Newer WD RED Hard Drives in NAS devices

I run a couple of Synology NAS drives - one for my music collection and the other for my photos and home/holiday movies.

Over the past couple of days I have noticed that my music NAS is significantly noisier than normal. It is difficult to describe the noise but I would attribute it potentially to being a hard disk issue. I have 2 WD Red mirrored drives in each of my NASs, and over the next couple of days will attempt to locate the problem by removing each of the drives in turn. By the way, I do have an up to date backup of my music files.

I have actually run a S.M.A.R.T series of tests on both drives in my NAS, and the results have come back as ‘normal’, but the tests may not be conclusive.

However, the reason for my post is to point out a couple of things:

  1. It has just occurred to me that my backup regime is not optimal in Copvid lockdown times, since my backup drives are stored with my brother who lives some 60 miles away from me. In the event of a total failure, I would have no means of easily getting hold of the backups.

  2. I have also just discovered (when pricing potential replacement drives) that Western Digital have moved (in a fairly surreptitious way) from CMR to SMR technology for their ‘Red’ drives, and that it is not always easy to determine whether or not one of their drives uses the old CMR or new SMR technology.

I am aware that for large users with RAID setups, there are very significant performance drawbacks of the new SMR technology. Is anyone with more up to date knowledge of hard drives able to advise me as to whether or not I should buy an older (and now more expensive) CMR drive or drives (while they are still available), or should a WD Red SMR drive still be appropriate for my less complex use in a Synology NAS?

It might be worth checking that it’s not Roon accessing those drives as it does constantly access your NAS drives if that’s where the music library is stored. Does the noise still occur when Roon server is powered off?

Very good suggestion, but unfortunately the NAS is still noisy after my Roon server has been powered off.

Ah well worth a try

I guess I’ve got to the root of the problem

Checked the fan - it was OK

Re-seated the drives in the NAS, and the NAS is now reporting a partition failure on disk number two in my mirrored array.

Luckily, because my drives are mirrored, I should be able to simply slot in a replacement disk and be up and running again - I won’t have to wait for the end of lockdown to retrieve my backups from my brother.

For what it’s worth I’ll probably go for an older CRM WD Red rather than the newer (and cheaper) SRM version of the drive.

Glad you found the problem…using Seagate IronWolf drives myself which all seem to be CMR

The newer SMR-equipped small drives remain “Red”—while the CMR models will all become “Red Plus.”

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I’d avoid the SMR technology ones, it sounds really pants & WD face a class action over it.
Somewhat dissapointing as their older non SMR red drives work very well.

Yes - I went for a WD Red Plus (CMR) replacement drive, and am back up and running again today. It took roughly 6 hours to build the drive in my mirrored configuration. By all accounts it would have taken 12 times as long with the newer SMR drives.

I’m now very glad that I have mirrored drives in my NAS because it means I was able to recover without having to wait for lockdown to end in order to get access to my backup drives which are kept for me by my brother who lives 60 miles away.

I think quite a few forum members use WD Reds in their NAS devices. Be aware that the new WD Reds have some serious drawbacks, and that it would probably be wise to go for the slightly more expensive Red Plus drives if you need to obtain a replacement.


Good spot that…I used WD reds in both my NASs and had missed that distinction

thanks to all

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