Tomshardware has done their usual thorough job of reviewing the new Western Digital "Red" drives which are specifically marketed to be good for small business and home NAS servers. Toms reviewed both the 2GB and the 3 GB models. Toms explains the need for drives that are more robust than typical desktop drives:
In order to achieve more robust reliability in a multi-drive array, you really need to look at purpose-built nearline hard drives. They're optimized, both at the firmware and hardware levels, to serve up higher endurance and reliability.
The usual criteria for evaluating hard drives, such as speed and price per gigabyte, are still important in the design of nearline storage. But there are other added considerations taken into account as well like reliability, a low thermal profile, and moderate power consumption. The mechanical components of nearline drives are improved to be more robust than their desktop counterparts as they cope with the increased heat of continuous operation. Manufacturers build the drives to higher, more stringent, standards, and step up their testing and quality control.
Typically, desktop drives are rated for 2400 power-on-hours per year, with Seagate's Barracuda 7200.14 standing in as our example. Nearline drives, on the other hand, are good for up to 8760 hours per year, the 24x7 availability equivalent.
The "Red" drives are differentiated from Western Digital's "Black" drives that are optimized for performance, their "Blue" drives that are part of their Desktop drive line and their "Green" drives which are optimized for low power usage.
Performance as measured by Tomshardware is good:
The 2 TB (WD20EFRX) and 3 TB (WD30EFRX) models demonstrate a sequential read speed of 112 MB/s. Generally, this is middle-of-the-road. However, it’s actually pretty fast compared to other 5400 RPM drives, such as Hitachi's Deskstar 5K4000, which achieves 102.9 MB/s, and Samsung's EcoGreen F4 HD204UI that achieves 100.7 MB/s.
Power consumption and heat output are great on these drives:
Western Digital's Red drives really shine when it comes to power consumption and thermals. Consuming less than 4 W at idle and a maximum of 5.4 W during streaming write operations, the Reds are solidly in front of their competition. The operating temperature maintains a comparatively-frosty 31 degrees Celsius, which is about four degrees less than the other drives we benchmarked.
In fact, Toms explains that for all current drives tested, these WD Red drives provide the best performance per watt. They are recommended for devices that fit the target audience - small business and NAS appliances.