Which Drive Do I Choose? A Guide to the Mechanical HD Market

A lot of people have been asking about the difference between specific drives from various manufacturers, so I thought I would create a list of each drive’s use-case scenarios and an overview of their features (sorted by brand):

Western Digital

Consumer:

Western Digital Green Series The WD Green series are high capacity, low cost drives designed for home use. They aren't the fastest, but they are cheap and use low amounts of power. They are generally not recommended for use in a RAID array however, as they lack TLERand have an aggressive spin-down cycle which can result in issues with them being dropped out of an array. More Info

Western Digital Blue Series
The WD Blue series are the "standard" drive in WD’s lineup. They offer a good compromise between price and performance, and are the "normal" drive that you would typically include in an average home computer. More Info

Western Digital Black Series
The WD Black series are high performance consumer drives. They offer high performance, but also come at a higher price than the others. More Info

Western Digital Purple Series
The WD Purple series employ specific features to make them more reliable for 24/7 use in surveillance systems. More Info

Western Digital Red Series
The WD Red series are designed for use in home NAS and servers. They offer a good price to performance ratio, and possess a few features which make them more suitable for RAID arrays such as TLER, higher vibration tolerance (which should result in a longer lifespan), consume less power and are rated for 24/7 use. More Info

Western Digital Red Pro Series
The WD Red Pro series are similar to Western Digital’s Red drives, but are rated for higher workloads and higher performance. WD Red Pros come at a premium price in comparison to WD Red drives. More Info

Western Digital VelociRaptor
The Western Digital VelociRaptor series are designed for use in performance demanding workstations. The drives are designed with a built in heatsink to disperse heat and utilize Preemptive Wear Leveling to increase the speed of read/write operations. More Info

Enterprise:

Western Digital Se Series
The WD Se series are designed for cost effective enterprise server and NAS RAID environments. These drives support a few of the same features as the WD Red Pro series, but are designed for a larger workload in an enterprise environment. WD Se drives also have a higher URE, and should be less prone to bad sectors. More Info

Western Digital Re Series
The WD Re series are designed for enterprise server and NAS RAID environments. These drives are akin to Se but are rated for even higher workloads and have a higher URE. More Info

Western Digital Xe Series
The WD Xe series is WD's top of the line drives for enterprise server and NAS RAID environments which demand the ultimate performance. These drives have the same features as WD Re series, but with the largest workload and have the highest URE of any WD drive. More Info

Western Digital Ae Series
The WD Ae series are designed for enterprise grade cold storage solutions. If you have any data that you will be storing for long periods of time without being accessed, these are the drives for you. More Info

More info: Consumer | Enterprise

Seagate

Consumer:

Desktop (or Barracuda)
The Seagate Barracuda series are Seagate's solution for the desktop environment. They have a low price to performance ratio, and will suit most of your desktop needs. The drives should be able to work in RAID, but are only rated for a maximum of 2 in RAID 1/0, they are also only rated for 8x5 use. More Info

NAS
The Seagate NAS series are designed for use in home NAS and servers. The drives, like Reds, have features that make them favorable for RAID like ERC (Seagate's version of TLER), higher vibration tolerance, consume less power, and are rated for 24/7 use. More Info

Video
The Seagate Video series have specific features enabled to make them more reliable for 24/7 use in surveillance systems. More Info

Enterprise:

Terascale (or Constellation CS)
The Seagate Terascale series are designed for cost effective enterprise server and NAS RAID environments. They have features that make them favorable for use in RAID like ERC, higher vibration tolerance and 24/7 rated use. More Info

Surveillance The Seagate Surveillance series of drives off the same benefits as the Video series, but are designed for a higher workload in an enterprise environment. More Info

Enterprise Capacity (or Constellation ES)
The Seagate Enterprise Capacity series are designed for use in enterprise server and NAS RAID environments. These drives are akin to Terascale drives, but are rated for higher workloads. More Info

Enterprise Performance
The Seagate Enterprise Performance series are designed for use in a performance demanding, enterprise server and NAS RAID environment. These drives are similar to Enterprise Capacity drives, but are rated for an even higher workload. More Info

Definitions

ERC (Time Limited Error Recovery for Western Digital) - Error Recovery Control limits the amount of time that a hard drive can attempt to recover a bad sector. This is beneficial in RAID arrays as it lessens the chance that a drive will be dropped from the RAID array due to an error. More Info

BER - Bit Error Rate is a measure of how frequently an URE occurs. More Info

URE - Unrecoverable Read Error occurs when a drive is unable to read a sector. More Info

See an issue with the above information? PM me on the forum with corrections, or post in this thread! (please remember to quote that part that should be corrected :)) Want information about another brand added to this list? PM me and I will add it! (with credit)

Credit: Thanks to Whiskers for added content and editing of this post.

This article is my 3rd oldest. It is 975 words long