Blue, Black, Red, Purple, Gold, and Green are all colors used by Western Digital (WD) to represent different types of internal hard drives and SSDs. Let’s say you’re building a computer, setting up a RAID array, looking for a replacement for a damaged drive, or just looking to expand your system’s current storage. How can you determine which color disc is best for your task? This article should help you understand the WD color differentiation so you can make the right choice. Since not all drives are the same, you need to buy a device that is designed to handle the amount of data and usage that you need.
WD Blue: General Purpose Drives for Personal Computers
2.5″ SSD WD Blue 3D NAND SATA III 1TB. Source: bhphotovideo.com
The blue series is designed for the widest range of applications. For gaming, high-definition video or creative applications, choose the WD Blue 3D NAND SATA III, available as a 1TB 2.5”/7mm or M.2 2280 SATA III SSD. WD Blue SSDs offer a maximum capacity of up to 4TB, sequential read speeds of up to 560MB/s, sequential write speeds of up to 530MB/s, a Mean Time Between Failures (MTTF) of 1.75 million hours, and the total amount of data that can be write to the drive (TBW – Total Bytes Written) in 600 terabytes.
WD Blue 1TB 2.5″ 5400RPM (SATA III) Mobile Hard Drive
Another option in the blue range is the WD Blue 5400 RPM 2.5″ SATA III hard drives. These drives are used in internal computer bays and external hard drive enclosures and offer features designed for everyday tasks. The range is available in memory sizes from 320 GB to 2 TB: For 3.5″ internal bays, the WD 500GB Blue 3.5″ will fit, providing a sustained transfer rate of 150MB/s and 64MB of cache, making it suitable for storing UHD 4K video at 30fps. and 3.5″ WD Blue drives have a 5400 or 7200 RPM spindle speed, and are inferior in performance to SSDs from the same WD Blue line. However, they are cheaper and, in general, can handle most tasks, including games.
WD Black: Ultimate performance for desktops and laptops
Hard drive Western Digital WD Black 3.5″ 7200RPM 1TB
Let’s move on to a more advanced black line – WD Black. Drives are available as 3.5” and 2.5” hard drives and NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSDs. 3.5” drives (WD Black Performance Desktop Hard Drives) are designed for desktop computers, and are suitable for power users, creative professionals, system builders who need high performance for storing large multimedia files, photo and video, or a game library. These 7200 RPM drives provide transfer rates from 150 to 227 MB/s and cache sizes from 64 to 256 MB.
2.5” WD Black Performance Mobile Hard Drives provide the speed needed by creative professionals, gamers, and system builders suitable for photo/video processing and online gaming. Designed specifically for smaller systems, laptops and Macs, they retain the same 7200 RPM speed as the larger 3.5” models. It should be noted that WD Black hard drives are not designed for use in network-attached storage (NAS), RAID, or other multi-bay storage arrays.
SSD WD Black PCI-E x4 500GB M.2 2280
The latest member of this family, the WD Black SN750 NMVe SSD, delivers top performance for gamers and other users who require high read and write speeds. The drives are available in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB, and models are sold with or without a pre-installed heatsink. It is a good choice for expanding your game library, as well as storing large media files, including photos and videos. These SSDs come in M.2 2280 form factor with PCIe 3.0 x4 interface and use the NVMe protocol. They use a proprietary 64-layer 3D NAND flash memory, their sequential read speed reaches 3400MB / s, and the sequential write speed is up to 2900MB / s, the MTBF is 1.75 million hours, and the total amount of data that can be written per drive (TBW) is 1200 terabytes.
The next three lines – Red, Purple and Gold – are designed for special applications. Of course, they can be used for more general tasks, but their power is likely to be excessive for everyday use.
WD Red: for NAS
WD Red NAS Edition 1TB 3.5″ hard drive (SATA-III)
The WD Red line is available in 3.5” hard drives, 2.5” hard drives, and 2.5” and M.2 2280 SATA SSDs. 3.5″ and 2.5″ hard drives are designed for home and small office network storage with 1-8 bays. Designed to handle increased workloads, WD Red drives feature a SATA III 6Gb/s interface, up to 512MB cache, 5400 RPM, up to 210MB/s data transfer, 600,000 load/unload cycles, operating load is 180TB per year, and the number of unrecoverable read errors is less than 1 in 1014 bits. These devices are equipped with error recovery capabilities and have a MTBF of 1 million hours. WD Red devices are built-in noise and vibration protection, and also uses proprietary NASware 3.0 technology.
