Earlier this year Western Digital (WD) announced the WD Red NAS hard drives that are a line of SATA III 6Gbps hard drives specifically designed for home and small office NAS (network attached storage) systems. Anyone that has ever built a NAS before knows that buying hard drives and running them in RAID can be tricky, so WD has been working with NAS box manufacturers to make sure the WD Red series is compatible and that they are optimized for both power and performance. The WD Red hard drives are available in 3.5-inch 1 TB, 2 TB and 3 TB capacities and are designed from the ground up to work best in NAS servers that have up to five drive bays. Anything over five drive bays they suggest moving up to the WD RE Enterprise hard drive series as they are a bit more robust.
The Seagate NAS HDD isn't the first drive to market designed specifically for NAS devices; the that we reviewed last year is already available. However, the Seagate NAS HDD has one major advantage from the outset - it is being offered in 2TB, 3TB and 4TB capacities, while the Red started at 1TB and ranged up to 3TB. That means at the time of this review that the Seagate NAS HDD offers a greater than 30% capacity advantage over the WD Red NAS hard drive. Seagate also quotes drive performance at 10% more than the competition, which we'll test below. One more significant feature in the NAS market is that the NAS HDD operates at just 1.9 bels (2TB). That's below the level of human hearing.
The first, and most obvious question when thinking about NAS, is how much storage space do you need? NAS drives are available in different sizes ranging from one terabyte up to six terabytes. Of course you aren’t restricted to just one drive and depending on which solution you decide upon you can have up to eight drives.