Western Digital Addresses the WD Red SMR Controversy

Source: Western Digital Western Digital Addresses the WD Red SMR Controversy

It turns out implementing SMR technology in WD Red drives is a big deal

In the wake of media coverage from the likes of Ars Technica on the subject, Western Digital has provided an update on the SMR (shingled magnetic recording) controversy in a blog post entitled “On WD Red NAS Drives” this week. The post, in its entirety, is quoted below.

Western Digital’s Blog Post

The past week has been eventful, to say the least. As a team, it was important that we listened carefully and understood your feedback about our WD Red NAS drives, specifically how we communicated which recording technologies are used. Your concerns were heard loud and clear. Here is that list of our client internal HDDs available through the channel:

Western Digital Addresses the WD Red SMR Controversy - Storage 2

Click here for SKUs to our client internal HDDs using SMR technology.

We’re committed to providing the information that can help make an informed buying decision for as many uses as possible. Thank you for letting us know how we can do better. We will update our marketing materials, as well as provide more information about SMR technology, including benchmarks and ideal use cases.

Again, we know you entrust your data to our products, and we don’t take that lightly. If you have purchased a drive, please call our customer care if you are experiencing performance or any other technical issues. We will have options for you. We are here to help.

More to come.


We could speculate on how that final sentence, “more to come”, should be interpreted, though it seems that being transparent about a given drive’s technology (for those willing to look for the information) is about all consumers can expect for now.

In any case I am not exactly alone in thinking that, of all series, the WD Red should never have been the one to adopt SMR. Like so many, the staff here have been recommending WD Red drives for years as the best choice to populate a NAS, and now we must add conditions to that recommendation.

This is an unfortunate situation for a brand that has long inspired confidence. And while in number the PC hardware community is but a fraction of the public at large, the vocal minority who have decried this move are also the most influential to the less technical friends and family around us.

Sure SMR saves money on a per-drive basis, but brand equity might be worth a bit more.

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About The Author

Sebastian Peak

Editor-in-Chief at PC Perspective. Writer of computer stuff, vintage PC nerd, and full-time dad. Still in search of the perfect smartphone. In his nonexistent spare time Sebastian's hobbies include hi-fi audio, guitars, and road bikes. Currently investigating time travel.


  1. Michael Scrip

    Phew… I’ve got three 8TB WD Reds in my NAS right now… and I need one more.

    It looks like the 8TB drives are all good.

    Thank you for posting this!

  2. ipkh

    Guess their response boils down to – Don’t shuck our DAS enclosures for Red NAS drives.
    No longer content to just muck with power detection they have now introduced performance penalties to the process.

  3. RobIII

    If anyone is interested: I ran into the same issue, 7 WD Red drives (WD60EFAX) with sub-par performance. I have contacted WD about it and am documenting the entire ordeal as the story unfolds. You can read about it here: http://riii.me/wd60efax

  4. WayneJetSki

    I have only purchased WD Reds for my NAS, (and other uses). They should never have been the one to adopt SMR. I dont feel like I can really trust WD after this. I will have to look elsewhere with my next hard drive purchases for me any my business.

    I would have totally been fine with SMR if WD had disclosed that information (SMR vs. CMR) on their spec. sheet from the get go. I cant trust a company trying to hoodwink its customers.


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