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Western Digital Red 6TB review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £208
inc VAT

A fast, huge capacity internal hard drive with a long warranty


Capacity: 6TB, Price per gigabyte: 0.03, Interface: SATA3

The Red 6TB is the latest and highest-capacity NAS hard disk from Western Digital, a company with much experience in making hard disks specifically designed for NAS devices. Indeed, it’s easily the highest capacity internal hard disk we’ve yet seen.

Like all Western Digital Red models, the 6TB model has NAS-specific firmware called NASWare. The Red 6TB uses the latest version of NASWare, version 3.0, which isn’t available as a download that you can install on older Red disks. According to Western Digital, NASWare 3.0 has better RAID error recovery and better data protection in the event of a loss of power, as well as increased reliability, compatibility and performance with an ever wider range of NAS models.

Although we can’t test most of these claims, we can test performance. We were sceptical about Western Digital’s claims of increased performance, so we were pleasantly surprised when we saw a small increase in file transfer speeds for the 6TB Red compared to the older 3TB model. When fitted inside a Synology DS214+ (see Group Test, Shopper 320), the Red 6TB wrote large files at 103.8MB/s and read them at 105.4MB/s. Small files were written at 19.8MB/s and read at 26.2MB/s. Overall, it’s around 8MB/s faster than the older Red 3TB for both large and small files.

Like older Reds, the 6TB version has a 64MB cache and a variable spindle speed but uses five 1.2TB platters to reach its huge capacity. Western Digital now officially supports filling eight-bay NAS devices with Reds, too, whereas the previous recommended maximum for older models was five bays. If you need to fill even more bays with Reds, perhaps to fill a 16 bay-model, then Western Digital recommends the more expensive Red Pro range. Sadly, though, there’s no 6TB Red Pro, as the maximum Red Pro capacity is 4TB. The reason for this is apparently due to its 7,200rpm spindle speed, which means the disk has to use 800GB platters rather than 1.2TB.

However, the biggest benefit of the Red range isn’t performance, but warranty coverage and support. The three-year warranty dwarfs the one-year warranties of many internal hard disks, and telephone support for the Red is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, every day of the year. Given that the Red costs a low 3p per gigabyte and its marginal price premium over standard hard disks, there’s little reason not to choose it for your NAS, especially if you need as much storage as possible.

Formatted capacity (NTFS)5592GB
Price per gigabyte£0.03
Power connectorSATA
Spindle speed5900rpm
Quoted seek timeNot disclosed
Buying information
WarrantyThree-year RTB
Part codeWD60EFRX

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