WD Black vs. Green HDDs?




First i would like to say hello and say your videos are very informative and i have been a YouTube fan for years...

I would like to add that there is A LOT more to the green/blue/black series than what you described here...

1. Blue and Green drives are identical other than firmware
-Firmware on the Green drives cause them to "Park" the read head after 8sec of inactivity. You can "Convert"
the WD Green drives into "Blue" by disabling the "Head Parking feature" and vice versa.

2. The Black drives are built stronger and made with better parts to last longer. Blue drives and Green drives
use cheaper parts (why they have different warrantys) and of course they are a little faster. They are
sill not an good alliterative to enterprise class drives but better than blues or greens.

Now a little back story as to why i know this and why it is HORRIBLE to ever put a WD green drive into a RAID array. I was setting up a new off site backup solution using 3 WD Green drives i had around the office (this was for testing purposes first) to put into a RAID 5 on a spare server. I had everything setup and figured out and put a few servers backing up to it. After a day my server would become unresponsive/lockup and my backups never finished soon after that the server completely crashed due to a "Write Hole" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID_5_write_hole)... After that i reset up my test box and the same thing happens... Couldn't figure it out for a while and i came across an article about the "Head Parking". After removing the head parking feature everything was great and ran perfectly.

There are a lot of things that a RAID controller does to prevent data loss and to not write data to a "bad" drive. If you have a drive that parks its read head and doesn't respond after about 1-2sec of non response time most RAID controller will mark the drive as bad... Then the drive comes back online and depending on the RAID controller it might try to rebuild it, do a consistency check (that's going to kill performance) or keep it from ever going back online unless you manually do so... This is not good for data...

On non RAID this will also cause issues with everything... After 8sec of non active they "Park" and as soon as the system needs to access the hard drive it needs to unpark and this adds a little bit of a "lag". So if your playing a game (i know your big on that) and the head "parks" and you go to a new area that needs to load some more data the hard drive will need to reactivate. I know i dont want random lag spikes in my games when i have an other wise awesome system.

Also in my understating of Green drives DON'T EVER BUY THEM... RAID or not the parking feature is very hard on a drive. Drives are only rated for a certain amount of spin downs and spin ups and Green drives are causing more ware with their parking feature and will fail sooner.

Sorry for the wall of text... But keep up the good job with the videos.

Manic Mouse
Manic Mouse's picture
Joined: 02/01/2007
Posts: 141

I fit the drive to the task.

Use a pair of 3TB green on my NAS in Raid 0 (An unattended backup runs every couple days). Since a NAS is connected via Ethernet or Wireless, it really does not need to have high speed - I get full bandwidth of an Gigabit Ethernet cable using it to move files.

For local storage on my main rig I supplement a triplet of SSDs with a pair of 2TB WD black drives (non raid). The SSDs get tasks like operating system, games and databases - places where top speed access to hard drives is crucial. The WD blacks are for bulk data and local storage where access speed is secondary to space, but still desirable.


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Andreas Hofer
Andreas Hofer's picture
Joined: 10/31/2009
Posts: 121

Black = Performance Series for: Operating Systems, gaming, AV-editing & all the things that might benefit from a faster HDD also 5 year warranty in most parts of the world.

Blue = Mainstream Series for: Operating Systems, gaming, all of your everyday applications & storage. 2 year warranty.

Green = Slower spinning (5400 RPM) drive for: Silent PCs like Home Theater PCs or NAS-Systems, good for mass storage (mainly because of lower power draw and cheaper units). Also with a 2 year warranty.

When going for a RAID 0 or 1 setup all the above perform quite well. However, personal experience with drives from all the big manufacturers tells me not to recommend those for Raid 5 or RAID setups with more than 2 drives in general. For such purposes there is the RE (like the RE2, RE3 and RE4 units) series of drives which belongs to the family of Caviar Black (they also have a 5 year warranty and are qualified to run 24/7).