NAS drives are always a gamble, SMR or not, you should always keep away from the cheap HDD drives and that also includes cheap SSD’s if you are trying to have a NAS that have a good performance in a Raid setup. Very interesting, very disconcerting. In both cases, the WD Red SMR drives would not work for me personally. Ektich we load test every drive before we replace them in customer systems to ensure we aren’t using a faulty drive. People are seeing very poor performance with these SMR drives and Synology as well, even in normal operation. +1 on rep for it. If people can sue Apple for advertising a phone has 16GB of storage when some of that is taken up by the operating system, those two missing words may make a huge different in the legal circus. Still, this is a good indicator of the drive working through its internal data management processes and impacting performance. Thank you to Will for doing this testing and Patrick for making it happen. Note that currently, the MAX capacity drive using SMR is the 6TB WD60EFAX, with 3 platters / 6 heads… So… is that it?? On top of which you badly tried to cover it up before finally facing it up. And really nobody (you, too) mentions how inefficient this is in case of power consumption as all the reading and writing while moving the data on a top shingle consumes energy while an CMR drive is sleeping all the time. We use ZFS heavily and many of our readers do as well. AFAIK, the SMR Reds support the TRIM command. Data is written on magnetic tracks that are side-by-side, do not overlap, and write operations on one track do not affect its neighbors. I received a phone call from the rep this morning. Any chance anyone has a link to that? During this time, scrubs were disabled for the pool and resilvering priority was completely disabled. So, if anyone needs to know WHAT INTERNAL DRIVE MODEL they have in their WD EXTERNAL ENCLOSURES, install https://crystalmark.info/en/software/crystaldiskinfo and COPY PAST the info to the clipboard! We also tested the SMR drives before and after the CMR drives to ensure that it was not a case of something happening due to the order of testing. The WD40EFAX performed so poorly that we repeated the test on a second disk to rule out user error; the second disk exhibited the same extremely slow resilver speeds. Plus, I’d like to see some stock hardware RAID devices tested along the same lines. But the question for me (as somebody who is about to buy a new NAS as a media hub for Videos and Photos) I still have two old st4000dm005 lying around and would use them and upgrade two additional a cheap 8TB (SMR – st8000dm004) or with the whole SMR NAS drive debate, a very expensive CMR Ironwolf or something like that ? I passed this article around our office. I get that it’s not OK to hide what the drive actually uses, but on a Media Server/Backup level ? https://www.hattislaw.com/cases/investigations/western-digital-lawsuit-for-shipping-slower-smr-hard-drives-including-wd-red-nas/, I just ordered 3 WD 4TB Red for a new NAS and had no clue! P.S. CMOSTTL this basically shows stay away from SMR even for backup in NASes. So they can target “specific” markets with the SMR drives? Was there nobody on the team who realised the consequences? Then I found out about this lawsuit. When data is written on a SMR drive the data on the overlapping tracks will be affected by the write process as well. They’re using different size drives, more drives, they’re not putting a workload and just letting it rebuild. If people can sue Apple for advertising a phone has 16GB of storage when some of that is taken up by the operating system, those two missing words may make a huge different in the legal circus. We can hypothesize that there is a negative impact, but it is better to show it. WD Red becomes less hot, though, and uses less power. If you watch the video, it’s funny. The WD40EFAX is demonstrably a worse drive than the CMR based WD40EFRX, and assuming that you have a choice in your purchase the CMR drive is the superior product. Well, i got new for you: crystaldiskinfo CAN!!! I have many WD external drives, and i DON’T WANT any drive with SMR!!! Compare this with the “INFECTED” SMR drive list, and you’re good to go! The systems and capacities used will impact results in different ways. The WD40EFAX is the only SMR drive in the comparison and is the focus of the testing. Shucking external drives (which are often SMR) is mentioned on both pages. Would be very unhappy if I had gotten SMR drives though. Has anyone tested this? Shucking external drives (which are often SMR) is mentioned on both pages. Not that I would use SMR for NAS. