Western Digital admits drives do use shingled magnetic recording

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by DeltaOne, Apr 19, 2020.

  1. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    Western Digital (and probably Toshiba and Seagate) have been shipping drives that use shingled magnetic recording (SMR) and leaving the fact off of their product and usage guides.

    There is lots of talk around here about using perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) drives in our TiVos. But it seems WD (and maybe Toshiba and Seagate) are shipping SMR drives and hiding the fact from us.

    More info here: Western Digital admits 2TB-6TB WD Red NAS drives use shingled magnetic recording – Blocks and Files

    And here: Seagate 'submarines' SMR into 3 Barracuda drives and a Desktop HDD – Blocks and Files

    And here: Shingled hard drives have non-shingled zones for caching writes – Blocks and Files

    Western Digital is saying these drives use "Drive Managed SMR" meaning the drive itself manages garbage collection and TRIM. They say the drives should be fine in any use except heavy duty enterprise situations. In normal use the drive will manage itself during idle times.
     
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  2. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

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    Almost all current model archive and desktop drives of any size are SMR as far as I know. I had HEARD WD 6TB reds, some are SMR. WD WILL NOT tell you if a model is SMR, even if you call, it is against policy (ie who the heck would buy one if they have a choice). You can fool them, you can ask about a feature that requires SMR, tell them you want to use that feature, then they have to tell you, you are kind of pretending you WANT an SMR drive. Most of this I knew already, the scary part is some Reds are SMR now, thought buying one of the more expensive "specialty" drives was safe, not so I guess................................. FYI current WD blues and Seagate desktop and regular (not pro) barracudas are SMR, from what I have read.
     
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  3. kschauwe

    kschauwe Member

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    Bowling...
    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Worf

    Worf Well-Known Member

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    Easy - SMR drives cost less money because they're cheaper to make. SMR increases recording density and thus to get your higher densities you use less platters which are cheaper to make, cheaper to build and requires less calibration and testing.

    People will buy SMR drives because they can see on the shelf it's 10% or more cheaper than the equivalent drive. That was the whole point of doing SMR in the first place - it's cheaper. In a price sensitive commodity market, price rapidly becomes the sole differentiator

    Of course, people will also pay for better - the average home user might only care about saving that 10% because the computer is barely used, but savvier users will spend the extra money to buy better.

    The reason for the anger is simple - those savvier users were expecting to buy one thing and were deceived. Doesn't matter if they saved money - ooh a drive is sale! - it's they expected it to be the same as other product.

    I have nothing against SMR - I have a few of them I use (and they are great for workloads that are mostly reads - like video storage, so if you have a ton of rips and such, they are cheap ideal storage) but I like to know because SMR drives have specific workloads they're great at, and other workloads they're just terrible at. And I'd rather pay 20% for a drive that fits the workload better than save it getting a poorly suited SMR drive.
     
  5. BigJimOutlaw

    BigJimOutlaw Well-Known Member

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    I like using 3.5" WD Red drives for Tivo upgrades. These are safe ones to go with:

    1TB: WD10EFRX
    2TB: WD20EFRX
    3TB: WD30EFRX
    4TB: WD40EFRX
    8TB: WD80EFAX
    10TB: WD100EFAX
    12TB: WD120EFAX

    ggieseke's MFSR tool currently goes to 8TB but a beta version goes higher.

    Avoid "EFAX" Red drives between 2-6 TB; those are the low-key SMR Red drives they snuck in.

    Red Pro drives are also safe, but they are 7200rpm so unnecessarily noisier, hotter and pricier.

    If you prefer Seagate, their Ironwolf NAS drives are all normal.

    2.5" drives still seem unclear. 3+TB drives aren't being made anymore, and now just about any 2 TB drive will be SMR. SMR drives apparently aren't ALL bad, Tivo uses them in the Edge, but those specific drives aren't available in the retail channel. It's hard to know what's DVR-friendly. It'd almost be safer doing an external HDD mod.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
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  6. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    So what are people using/recommending for Bolt 2.5 inch replacement/upgrade drives?
     
