When it comes to hard drives, I believe most of us care about reliability above all other specs like faster RPMs, cache size, capacity, and others. I, unfortunately, had the pleasure of having a 2TB drive die in my home NAS recently after just reaching 1 year of operation. After filing a warranty claim with Seagate, I was told my RMA was delayed due to low inventory of the replacements. (“Low inventory” translates to “high failure rate” in my books).
Lemons into lemonades, I recalled a press release from Western Digital this past Summer announcing their new Western Digital Red line of hard drives with features just for the small office or home office NAS. While I was awaiting the warranty replacement drive, I figured I could pick up a 3TB Western Digital Red drive to rebuild the volume and serve as an upgrade once the warranty replacement came in. Unfortunately, it seems the rest of the world has also been quite interested in the 3TB WD Red drives, leaving them out of stock almost everywhere.
The WD Red line is enhanced to operate within a 1-5 bay NAS. The 3.5-inch drives are available in 1, 2, and 3 terabyte capacities, lower electricity consumption, and a higher mean time between failures. The most NAS-specific feature comes from the included “NASware technology”. It emphasizes compatibility with NAS appliances, reliability in 24×7 operations, error recovery controls, and reduced noise and vibrations. The drive seems to be a combination of the energy saving Green line, the performance of the Black line, and the enterprise features of the WD RE line.
With the hard drive supply chain still recovering from the flooding in Thailand and apparent demand for the higher capacity WD Red drives, it was hard to find a drive to find in my ailing NAS. I checked several big box chains and most websites with out of stock everywhere. Even Western Digital’s list of where to buy only pointed to the lack of the drive anywhere.
Amazon.com was out of stock of the 2TB and 3TB drives while Amazon third-party merchant stock ran out even with marked up prices and shipping. I eventually acquired a drive from a third-party merchant, but the order was delayed 22 days from order to delivery after they apparently over-sold their inventory. CDW is listed as ‘in stock’ but on their website they mark it as ‘Call for availability’. Chatting with a CDW sales representative, they informed me that they expected to receive 182 3TB units October 11th and the 2 TB drives arriving October 2nd.
NewEgg restocked the 3TB WD Red drive today but its price is $40 higher than Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP).
Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the WD Red 1 TB drive (model #: WD10EFRX) is $109.00 USD, the 2 TB drive (model #: WD20EFRX) is $139.00 USD and the 3 TB drive (model #: WD30EFRX) is $189.00 USD.
With NewEgg regaining stock, Amazon’s third party merchant’s returning with stock, and CDW’s restock date soon approaching, hopefully the drive will soon be able to be purchased closer to the MSRP. Amazon is my preferred vendor as a Prime member but with the possibility of losing the whole volume on the NAS, I was getting a bit anxious since Seagate still hasn’t sent a replacement drive covered by the warranty. Once the drives are back in stock, I might purchase a few more to upgrade the capacity and quality of drives in my Netgear ReadyNAS Ultra 4 NAS since they are on the ReadyNAS hard drive compatibility list.