Best NAS Storage Drive: WD Red vs Seagate Ironwolf Spec Comparison

Before we dig into a WD Red vs Seagate Ironwolf product comparison, we will discuss some of its use cases. These drives are not for general purpose storage. Just like Skyhawk is meant for surveillance hard drives, these hard-drives are meant for NAS based storage.

Since you have landed on this page, we assume that you are looking for the best NAS storage solution based on its quality and durability. Congratulations, as you have fallen in just the right spot. Today, we will be discussing two NAS hard disk drives from the world’s leading storage solution providers: Western Digital and Seagate. It is obvious, whenever we talk about storage drives, Seagate and Western Digital are the only names that are much likely come up. Thus, we have picked the best NAS hard drive storage solution provided by these two brands. Before we start discussing their pros and cons and comparing them, let us first understand what NAS storage really is:

WD Red vs Seagate Ironwolf :

Before we delve into the detailed specs of each, let us clarify the basics. Since these drives are not your regular desktop disks, it is essential to understand its use.

What is NAS Storage:

Network attached storage or NAS is a file-level data-storage server. This server is connected to a network that allows multiple levels of user access to the data that is stored on NAS simultaneously using the network layer. Mainly, NAS storage is used where you need to serve files to various users over SMB 3.0 or a web user interface. Hard disk drives meant for NAS storage are different from traditional hard disk drives in many ways. Conventional drives are made for personal use where only one user accesses it at a time, whereas NAS storage drives are more capable as they handle entire group or groups of users at the same time.

So, now that you understand exactly how these NAS drives differ from traditional hard drives let us jump to the main topic of the discussion. As mentioned before, we are going to compare the top NAS drives from Seagate and Western Digital. Both use sub-branding for their product offerings and they are as follows:

  • WD Red from Western Digital
  • Ironwolf Pro from Seagate

To make things easier for our readers, we will begin with a side by side comparison, and then discuss what are the various advantages (or disadvantages) of these drives. Here we begin:

Specs Comparison: WD RED vs Seagate Ironwolf Pro:

Following table summarizes all important specs and aspect about the Seagate Ironwolf Pro and Western Digital Red. Have a look here:

Specifications Western Digital Red Seagate Ironwolf Pro
Available Capacity 1 TB

2 TB

3 TB

4 TB

6 TB

8 TB

2 TB

4 TB

6 TB

8 TB

10 TB

12 TB

Storage Type Internal NAS Hard Disk Drive Internal NAS Hard Disk Drive
Interface  7 pin Serial ATA

Serial ATA 600 6 GB/s

7 pin Serial ATA

Serial ATA 600 6 GB/s

Buffer Size 64 MB 256 MB
MTBF 1,000,000 hours 1,200,000 hours
Performance 600 MB/s Data Transfer Rate

147 MB/s Internal Data Rate

600 MB/s Data Transfer Rate

214 MB/s Internal Data Rate

Spindle Speed 5400 RPM 7200 RPM
Form Factor 3.5” x 1/3H

8.9 cm x 1/3H

3.5” x 1/3H

8.9 cm x 1/3H

Feature Highlights 3D Active Balance Plus

Advanced Format Technology

Intelli-Power Technology

NAS Compatible Storage

NAS-ware Technology

24 x 7 Availability

Agile Array Technology

Hot Plug Support

Advanced Format 512e

Rotation-Vibration Sensor

Seagate Rescue Data Recovery

Start Stop Cycles 600,000 Start / Stop Cycles Not specified
Non-Recoverable Errors 1 per 10 ^ 14 1 per 10 ^ 15
Environmental Synonyms  32F – 149F Operating Temperature

23 dBA Sound Emission

65g operating shock tolerance

250g non-operating shock tolerance

41F – 158F Operating Temperature

70g Operating Shock Tolerance

250g Non-operating Shock Tolerance

Compliant Standards S.M.A.R.T. Not Specified
Bay Requirement 1x Internal Bay

3.5” x 1/3H

1x Internal Bay

3.5” x 1/3H

Modes Ideal, Read, Sleep, Write Active, Ideal, Sleep, Standby
Support / Service 3 years of limited warranty from the manufacturer 5 Years of limited warranty

Service includes data recovery

Dimension 4 x 5.8 x 1 Inches 4 x 5.8 x 1 Inches
Weight 22.57 Oz 2.93 Oz

Let us quickly summarize what the table represents:

1. Capacity Options:

The form factor of both drives is same that is 3.5” x 1/3H, and both of them are designed for network attached storages, making them a good alternative to each other. The choice is going to be simple for you, if your application is on the smaller scale, you can go either for Red or Ironwolf pro, as both of them offer small units including 1 TB, 2 TB, 3 TB, 4 TB, etc. As you can see, WD Red is available up to 8 GB, whereas Seagate Ironwolf Pro provides up to 12 GB of storage. WD comes in smaller units which is ideal when your application is on the limited scale. When you need the massive amount of storage, you can go with Seagate Ironwolf Pro as it has bigger storage capacities up to 12 GB.

