I've been been recommending WD easystore 8TB drives as the go to purchase for the past couple of years because they've been the bargain buy at <$160 in the US (currently hovering around $140 on sale.Plus those with with part #tWDBCKA0080HBK-NESN (vs WDBCKA0080HBK-NEBB) until at last the end of last year almost guaranteed that you'd get a WD Red NAS drives, some red label and others white label.
I've been recommending removing the drives from the external and using as in internal drive or high quality external case or drive dock. Especially as cheap way to fill a NAS server.
However, I just read that as of sometime early in 2018, the Red label WD Reds were no longer used and no one's exactly sure what the new drives are. Relabeled WD Reds (as in the case last year), HGST, or something else in WD's lineup, maybe Green? FYI, unless WD has changed their manufacturing line (unlikely), there is no special run of drives for use in externals. Here's a good Reddit post about the different label types: https://www.reddit.com/r/DataHoarder/comments/7fx0i0/wd_easystore_8tb_compendium/
The other minor (for most) issue is that all the new white label drive use the 3.3V line on the SATA connector to reset the drive and without the additional power line, the drive may constantly reset and never spin up completely. Not an issue for most users, but some power supplies may not support this (which is a part of the SATA power specs). There are a number of fixes discussed in the Reddit link above with the worst case scenario being a new power supply.
That said, 8TB externals are still the cost per TB buy (at less than $20/TB) and since Best Buy had a 10TB WD external for $180 on Black Friday, I expect they're be next year's hot buy. Also, if you have a Best Buy business account, 8TB easystore externals are currently $125 ($139 for regular customers) and there's speculation this may be the new low price point.
I didn't buy any new drives this year because I stocked up last year. I just opened up the last two of my drives from last year and they're both red label WD Red NAS. I'm swapping them out with some 6TB drives that are in use and put those aside as spares.
Edit: I just noticed that the drives with the WD Red labels (ending in FAX) are made in Thailand and have a different case (there's a strip of metal and bottom), label and PCB (this isn't unusual since it's a different model number), than the internal WD Red. The white label drives ( are made in China and are identical to the internal WD Reds except for the white label (eding in ZZX*). So best guess is that the Red labels are directly off the regular RED manufacturing line (an overrun) and the white labels possibly a pull off the regular line, possibly seconds, after failing some test parameter. In either case, I haven't read anything that's they're different from other RED drives with the exception of some requiring the additional 3.3V line.
*I think this was a replacement drive for my RMA
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Last edited by lingyi; 5th Dec 2018 at 22:23. Reason: Additional info
It is possible WD White labeled the drives to prevent resellers from undercutting the market.
I have also read that the newer Easystore/Element 8TB drives are Air rather than Helium. But I don't know if this is a good or bad thing. I would think Air would have a longer life than Helium, since Helium drives will leak after 10 - 20 years.
Seagate external 8TB drives have dropped to $149. Are they more reliable than the WD 8TB?
AFAIK, other than the first 6TB and 8TB drives and some enterprise drives from WD and Seagate, helium isn't used in any mainline 8TB drives. Its use returned with 10TB and 12TB drives (my 10TB WD Gold drives are helium), and will likely continue to the upcoming 14TB and 16TB HDDs.
Never heard about the helium drives leaking, please provide a link to your source for that. In any case, in 10 years, Ill have migrated everything to larger drives.
I can't speak to the reliability of 8TB Seagate drives as for the past 2 years I've bought only WD drives (over 2 dozen) because of price, both internal and external. I do have 3-4 Seagate 8TB archive drives from when they were first introduced, both internal and removed from their cases and *knock wood* they're still going, though power on use is light, maybe 6-8 hours, 2-3 times a week max. And since they're all out of warranty, they'll be assigned to archive backup soon.
Edit: I doubt the white labels are to prevent resale as the large volume discount on HDDs is very small. Cloud provider Backblaze has stated in their blog that sometimes the per drive cost of a bulk order of 1000 drives is more than retail. In fact, shortly after the Seagate Archive drives began showing up in externals, they bought a small number of them because they were cheaper than the bare drives. BTW, the drives didn't fare well in the high heat, high vibration environment the were put in.
There's actually a company called White Label that sells drives made for OEM builders that are either overstock, returns or refurbs. They're not much cheaper, $10-20 less at most than branded drives. I actually had a generic white label drive and the label underneath was visible (it was a WD Green). It was a 4TB and didn't die, I just swapped out (gave to my friend to sell) almost all of my 4TB drives (I have two left in use) last year for larger drives.
Last edited by lingyi; 6th Dec 2018 at 20:47.