up the bare minimum of space, in which case you need a pair of 2.5" 1TB WD Red drives. Please move smartly to the left and read the previous review, where you'll find everything you need.
That takes care of a sliver of the NAS market and leaves us with the mainstream, where capacity is king. When you're laying out £200 for a decent NAS and you need two drives to provide mirrored RAID, you might as well go for large capacity drives that you can leave in place for as long as possible. Let's face it, if you cut corners and buy two 1TB or 2TB drives, you'll be upgrading in a year and then you'll have to mess around rebuilding RAID arrays.
The largest drives on the market at present are 4TB in capacity, until HGST unbelts its new 6TB Ultrastar He6 which will doubtless cost a fortune, and the obvious choice for NAS is WD Red.
Take those two points together, and the natural candidate for your NAS is the new 4TB WD Red, which costs a reasonable £149 per drive, so that's £298 if you want the security of RAID. The 3TB Red costs £100, so you're paying a modest premium for the extra capacity of the new 4TB model.
As I said in the 2.5" WD Red review, there is some vagueness about the spin speed of these drives. but it's very likely they use a lowly 5400rpm. This is apparent when you look at the performance of WD Red compared with the three other 3.5" drives (HGST 7K4000, Seagate ST2000DX001 and Toshiba DT01ACA) in this group.
While the difference in performance is visible, it isn't troubling, since it really isn't a key factor in the world of NAS. In practice, the WD Red churns out the data files without any snags or delays, so WD weathers that particular storm with ease.
In operation, these drives are impressively quiet and my guess is that the cooling fan in your NAS will make more noise than the drives themselves. The increase in capacity offered by these latest Red drives will be welcomed by home NAS users who have a mass of TV and movies on file.
• Price: £149
• Manufacturer: WD
• Website: www.wdc.com