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Western Digital RE 4TB Enterprise Hard Drive Review


Well-known member
Oct 24, 2007


Let us preface this summary by saying that Western Digital’s RE 4TB can’t be approached like it is a mass market drive that’s supposed to cater to larger retail market. While it can be used in any number of situations, enterprise clients are the ultimate focus here.

When looked at from a datacenter perspective, this new RE 4TB hard drive is at industry’s forefront. It offers amazing capacity, very good performance, great 5 year warranty a myriad of features that will keep data safe and has as robust a design as we have come to expect from high end devices. The increased capacity also makes it a very efficient tool for the Enterprise market as administrators will need to use fewer drives to hit their target storage capacity. All this just underscores how serious Western Digital is taking this rapidly expanding market.

Unfortunately, for most of us, Western Digital has laser targeted this drive towards a certain niche, making it a somewhat poor choice for anything other than heavy duty RAID configurations. In the past, certain enterprise-class HDDs have made great home storage devices as the increased quality and durability allow for a trouble free experience. The 4TB RE’s rather narrow design philosophy presents a unique set of challenges for the average consumer interested in a home storage device. These challenges are bet summed up by two items: “Time Limited Error Recovery” and “Platter Density”.

From a data throughput perspective, we have no issue with Western Digital using 800GB platters. The RE’s performance puts to rest any concerns over this. Consumers have become accustomed to three, two and even single platter designs which run cooler and by very definition have fewer moving pieces which can fail. This issue has been largely mitigated by the use of advanced disk management techniques but these present another list of hurdles on the road to delivering an optimal home-user experience. Unfortunately, this means Western Digital’s WDTLER steps into the fray far too often. Their stubborn refusal to update an otherwise useful application in order to give consumers the option of turning off – or at least modifying - Time Limited Error Recovery will make this impressive drive a rather hard sell for the mass market.

Much like the five platter design, TLER is not as big a deal as some make it out to be. However when taken together, these two items raise questions which should never be around in the first place. When dealing with 4TB of data - and this much money - consumers need to have 100% faith in their purchase. Naturally, these are issues which could have easily been avoided if Western Digital wanted a cross-over design. They obviously do not. The RE 4TB is exclusively for the enterprise realm and in that respect, it succeeds like no other.

The Western Digital RE 4TB’s large capacity, advanced data protection features and relative efficiency make it one of the best options currently available. However, this focus makes it a rather poor choice for mass market users who want a massive amount of storage space. If you are looking for one of the best 7200RPM hard drives for RAID environments and can afford the rather steep asking price, the RE deserves to be on the short list for consideration.

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