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. I was under the misapprehension (along with that sinking feeling) from reporting from other sites that all 3TB WD Reds are SMR when in fact there are two models. On top of which you badly tried to cover it up before finally facing it up. If you want another 3rd party description of this, you can see the great 2015 paper by Toshiba:Â Shingled Magnetic Recording Technologies for Large-Capacity Hard Disk Drives. Checked the invoice and they are marked as WD40EFRX (phew)…. Period! They are also not doing a realistic test since it seems they are not putting a workload on the NAS during rebuilds? If you mix drives, the slower ones tend to dictate performance more times than not. The ability to keep systems running and maintaining operations is a key feature of NAS/ RAID systems. I’m thinking YES!! I’d really like to go through all my drives and explicitly verify which ones are SMR vs CMR. You have entered an incorrect email address! I say this because, WD has the same “infected SMR drives” using the well known PMR tech! The SMR drive has a much larger cache than the CMR version, 256MB vs 64MB, which perhaps helps account for the win here. This is important because it touches on those who are not just buying a new set of drives for an array, but instead is a commonly-known case where a user may have to purchase a drive quickly to get a NAS back to a healthy state as soon as possible. The WD Red is a device-managed SMR drive, which presents itself to the operating system as a normal hard drive. To keep the comparison, use the same disk configuration of 4 x 4TB CMR disk in a RAID-5. Plus, I’d like to see some stock hardware RAID devices tested along the same lines. If you use WD Red CMR drives, you had class-leading performance in this test but if you bought a WD Red SMR drive, perhaps not understanding the difference, you would have another 9 days of potentially catastrophic data vulnerability. I want to point out that you’re wrong about one thing. I needed 3 x 10TB drives, I went with barely used open-box HSGT He10 on eBay (all 2019 models with around 1,000 hours usage). Either is bad. perhaps hardware raid or Linux mdadm etc, instead of just ZFS. Spend a little bit more money for the 54/5600 – 7200 RPM drives that are CRM. The test array is a 4-drive RAIDZ volume that has been filled to around 60% capacity. And upon further investigation I found out that these disks are SMR. WD technicians don’t have a way to query the drive and ask for the model number?? How about that? I will also say that a likely part of the problem here is that these are DM-SMR drives that hide the fact they are SMR from the host. Background: Most people do not understand how complex SMR is when data needs to be moved from a bottom shingled track. My backup window is not time constrained, I simply let it run until it’s done. We say 9 days and we’re understating the problem, which in my mind is the more defensible position. We’ll talk about the best drives for each purpose (e.g. Your video and web are usually much closer to 1 another. I get that it’s not OK to hide what the drive actually uses, but on a Media Server/Backup level ? The newer contender is SMR, or shingled magnetic recording. They wrote the article like someone who uses ZFS though. So take your time and pick your storage depending on your needs. Friends don’t let friends use SMR drives for NAS. How about that? In my opinion, the SMR Reds are a case of fraudulent advertising. We have maybe 200 CMR Reds that we’ve bought over the last year. Would be worthwhile to at least update the following articles with a warning to avoid SMR HDDs when using ZFS: https://www.servethehome.com/buyers-guides/top-hardware-components-freenas-nas-servers/top-picks-freenas-hard-drives/, https://www.servethehome.com/hpe-proliant-microserver-gen10-plus-ultimate-customization-guide/2/. Maybe I’m in the minority here. More trolls on STH when you get to these mass audience articles. 2) For backup purposes SMR HDD and QLC SSD is a good choice. For my use, (it was the only 8TB drive on the market for a reasonable price at that time), it works well. They have a WD Red in stock so you buy it and install it without doing a day’s worth of online research. Checked the invoice and they are marked as WD40EFRX (phew)…. P.S. They were apologetic, but then they dropped the bombshell: All Seagate 2.5″ drives are SMR, they no longer make 2.5″ PMR drives. I saw that Ars piece. Clearly the problem is with the label on the drive. Does it strongly depend on the Type of RAID and Filesystem ? It is indeed a good sign to see STH calling BS when it is… BS. And really nobody (you, too) mentions how inefficient this is in case of power consumption as all the reading and writing while moving the data on a top shingle consumes energy while an CMR drive is sleeping all the time. Guess I should be happy all mine are EFRX as well…, Someone said this is part of a RACE for BIGGER capacities. The general population does not follow drive technology closely. On the WD Red drives, the 64MB cache CMR drives are still available and worked great in our testing. I know I’m being a d!ck here but the video has a much more thorough impact assessment while this is more showing the testing behind what’s being said in the video. We had two main areas of testing. That 9 day and almost 14-hour rebuild means that using the WD Red 4TB SMR drive inadvertently in an array would lead to your data being vulnerable for around 9 days longer