  7. Rugged Ron

    Rugged Ron Member

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    I put a WD Blue 2.5" 2TB drive in my Bolt in February and it lasted 7 weeks. I replaced with a Toshiba. We'll see how long it lasts. The original 3TB drive, don't remember the brand, lasted 18 months.
     
  8. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

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    So it's not just some 2-6TB Reds that are SMR? Current model Red 8,10,12TB are EFAX from what I see, does that mean they are SMR? I don't see any EFRX models for 8/10/12TB. Seems this EFAX/EFRX started with those 6TB models. I think for TIVOS I'm going to avoid Reds, am unsure what is going on. Purple, Black or Gold for current model WD drives (DEFINITELY not a Blue for a Tivo). A generic recommendation for a WD Red is not valid anymore I think, have to be specific with model numbers also. Far as I know a Purple is a Purple, Black is Black, Gold is Gold, no variations/possible SMR slipped in. As I mentioned Weakness uses Purple for an external Bolt upgrade (at least a 3TB upgrade), they know what they are doing IMO.

    Update, I see the 2.5" 1TB BLACK is listed as SMR. The lower capacity 2.5 Blacks CMR and all the current 3.5 Blacks CMR. I can't believe ANY WD Black would be SMR, that is one of their super premium 5 year warranty drives. Then again I did not think any of the Reds would be switched to SMR either. Black was sacred though..................
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
  9. MScottC

    MScottC Well-Known Member

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    Several questions here... How do I check if a drive in a Synology NAS has this? What is the implications of this SMR? and how does this affect my using one in the aforementioned NAS?

    The other drive is a WD Gold. I had ordered 2 Reds, Amazon sent one Red and one Gold of a larger size.
     
  10. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

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    Well I was talking about for Tivo applications since this is a Tivo group. There are applications where SMR is fine and cheaper so ok. But not for Tivos I think, 24/7 A/V application. No more Reds for me for Tivos, already have 8TB EMAZ/10TB EMAZ/12TB EMFZ? and have been having issues, I THOUGHT they were PMR, now not so sure.
     
  11. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    The chart above, and here: https://blog.westerndigital.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2020_04_22_WD_SMR_SKUs_1Slide.pdf

    ...lists SMR drives. At the bottom it says "all other" drives use CMR.

    You don't want a SMR drive in your TiVo. Any WD Red with the EFAX designation is a SMR drive. And you don't want a SMR drive in a NAS (think Synology or Qnap).

    The other manufacturers are also hiding which drives use SMR versus CMR. So one needs to do some research before purchasing a new hard disk.

    I've read that the WD Red "Pro" and Seagate IronWolf drives are safe to use. They are CMR. They also cost more.

    I bought five WD Reds for a new Synology NAS about a month ago. By pure luck I got all EFRX drives, which use CMR. I dodged a bullet there.
     
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  12. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

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    But it specifically says the 2.3.4.6TB EFAX Reds are SMR. And says any capacity not listed is CMR. In that case not ALL EFAX would be SMR, only the 2,3,4,6TB?
     
  13. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

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    IMO the reason so many people here recommend the WD Red is because a lot of people doing upgrades (including me) found the Easystores could be shucked to get a WD Red. For 30-40% less than a retail Red. And they worked, because they were PMR (CMR). But that has changed somewhat. Some Reds are now SMR (some 2,3,4,6TB). I think if someone wants to buy a retail WD drive for a TIVO a Purple or Gold would be best. Retail price for a Purple is about the same as a Red I think. Gold most expensive but has 5 year warranty compared to 3 for purple/red. I don't think a NAS firmware drive is the BEST solution for a Tivo upgrade though it may work. Stick with Purple or Gold if you like WD (I would have said Black also but I see the 1TB 2.5 current model Black is SMR, should be ok with any of the 3.5 Blacks). For now...............................
     