WD Red 500GB SA500 SATA III M.2 Internal NAS SSD. Source: bhphotovideo.com
The 2.5″ and M.2 2280 form factor SSDs are designed and tested for 24/7 use, and their TBW and caching efficiency make them ideal for demanding applications and multi-user environments, 3D rendering, 4K editing, and 8K video, etc. Through the use of 3D NAND flash memory, users achieve up to 560MB/s sequential read speed, up to 530MB/s sequential write speed, 2 million hour MTBF, less than 1 in 1017 bits of unrecoverable read errors, and total data that can be written to the drive (TBW) is 2500TB.
Small and medium businesses should consider WD Red Pro. Designed for medium to large NAS sizes up to 16 3.5” bays, Red Pro units are available in capacities up to 14TB. The rotation speed is 7200 RPM, the data transfer rate is up to 255MB/s, and the cache size is up to 512MB. The drives are rated for 600,000 load/unload cycles, have a 1 million hour MTBF, are equipped with dual-plane balancing technology, multi-axis shock sensor and WD NASware 3.0 technology. With 7200 RPM speed, high data transfer rate and high reliability, WD Red Pro devices can also be used to edit large video files.
WD Purple (Purple): for video surveillance systems
Hard drive WD Purple 3TB 3.5″ (SATA-III)
Do you need a video surveillance system? Then the WD Purple Purple series is the right choice, allowing you to work with a system of up to 64 cameras. Available in capacities up to 12TB, these drives meet the specialized requirements of 24/7 CCTV, DVR and NVR systems.
As is the case with other drives, the choice of drives in the Purple line depends on your needs. Some are suitable for arrays up to 8 bays, while others are designed for 8+ and 16+ bay arrays. Some have 5400 RPM, some have 7200 RPM. WD Purple models with AllFrame 4K technology support up to 180 TB per year, and WD Purple models with AllFrame AI technology up to 360 TB per year to support deep learning analytics used in NVR systems using AI algorithms supporting up to 32 threads.
WD Purple drives use a 3.5” form factor, SATA III 6 Gb/s interface, provide data transfer rates up to 255 MB/s, cache up to 512 MB, 300,000 load/unload cycles, and an MTBF of 1.5 million hours.
WD Gold (Gold): for the most powerful load
WD 12TB Ultrastar 7200RPM SATA 3.5” Internal Data Center HDD
WD Gold drives, also known as UltraStar Data Center HDDs, are designed for large servers and large businesses. They can withstand loads up to 550 TB per year, which is 10 times higher than standard desktop drives. The Gold Series uses advanced technologies for energy efficiency, reliability and enterprise-level performance.
Drives are available in sizes up to 12TB. They come in a 3.5″ form factor with SATA III 6Gb/s interface, 7200 RPM, up to 267MB/s sustained transfer rate and up to 512MB cache. These models are designed for 24/7 operation. 7 with a mean time between failures of 2.5 million hours, with an annual failure rate (AFR) of 0.35%, they are rated for 600,000 download / upload cycles, and the number of unrecoverable errors is 1 in 1015. WD Gold can be used for video editing , work in surveillance systems and many other tasks, but are likely to be too advanced for most user tasks.
WD Green: low power entry level
SSD WD Green SATA III 240GB 2.5″
The WD Green Series is available as 2.5” and M.2 2280 SATA III SSDs. Designed for quiet, low-power operation in laptops and desktops, the WD Green range provides the performance and reliability you need for everyday user tasks. The drives are available in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB and 1TB capacities, with sequential write speeds of up to 545MB/s and MTBF of 1 million hours.
We hope that after reading this material, you were able to better understand which WD line is more suitable for your tasks. At the same time, be careful, as there are also differences within the rulers: individual models can be optimized for more intensive workloads or for operation in arrays with more or less bays.
* when preparing the article, materials from the resource bhphotovideo.com were used.