than the WD Red 4TB CMR drive or Seagate IronWolf. If we’d said 10 days, someone could come along and say we were exaggerating the issue. That’s terrible practice. SMR drive support is getting better when hosts know they are using SMR drives. First, a simple 125GB file copy to test sequential write speeds outside of the context of a benchmark utility. This has been the standard technology behind hard drive data storage since the mid-2000s. We had two main areas of testing. For the test configuration, we wanted a configuration that de-emphasized CPU performance. People are seeing very poor performance with these SMR drives and Synology as well, even in normal operation. Good analysis. From the brief I now know the 3TB drives I bought for my Synology are CMR. Ars articles always lack the depth of real reporting, but do provide an entertainment factor and many times the commenters have much more insight (which is what I love finding and reading). A great example is http://blog.robiii.nl/2020/04/wd-red-nas-drives-use-smr-and-im-not.html. In some ways, this is like timing a runner’s sprint time after running a marathon. Even down to external drives needing to be marked in this way. I’m also happy to see you tried on a second drive. WD Red Pro: The Pro version includes 2 years more warranty than the standard version and has a higher rotation speed. (2) WDC WD40EFRX-68N32N0 : 4000,7 GB [2/0/0, sa1] – wd So long as there is proper disclosure and people are making an informed choice, then SMR is a valid technology. Granted, this is a good article that demonstrates what happens when SMR cache is filled and disks don’t have enough idle time to recover, but I doubt this happens a lot in the real life, and your advice to avoid SMR does not follow from the data you’re obtained. We are going to curate a selection of the best posts from STH each week and deliver them directly to you. CONCLUSION: one more checkbox to check when buying drives, not SMR? I needed 3 x 10TB drives, I went with barely used open-box HSGT He10 on eBay (all 2019 models with around 1,000 hours usage). Yes, there is an array running here, due to the brilliance of picking drives from different production runs and vendors, that has half SMR and half CMR. hey thanks for the quick reply! Feel free to listen along while you read. I had followed the story on blocksandfiles (.com) and this is really good that it landed on STH and then followed by a testing report. These targeted tests are not designed to be comprehensive, but instead, illuminate any obvious differences between the SMR drive and its CMR competitors. You didn’t address this but now I’ve got a problem. Paste it to a text editor, and voila!!! They go way too in-depth on the technical side, but when you’re looking at it, they did a less good experiment. ð Great to see some hard facts related to this after reading about it from others. You don’t test a drive before putting it into a rebuild scenario? You don’t need to do it with CMR drives either. You didn’t address this but now I’ve got a problem. Also, if you trim the entire disk (and maybe wait a little), does it return to initial performance? It’s nice to see the Will cameo in a video too. But the question for me (as somebody who is about to buy a new NAS as a media hub for Videos and Photos) I still have two old st4000dm005 lying around and would use them and upgrade two additional a cheap 8TB (SMR – st8000dm004) or with the whole SMR NAS drive debate, a very expensive CMR Ironwolf or something like that ? However, the WD40EFAX is not a consumer desktop-focused drive. And after that, plague all the other lines (like the BLUE one, that already has 2 drives with SMR). The drives perform terrible ever since day 1, causing the whole PC to appear unresponsive for minutes the moment 1 file in the Steam library is rewritten for game updates. It’s nice to see the Will cameo in a video too. We utilize a lot of ZFS at STH, so in mid-April 2020 we started a project to see if, indeed, there was a difference. Absent that context, simply putting the word “SMR” in a product listing does not help an uninformed purchaser choose the correct product. Duplicity or lazy indifference or both? The drives are Seagate Barracuda ST500LM050 drives from the same or similar batch. But for a consumer case is the whole SMR debate a real problem? 