2. Performance and Speed:

Based on pure specs, simply put, Seagate Ironwolf Pro outlasts Western Digital Red in every possible aspect when it comes to speed and performance. Here is how: WD Red has the spindle speed of 5400 RPM where Ironwolf pro has the spindle speed of 7200 RPM. External data transfer rate is same for both the drive [probably same for all latest hard drive models] that is 600 MB/s. When it comes to internal data rate, Seagate Ironwolf Pro as 210 MB/s speed where WD Red has 147 MB/s. The difference is clear, isn’t it?

Moreover, WD red has 64 MB of buffer cache where Ironwolf Pro has 256 MB of the buffer cache. The buffer cache merely is an embedded memory that keeps the hard disk and the computer system in the buffer. The buffer cache your drive has, the faster it will perform. So as you can see, Seagate Pro wins here, without change for WD Red.

3. Errors and Recovery:

Meantime between failures [MTBF] is the average time in which a failure is likely to occur in hard disk storage under intensive loads. The more MTBF, the better it is. As the table above shows, MTBF for WD Red is 1000000 hours, and for Ironwolf Pro, it is 1200000 hours. Moreover, the nonrecoverable errors occur once per 10 ^ 14 errors in WD Red, and for Seagate Ironwolf Pro it happens once for 10 ^ 15. 10 ^ 15 is higher than 10 ^ 14. Thus, Seagate is a winner once again here. While Seagate Ironwolf Pro is already in the lead, it comes with free data recovery software, giving it even further edge.

4. Sturdiness:

When in use, the temperature of WD Red sits between 32F to 149F. Since Seagate is more performance and speeds intensive, its temperature varies between 41F to 158F while in operation. It is quite considerable as it delivers better performance compared to the former one. Shock tolerance while operating and while the ideal is nearly similar for both of the hard disk drives. Sound emission for WD Red is 23 dBA. It is not specified for Seagate, but you can expect it to be more as the spindle speed is high.

5. Service and Support:

Since they were established, both Western Digital and Seagate have built trust among the consumers with their best quality products and excellent service and support. In case of these products, WD comes with three years of limited warranty. Seagate Ironwolf Pro is backed with five years of limited warranty. Moreover, their service includes free data recovery meaning that you would not need to pay for data recovery if anything goes wrong with the drive.

Buy Western Digital Red:

Buy From Amazon Buy From Newegg

  • Designed for use in NAS system supporting up to 8 bays/storage drives at once
  • 24×7 availability, NAS firmware compatibility, ideal for 24×7 working environments
  • Does not need / ships with mounting hardware, if the NAS system requires mounting device, they are available for purchase separately
  • Available up to 10 TB storage capacity
  • Delivers fantastic compatibility and performance with NAS-ware 3.0
  • Remains cool in most of the situations, sturdy build with vibration proof protection

Buy Seagate Ironwolf Pro:

Buy From Amazon Buy From Newegg

  • On drive balance with agile array technology, power management with NAS enclosure, error data recovery control, RAID optimization
  • Compatible with NAS systems with 1 to 16 bays, rotational vibration sensors, consistent performance in multi-bay NAS systems with mitigating vibration
  • Up to 12 TB of storage with 300 TB / year workload capacity, ideal for multi-user access/environment
  • 2 million hours MTBF. five years of warranty includes data recovery plans free for three years
  • Tough and scalable for NAS. Backup, archiving and disaster recovery functions
  • Compatible with on-premise private cloud and virtual storage


If you have read this far, you may have understood very well that Seagate Ironwolf Pro is entirely in a different class compared to Western Digital Red. However, this does not mean that Western Digital Red is a bad NAS storage, not at all. It is simple. WD Red is built for limited scale application where Ironwolf Pro is developed for large-scale applications with high performance and speed. If your use is limited and your budget is strict, WD Red is always an excellent choice. However, if you are looking for outclassing performance and speed and if you are ready to chip out some extra cash, Seagate Ironwolf Pro should be your first option.

We hope, this comparison will help you to choose the right product for you according to your application and requirements. We will come back with more informative stuff. Till then, see you in the next one!

Disclosure: We are a professional review website that sometimes receive compensation or free units from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.