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 the various advantages (or disadvantages) of these drives are. 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:

SpecificationsWestern Digital RedSeagate 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 DriveInternal 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 Size64 MB256 MB
MTBF1,000,000 hours1,200,000 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 RPM7200 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 CyclesNot specified
Non-Recoverable Errors1 per 10 ^ 141 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, WriteActive, Ideal, Sleep, Standby
Support / Service3 years of limited warranty from the manufacturer5 Years of limited warranty

Service includes data recovery

Dimension 4 x 5.8 x 1 Inches4 x 5.8 x 1 Inches
Weight 22.57 Oz2.93 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 a 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 the same for both the drive [probably the 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 larger 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:

Mean time 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 the 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 a 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 a 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

Western Digital has been one of the most popular manufacturers of Hard Drives and SSDs. From among a host of options that Western Digital offers you, it may be a little difficult to understand the exact difference between the differences between each of these options. Today, we will attempt understanding the differences between the WD Blue and WD Red and check the specifications that they come with.

Western Digital – An Overview

Western Digital, commonly referred to as WD has been a well known hard drive manufacturer (they are also into SSDs) and incidentally one of the preferred options leaving aside Seagate. While sustaining itself in the market with several options, the company has been a good choice for computer storages since the 1970s.

Affordability is one of the areas that has made it a preferred alternative among a host of other service providers. They have multiple hard drive options aimed at different user groups and equip them with specific features and functionalities. If you are a home user, you can go with the budget range of drives, while the enterprise users can opt for the more expensive highly endowed alternatives.

WD Red – What it is designed for?

WD RED is specifically designed hard drive option for the NAS server applications. One of the most popular options among the products from the WD rainbow, the WD RED can be the best option if you are opting for the NAS server.

A NAS server experiences sporadic and random performances concerning reads and writes of applications. If the hard drive you choose tends to buckle under such loads, you may end up with huge performance issues. WD RED lives up to the expectations in those circumstances.

The hard drives are designed for quieter and lower power consumption. These drives come with 3D Active Balance Plus which lets you use up to eight WD Red drives in a NAS enabled system. They are the faster options for the performance. These drives come with a three-year warranty as opposed to the two-year warranty on the WD Blue hard drives. The WD RED also comes with the support for RAID systems.

WD Blue – Best for Basic Needs

WD Blue is the hard drive from the Western Digital stable that caters mostly to the home users. One of the most cost-effective and budget drives coming from WD, the drive suits all your basic requirements. The hard drive offers you both low-level usage and long life functionality.

The hard drive may not be a good option if you are dealing with a RAID environment. It can be one of the best options for the non-mission critical PC functions. Western Digital has been attempting to merge both the Green and Blue range of hard drives into a single Blue range of hard drives.

The WD drives have a lower price range, offer you only two-year warranty options and a maximum capacity of up to  1 TB. However, after the amalgamation of Green drives with the Blue range of drives, you can get capacities up to 6 TB. Consistently quieter in operation and affordable at best, they are an excellent option for your home based low level needs like basic browsing and similar other options.

Which Hard Drives are best for which operations?

Like we stated already, Western Digital offers you specific application areas for each of its multiple hard drive options. Let us check out which purposes do the WD RED, and WD Blue hard drives serve?

Application areas of WD Blue hard drives

WD Blue is one of the most commonly used hard drives from Western Digital. They are one of the best hard drives regarding sales for Western Digital. The discs have been planned to offer a streamlined mix of high capacity, faster speeds in terms of sequential read and write operations. You will also find that they are the most affordable options for your requirement.

The drives are designed for everyday usage. They can also be a good option for the basic level of media consumption. They offer you only two-speed options – 5400 rpm and 7200 rpm. The WD Blue range of hard drives is not suitable if you are looking for advanced features like TLER for RAIP based applications. Ideally, they are the best options for the primary drive applications and essential gaming performances.

Application areas of WD Red hard drives

WD Red drives are one of the best options for all your specific requirements concerning high-end applications. The discs are made available in capacities up to 8 TB. Like it has already made clear through the above discussion, the WD Red hard drives have been considered to be an excellent option for the NAS environments.

The hard drives have been made specifically for this purpose. They are designed to withstand the challenges posed by the NAS environments that need you to have an always-on functionality. The drive has Helium, and this ensures that it causes less turbulence and resistance. This will translate into lesser power draw and less heat.

The Tabulated Comparison between the Two Hard Drive Types

The tabulated comparison between the two hard drive types will ensure that we will be able to understand the exact features that each of these options offers you. The side by side comparison between the two hard drive types will help us pinpoint the differences between the two options.

We will compare the two hard drive types based on a few key parameters –

Features  / Particulars

Western Digital WD Red

Western Digital WD Blue

InterfaceSATA IIISATA III
Capacity750 GB to 8 GB500 GB to 6 TB
Form factor3.5 inches3.5 inches
Transfer ratesUp to 178 MB per secUp to 175 MB per sec
Cache16, 64 and 128 MB32 and 64 MB
RPM5400 rpm and 7200 rpm5400 rpm
Load and unload cycles600,000300,000
WarrantyThree yearsTwo Years
Power in Watts6.4/5.2 (8TB), 5.3/3.4 (6TB, 5TB), 4.5/3.3 (4TB), 4.1/2.7 (3TB, 2TB), 3.3/2.3 (1TB), 1.4/0.6 (1TB 2.5”, 750GB 2.5”)5.3/3.4 (6TB, 5TB, 4TB), 4.1/3.0 (3TB, 2TB), 3.3/2.5 (1TB @5400RPM), 6.8/6.1 ([email protected]), 6.8/6.1 (500GB)

To Summarize

That was all we have concerning the comparison between the WD Red and WD Blue hard drives and their specific application areas. That would mean it should be up to you as to which among them would you want to go with. The exact requirements that you have should dictate the exact choice of the hard drives you will go with.

Simply put, the WD Blue should be an ideal option for the basic desktop applications like web browsing and documents. In sharp contrast, the quieter workstation requirements will need you to go with the WD Red as a preferred option.

Which among those had drive types have you opted for? Share your experiences and opinions with the best of the Western Digital hard drives with us through the comments section here below.

Conclusion:

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!

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