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Western Digital: Confusing specifications for NAS hard drives

It has now become known that the manufacturer Western Digital has cheated on its own NAS hard drives. Especially the HDD 5400 RPM Class confuses the buyer in terms of speed.

Several hard disk series affected

As a Reddit user has now discovered, manufacturer Western Digital is advertising some of its hard drive series at a speed that does not correspond to reality. Contrary to what the name 5400 RPM suggests, for example, it doesn’t have a speed of 5400 rpm, but 7200 rpm. This has two disadvantages. After all, it is not only much louder, but also consumes far more power. Western Digital’s “WD Red Plus” NAS series, for example, uses the same HDD. The model with 8 TB storage space has a power consumption of 8.8 watts. If one compares this with the Barracuda Compute of Seagate, which is also supposed to offer 5,400 revolutions, it becomes clear that this has a power consumption of only 5.3 watts. The power consumption of the WD Red Plus is much more consistent with other NAS HDDs, which offer 7200 rpm. One example is the Seagate Ironwolf NAS.

Customer interest is questionable

Western Digital reacted to the request of the colleagues from Ars Technica rather reserved than enlightening.

For selected products, we have been using a performance class for the RPM values instead of specific speeds for years. We adapt hard disks and their characteristics for specific applications by taking advantage of our economic scaling and passing these cost savings on to our customers.Western Digital

If you look at Western Digital’s response in detail, it is clear that they have allegedly acted in the best interests of their customers. But whether they are really happy about this is more than questionable. Why would anyone buy a 5400 RPM Class that actually does 7200 revolutions? It’s not just the WD Red Plus hard drives (8 TB to 14 TB) that are affected. WD Elements and WD My Book with 8 TB capacity are also affected.

Labelling problems already in the past

This is not the first time that Western Digital has attracted attention with questionable product names. For example, the manufacturer equipped its NAS hard drives with slow SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) instead of using the fast standard PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording) or CMR (Conventional Magnetic Recording). However, the manufacturer has responded to the criticism and made the difference clear. Most likely, WD will also respond to the above issue and rename the product accordingly.

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Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Berlin.

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