2) For backup purposes SMR HDD and QLC SSD is a good choice. (EDIT -> COPY or CTRL-C). I had such a great week too. The differences between SMR and CMR are fairly nuanced where regular STH readers may understand, but those regular readers are the same IT professionals that keep up on the latest technology trends in the market. When that NAS readiness was put to the test the drive performed spectacularly badly. Luke, Dear Western Digital, I will probably continue to buy WD Red in the future, but I just voted with my $$$ following that story. Now we’re going to switch to Seagate. But you are not showing how long does it take for an array to rebuild under those conditions? Does it strongly depend on the Type of RAID and Filesystem ? Just a reminder, this test was performed as immediately as possible after completing the drive preparation process. Just read this bollocks: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/06/western-digitals-smr-disks-arent-great-but-theyre-not-garbage/2/. I truly would like to know in order to make a decision. WD Red = CMR, WD Pink = SMR. As a perpetual dabbler, he is always open to new solutions for old problems. An article like this has a high likelihood of ruffling feathers, so we wanted to have as many bases covered as possible. It is indeed a good sign to see STH calling BS when it is… BS. Their insight into the drive being used while doing the rebuild is great too. You’d be surprised how often we see clients do this panic and put in new drives. It’s about time a large highly regarded site stepped in by doing more than just covering what Chris did. But, selling SMR as a NAS drive, AND not clearly labeling it, (like Red Lite), that should be criminal. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. So they go way into the weeds of commands (that the average QNAP, Synology, Dobo user has no clue about) then say it’s fine… oh but for ZFS its still sucks. (BTW, if you ask WD how to know the DRIVE MODEL inside an external WD enclosure, they will tell you it’s impossible!!! Even down to external drives needing to be marked in this way. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. How BIG is it? I had followed the story on blocksandfiles (.com) and this is really good that it landed on STH and then followed by a testing report. They are also not doing a realistic test since it seems they are not putting a workload on the NAS during rebuilds? Based on my time with those drives, I was expecting much poorer results. The WD40EFAX turns in performance numbers that are significantly worse than the CMR drives. I’m thinking YES!! Initially it worked reasonably fast, but as time went on, it slowed down. Now we’re going to switch to Seagate. They’re using different size drives, more drives, they’re not putting a workload and just letting it rebuild. Western Digital 4TB WD Red Pro NAS Internal Hard Drive - 7200 RPM Class, SATA 6 Gb/s, CMR, 256 MB Cache, 3.5" - WD4003FFBX ... and lower power consumption. For single drive installations, the WD40EFAX will likely function without issue. Robert – I generally look for low-cost CMR drives, and expect that they will fail on me. Fortunately I bought WD Red 4TB drives a long time ago and they are EFRX and they were used in a RAID system. I was under the misapprehension (along with that sinking feeling) from reporting from other sites that all 3TB WD Reds are SMR when in fact there are two models. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjzoSwR6AYA. Because of this overlap, the resulting tracks are thinner allowing more to fit into a given area and achieving better overall data density. That’s why STH is a gem. Why is that? A 4 drive Synology using four 8 TB Reds(CMR) and one decides to just die. Now I know I’ve sold my customers FreeNAS hardware that isn’t good. We are using a third party service to manage subscriptions so you can unsubscribe at any time. I have a problem with your RAIDZ test: normally I replace failed disks with brand new, just unpacked ones, not the ones that were used to write a lot of data and immediately disconnected. Western Digital Red HDD are mainly used in 1 to 5 HDDs small and medium scale NAS residential and small enterprise users. Reds aren’t cheap either, but they’ve previously been good. Prior to beginning this sequence of tests, the drives were prepped by having 3TB of data written to them, and then 1TB of that data is deleted. How BIG is it? Then I found out about this lawsuit. I will NEVER buy another EXTERNAL WD drive again without the warranty to check the internal drive MODEL first!!!! You’d be surprised how often we see clients do this panic and put in new drives. Finally, a FreeNAS RAIDZ resilver was performed. It seems like a marketing TEST!!! We are going to curate a selection of the best posts from STH each week and deliver them directly to you. Customers MUST be informed of this new tech, even those using EXTERNAL SINGLE DRIVES ENCLOSURES!!! So glad I got 12TB Toshibaa N300’s last year that are CMR. I have a problem with your RAIDZ test: normally I replace failed disks with brand new, just unpacked ones, not the ones that were used to write a lot of data and immediately disconnected. Why keep SMR and PMR drives with the SAME capacity in the same line and HIDING this info from customers? Very interesting, very disconcerting. I’m also happy to see you tried on a second drive. In either case, we suggest not using them. And this is VERY BAD NEWS. There are other NAS vendors who are staying silent on this issue, even if they utilize ZFS and these WD Red SMR drives. A hard disk drive (HDD), hard disk, hard drive, or fixed disk is an electro-mechanical data storage device that stores and retrieves digital data using magnetic storage and one or more rigid rapidly rotating platters coated with magnetic material.