- WD Red and WD Gold are both popular Western Digital drives used for different purposes, with WD Red being suitable for home computers and laptops and WD Gold being used in larger frames and enterprise servers and data centers.
- WD Red drives are available in 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch sizes, while WD Gold drives are only available in 3.5-inch sizes.
- WD Gold drives have a higher RPM of 7200 compared to WD Red drives’ 5400RPM.
- WD Gold drives have a larger cache ranging between 128-512MB, while WD Red drives have a 256MB cache.
- WD Gold drives have a higher data transfer rate of up to 269MB per second, while WD Red drives have a lower rate of 128MB per second.
- WD Red drives are more affordable, with prices ranging from $50-$300, while WD Gold drives are more expensive, ranging from $50-$1,000.
Western Digital (WD) has long been a major player in the drive and computer memory storage market. Their “color” series drives are among the best available. High-end users depend on WD Red drives, Gold drives, and other colored options for gaming, video surveillance, data backups, RAID storage arrays, servers, and data centers. Both WD Red and WD Gold offer significant features for numerous applications, but distinct and critical differences exist.
Let’s match Western Digital’s popular WD Red vs. Gold drives side by side to determine their differences and how they stack up against one another. After reviewing our comparison, you can choose which drive is the best option for your application. Here are the key differences to know before you buy a WD Red or Gold hard drive.
WD Red vs. Gold: Side-by-Side Comparison
|WD Red||WD Gold|
|Form Factor||2.5 and 3.5 inches||3.5 inches|
|MTBF||1 million hours||2.5 million hours|
|Transfer Rate||128MB per second||269MB per second|
|Power Consumption||4.8 watts||7 watts|
|Warranty||3 years||5 years|
|Designed Use||Storage and file sharing||Enterprise servers and data centers|
- Speeds up to 5400 RPM
- SATA 6 Gb/s
- 256MB cache
- 3.5-inch drive
Western Digital Red vs. Gold: What’s the Difference?
Computer drives may all seem alike in their features, and there is a wide range of brands and sizes available. A popular trend is to utilize portable SSDs instead of internal hard drives when more storage or backup space is needed. This can be a serious mistake for business users. External hard drives are also popular for quickly adding storage capacity.
Our focus here is comparing WD Red vs. Gold so you will know the key differences before you buy. Discerning buyers will recognize that there are several newer varieties of both the WD Red and WD Gold. Our evaluation compares the basic products and includes a range of features from the available options where possible.
Form Factor is simply the physical size of the drive. This determines what size drive you need to fit inside your computer’s drive bay. WD Red is widely used in home computers and laptops so it is available in 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch sizes. WD Gold is routinely used in larger frames and is only available in 3.5-inch sizes.
Western Digital drives come in numerous storage options. WD Red comes in 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, and 6TB storage capacities. WD Gold is used in far larger and more complex environments, so it is available in 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, 10TB, 12TB, 14TB, 16TB, 18TB, 20TB, and 22TB of storage capacity.
RPM means “revolutions per minute,” and it measures how many times the actual drive rotates in one minute. Faster RPM speeds mean faster data access and processing. WD Red and Gold come in at 5400RPM and 7200RPM, respectively.
Your drive’s cache is temporary storage that allows it to keep frequently used data close by for faster processing. A larger cache means the drive works faster and smoother. The WD Gold hard drive features caches ranging between 128-512MB depending on the capacity you choose. The WD Red has a 256MB cache that helps it handle most typical tasks with ease.
MTBF stands for “Mean Time Between Failures.” This rating measures design, performance, and the expected life of a drive. WD Gold drives boast a higher MTBF factor than Red (2.5 million hours) and can maintain up to a remarkable 550TB per year in sustained usage, so your enterprise network will be up and running longer with fewer issues. WD Red still has a respectable rating of 1 million hours, which is sufficient for home PCs or small businesses.
Data Transfer Rate
A drive’s transfer rate is really what tells you how hard and fast it works. The transfer rate is also what determines the drive’s best-use options. The WD Gold boasts a data transfer rate of up to 269MB per second, enabling it to perform more and faster operations on an enterprise level. WD Red’s lower rate of 128MB per second is better suited to lighter loads with more downtime in between.
Hard drive power consumption depends on how hard it must work. WD Red and Gold drives are not power-hungry and run at cool temperatures under normal loads. Red draws 4.8W and Gold draws 7W. The difference is attributed to Gold’s higher capacity and transfer rate for larger, more complex tasks.
The pricing for the entire range of WD Red drives is easily affordable for most home computer builders or small businesses. The basic WD Red falls between $50-$110, while the Plus and Pro can reach $200-$300.
WD Gold drives are more expensive than Red — and users get what they pay for. Different capacity Gold drives range from around $50 for 1TB to over $1000 for 22TB.
Western Digital is a top-of-the-line, reliable company that stands behind its products. WD Red and Gold warranties match their expected lifespans under normal use conditions. Red has a three-year warranty, and Gold has a five-year warranty.
The WD Red has remarkable reliability and a broad range of available capacities. It is best used for file storage and backups on network devices. They are commonly found in Redundant Array of Independent Discs (RAID) arrays and Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices for secure backups. Low power consumption and a reasonable range of available capacities mean there is a WD Red drive available for your needs.
Home computers and small businesses will do well with WD Red hard drives. They can handle the typical workload and storage demands without excessive heat, and the respectable operating cache and write speed mean few delays. Other WD Red options are the Red Plus and the Red Pro. Larger businesses with more demands on their network should upgrade to these.
The WD Gold is an enterprise drive. This higher-end drive is best for servers that endure grueling environments. It is available in high capacities to handle constant computing commands and higher sustained transfer speeds. The higher RPM and transfer speed do not draw considerably more power than the Red.
WD Opti NAND technology streamlines operations on the drive and the Armor Cache adds an extra layer of protection against data loss. Plus, additional Vibration Protection Technology improves performance and helps the drive last longer.
WD Red vs. Gold: 6 Must-Know Facts
- Red is better for home computers and small businesses. Gold is better for servers and data centers.
- Red offers capacities between two and six terabytes (TB). Gold offers a wider range, from one to 22 terabytes (TB).
- Red uses NASware 3.0 technology for great performance in RAID and NAS environments.
- Gold uses Opti NAND technology that streamlines driver performance for faster speeds and fewer errors.
- Gold features an Armor Cache to reduce the risk of data loss.
- WD Red’s warranty is three years, while WD Gold’s warranty is five years.
WD Red vs. Gold: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Choose?
Comparing WD Red vs. Gold reveals these two drives are very similar. Quality and construction separate them, but they each fit nicely into several intended usage scenarios. WD Gold offers more bang for your buck for just a few more bucks. WD Gold is an enterprise-type drive with a slightly better warranty than WD Red.
Enterprises and larger businesses will benefit from the Gold drive in their data centers and servers due to the excellent longevity, faster write speeds, and additional technologies to help prevent errors and data loss. When your servers cannot afford to go down, depend on WD Gold to keep your high-end computing technologies running at the speed of business.
Smaller businesses and home computer or laptop builders will find the WD Red series of drives provide everything they need at a more affordable price. Respectable write speeds and capacities fit most every smaller user’s needs for education, gaming, storage, and security.
Beyond these considerations, the primary differences come down to capacity and price. WD Red vs. Gold offer a range of each, with Gold boasting a larger range of capacities.
- $79.40Buy on Amazon
- Speeds up to 5400 RPM
- SATA 6 Gb/s
- 256MB cache
- 3.5-inch drive
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.11/28/2023 05:52 am GMT
The image featured at the top of this post is ©zentilia/Shutterstock.com.