[SUITABILITY] WD Red HD for general purpose backup


macrumors member
Original poster
May 12, 2009
Hi everyone,

I am looking for a bit of advice please regarding getting a new internal backup drive for my 2008 Mac Pro.

I'm looking for really good reliability/warranty (I have 5 external drives that are also used for backup purposes - 4 of which are then kept off-site for safety/security reasons) and I have come across the Western Digital Red series of drives that are designed to be used in NAS drives and come with a 3-year warranty in the UK.

So, my eventual question is this - is this NAS-purposed drive a good bet for an "internal" backup drive on a Mac Pro? My understanding is that a drive designed for NAS use (my understanding being 24/7 use) would be a good bet for a Mac that is only on for maybe 3-4 hours a day on average (more during weekends and arguments). I can pick up a 3TB WD Red for £100/$155 including tax and delivery at the moment.

Or would I be better just getting a general consumer 3TB drive with the bog-standard 1yr (2yr if you are lucky) warranty?

I hope someone can offer some sage-like wisdom.

All the best,



macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
Elkton, Maryland
I have not had any problems with any Western Digital equipment. That being said, I am not sure of the differences between an NAS drive and a regular drive by them. Some manufacturers just slap it on as a label. I would look at the other drives also. A couple of WD drives come with a 5 year warranty in the United States, that may be different for the same drives in the UK.


macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
If you aren't using it in RAID then it will not make a difference. For the most part the only real difference between a NAS/Enterprise hard drive and a regular drive is how the firmware is programmed to deal with drive faults.

Basically the NAS rated drive will skip the corrupt data, depending on the array to correct faults in the data. While a consumer drive will attempt to correct the error. The problem is if it spends too much time trying to correct the error the RAID controller will see the drive as failed and mark it as offline. Which can make it impossible to rebuild an array if a drive has failed and you are trying to rebuild it and come across a minor error in one of the member drives during a rebuild.


macrumors 68040
Jan 13, 2011
I wouldn't say WD Red is specifically a RAID-rated drive.
After all, it's a consumer product, and most consumer NAS-es run a software RAID anyway, so the quirks of a RAID controller are irrelevant.

Still, as I understand this, WD has specifically designed the Red drives for 24/7 operation, having tighter mechanical tolerances, better balance and lower operating temperatures.
As they put it:
WDC said:
With a 35% MTBF improvement over standard desktop drives, the WD Red drive with NASware 2.0 is designed and manufactured to be a more reliable and robust solution.
Also, the Red shouldn't be parking the heads as often as those Green drives do (which required increasing the IDLE parameter in firmware to reduce Load/Unload Cycle count).
Last edited:


macrumors member
Original poster
May 12, 2009
Thanks for all the replies.

I'll look at either the Greens for cost-effectiveness or the Blacks for warranty and reliability.

All the best,



macrumors 68030
Feb 10, 2008
NAS drives sacrifice a bit of data rate performance for lower power/heat and perhaps higher reliability. Because they are low power/heat, they work well when several are packed into a small enclosure. They are typically 5400 rpm (some slower). Fewer platers I think.

Enterprise rated drives are basically the highest performing highest reliable most capable drives. More platers I think. They love to be RAID together in a RAID enclosure. They run hot but are designed to do so. They cost more than NAS rated drives.

Both NAS and Enterprise drives are designed for 24/7

For backup internal, a NAS drive is ideal, but a desktop rated drive will also work well. An enterprise is overkill for backup purposes.
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