  14. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    My understanding is that WD Red EFAX drives from 2 to 6 TB are SMR. The PDF chart says "all other capacity points" are CMR. I believe my EFRX 4TB drives are CMR.
     
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  15. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

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    I take it they were 2-6TB? I don't see any EFRX 8TB and up models.
     
  16. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

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    Ah ok, you answered my question while I was typing it ;)
     
  17. BigJimOutlaw

    BigJimOutlaw Well-Known Member

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    EFAX drives are SMR. As long as people pay attention to the model number they're getting and make sure it's the older EFRX, they're fine. If you want capacity that's 6TB or higher, Red Pros are also reportedly safe.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
  18. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

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    Well according to WD only the 2,3,4,6 EFAX Reds are SMR. They say any other capacity drives are CMR (only the specific drives on the chart are SMR, according to WD.) And there is no 8/10/12TB EFRX. So a bit of a quandry, according to WD ALL current 8TB and up Reds are CMR. But the quandry can be solved if for a new purchase, just buy a Purple or Gold if you like WD. I will not be buying any Reds for a Tivo period, 6TB and under COULD search for the specific EFRX, 8TB and up unsure though WD says say CMR.

    From WD (note, they say "consider our products DESIGNED FOR INTENSIVE WORKLOADS (ie Tivo IMO), they say Red Pro or Gold, I'd assume Purple too though they don't list it specifically. They also say data intensity of typical small business/home NAS is intermittent, ie the SMR Reds should be ok.)

    "April 20, 2020

    Recently, there has been a discussion regarding the recording technology used in some of our WD Red hard disk drives (HDDs). We regret any misunderstanding and want to take a few minutes to discuss the drives and provide some additional information.

    WD Red HDDs are ideal for home and small businesses using NAS systems. They are great for sharing and backing up files using one to eight drive bays and for a workload rate of 180 TB a year. We’ve rigorously tested this type of use and have been validated by the major NAS providers.

    We typically specify the designed-for use cases and performance parameters and don’t always talk about what’s under the hood. One of those innovations is Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) technology.

    SMR is tested and proven technology that enables us to keep up with the growing volume of data for personal and business use. We are continuously innovating to advance it. SMR technology is implemented in different ways – drive-managed SMR (DMSMR), on the device itself, as in the case of our lower capacity (2TB – 6TB) WD Red HDDs, and host-managed SMR, which is used in high-capacity data center applications. Each implementation serves a different use case, ranging from personal computing to some of the largest data centers in the world.

    DMSMR is designed to manage intelligent data placement within the drive, rather than relying on the host, thus enabling a seamless integration for end users. The data intensity of typical small business/home NAS workloads is intermittent, leaving sufficient idle time for DMSMR drives to perform background data management tasks as needed and continue an optimal performance experience for users.

    WD Red HDDs have for many years reliably powered home and small business NAS systems around the world and have been consistently validated by major NAS manufacturers. Having built this reputation, we understand that, at times, our drives may be used in system workloads far exceeding their intended uses. Additionally, some of you have recently shared that in certain, more data intensive, continuous read/write use cases, the WD Red HDD-powered NAS systems are not performing as you would expect.

    If you are encountering performance that is not what you expected, please consider our products designed for intensive workloads. These may include our WD Red Pro or WD Gold drives, or perhaps an Ultrastar drive. Our customer care team is ready to help and can also determine which product might be best for you.

    We know you entrust your data to our products, and we don’t take that lightly. If you have purchased a WD Red 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.
     
  19. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    Yeah. 4 TB.
     
  20. BigJimOutlaw

    BigJimOutlaw Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I've spent time tweaking my post to be a bit more comprehensive since I wasn't initially factoring in those who might want even higher capacity drives than the 2-4 TB people seem to go for.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020

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