Western Digital’s colour coding – Red, Blue, Green or Black?

Any colour as long as it’s black? WD drives, available from distributor Drive Control Corporation (DCC) may have a technology pedigree analogous to that of Ford’s in the motor industry but they are way ahead in terms of providing its broad base of customers with high-level, custom options. To add some ‘grab-and-go clarity’ to its range of hard drives, they have colour coded them – and the range is expanding. So what shade of WD would suit you best?

Here’s the cheat sheet:

  • Green drives are earth-friendly, lead and halogen free, with reduced dependency on rare earth materials and a commitment to using only conflict-free raw materials. They are energy efficient, cool and quiet.
  • Blue drives are the original WD drive, built to the highest standards of quality and reliability, offering the features and capacity ideal for your everyday computing needs. Available with Serial ATA (SATA) interface, with mobile and desktop drives as well as ultrabook drives, this is the workhorse of the WD range.
  • Red drives are designed for Network Attached Storage (NAS) in small and home office environments, offering high levels of compatibility and excellent support.
  • Black drives deliver maximum performance for power computing, featuring high-performance electronics and a rock-solid mechanical architecture as well as high capacity storage.

“The use you want to put these devices to and the environment in which they operate will help guide your choices. You may also want to find out the vital statistics of each device, including the interface it uses, what capacity it is available in, its speed, and the performance you can expect. This will ensure you get the right drive for your needs,” says Farhad Alli, WD Product Specialist at DCC.

A quick reference:

  • Capacity: 8 Terabytes (TB) will store 1.6 million photos (about 3.5 Megabytes (MB) each)or 615 hours of video or 2 million songs.
  • Speed: 5400 Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) is slower, runs more quietly, and requires less powerthan7200 RPM, which offers high-speed and high-performance access for power users.
  • Cache: A bigger cache means faster performance.64MB cache is standard
  • Form factor: 3.5-inch hard drives are primarily used in desktop computers, while 2.5-inch drives are for notebooks and increasingly in enterprises; you can install a 2.5-inch in a desktop PC – it runs quieter (by 2 to 3 decibels) – with some effort.

WD Green
“WD’s Green range delivers cool, quiet operation for efficient, eco-conscious computing, with IntelliSeek technology to calculate optimum seek speeds for lower power consumption, noise and vibration,” says Farhad Alli, WD Product Specialist.

These drives are available in both 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch models. The 3.5-inch drives are available in capacities of 500GB to 3TB, while the 2.5-inch models offer capacities of 1.5TB and 2TB. All 3.5-inch drives feature a SATA 6 Gigabits per second (Gb/s) interface, and the 2.5-inch models have the option of either a 6Gb/s or 3Gb/s interface. All WD Green drives feature a two year limited warranty.

Green drives are ideal for use in desktops and custom external enclosures. These drives cannot be used in laptop or notebook computers and are not recommended for use in RAID environments.

WD Blue
“The WD Blue range offers solid performance and reliability for everyday computing, with low noise and vibration, WD’s legendary quality and a two year limited warranty,” says Alli.

These drives are available in 3.5-inch models with 7200RPM speed for use in desktop computing, as well as 2.5-inch models with 5400RPM speeds ideal for use in thin notebooks. The 2.5-inch drives are also compatible with mainstream systems using standard 9.5mm slots.

These drives offer a SATA 6Gb/s interface on most models, with a 3Gb/s interface on certain2.5-inch drives. The 3.5-inch drives offer capacities ranging from 80GB to 1TB, with caches ranging from 8MB to 64MB depending on the model selected. The 2.5-inch drives range from 250GB to 1TB, with an 8 MB cache.

WD Red
“WD Red drives are designed and manufactured specifically for home and small office NAS systems with one to five bays,” says Alli.

They offer optimal compatibility for NAS, along with exclusive NASware technology, free access to the WD Red premium support line, and a three year limited warranty.

Compatibility-tested with top NAS box manufacturers and optimised for power and performance, WD Red hard drives are available in 1TB, 2TB and 3TB capacities. All drives are a 3.5-inch form factor and feature a 64MB cache, SATA 6Gb/s interface, and a Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) of one million hours.

WD’s IntelliPower algorithm varies the rotational speed of the drive and IntelliSeek technology calculates optimum seek speeds to lower power consumption, noise and vibration to achieve the right balance between spin speed, transfer rate and caching algorithms to enhance power savings and deliver solid performance.

WD Black
“WD Black drives offer a legendary five year limited warranty, dual processor technology to enhance performance, and 7200RPM speeds, making these drives ideal for use in PCs, high-performance workstations and notebook computers,” says Alli.

They come in 3.5-inch as well as made-for-mobile 2.5-inch formats.

Enhanced reliability features help protect the drive and the data stored on it. WD’s dynamic caching algorithm improves performance in real time by optimising cache allocation between reads and writes to reduce congestion and improve overall drive performance. NoTouch ramp load technology means that the recording head never touches the disk media ensuring significantly less wear to the recording head and media as well as better drive protection in transit.StableTrac technology secures the motor shaft at both ends to reduce system-induced vibration and stabilise platters for accurate tracking during read and write operations which enables consistently higher performance. (4TB, 3TB and 2TB models only).

The WD Black 3.5-inch drives have a SATA 6Gb/s interface, and a 64MB cache, and come in capacities from 500GB to 4TB. The 2.5-inch drives offer a 16MB cache, SATA 3Gb/s interface and capacities of 160GB to 750GB. WD Black drives are perfect for high-performance applications like photo and video editing, gaming and power PCs.


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Western Digital’s colour coding – Red, Blue, Green or Black?