WD 16/18TB disk drive details leak. Plus: Firm slaps Red rebrand-aid on shingle wound

Western Digital has responded to its shingled Red NAS drive issue by adding a Red Plus product variant, and the company’s coming 14TB and 16TB Gold disk drives’ details have leaked into the market.

The Golden touch

Tom’s Hardware has revealed online eTailers are listing 16TB and 18TB Western Digital Gold drives ahead of their formal launch.

The Gold series officially have a 1TB to 14TB capacity range and are helium-filled drives in the 12TB and 14TB models, use conventional magnetic recording, not shingled, spin at 7,200rpm and employ a 6Gbit/s SATA interface. They are also built for hard work; 24x7x365.

The UK’s Span lists a WD181KRYZ 18TB Gold model for £624.00. It has a 5-year limited warranty and a 2.5 million hours MTBF rating. The cache and bandwidth numbers are not certain, though Span suggests a 52GB cache and a 257-267MB/sec read speed. A 14TB Gold disk cost $578.00. 

We expect a formal launch in a few days or weeks.

WD Red drives and shingling

WD has been facing user problems with its WD Red NAS disk drives using shingled magnetic recording. To give users clarity, it’s now splitting the line into shingled (Red) and non-shingled (Red Plus) product types. The Red Pro line is not affected by this change.

Expanded Red disk drive range.

A WD blog explained: “WD Red Plus is the new name for conventional magnetic recording (CMR)-based NAS drives in the WD Red family, including all capacities from 1TB to 14TB. These will be the choice for those whose applications require more write-intensive SMB workloads such as ZFS. WD Red Plus in 2TB, 3TB, 4TB and 6TB capacities will be available soon.”

“The Red line with device-managed shingled magnetic recording (DMSMR) (2TB, 3TB, 4TB, and 6TB [capacities] will be the choice for the majority of NAS owners whose demands are lighter SOHO workloads.”

The firm added: “We want to thank our customers and partners for your feedback on our WD Red family of network attached storage (NAS) hard drives. Your real-world insights shared through in-depth reviews, blogs, forums and from our trusted partners are directly contributing to our work on an expansion of models and clarity of choice for customers. Please continue sharing your experiences and expectations of our products, as this input influences our development.”


This blog and the Red Plus product line clarification will be seen by some as recognition for the hundreds of users who said they had problems with Red NAS drives using shingling when the write load exceeded the drive’s ability to delay performance-sapping writes by caching them in a buffer until the drive was idle.

It is very good that WD is listening to its users, but a pity that its product design engineers didn’t realise there would be a problem in the first case.