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12TB Elements for $175

danb35

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At Amazon, Newegg, and B&H. See:

Looks like it may be today only, in which case this post is probably too late.
 

elorimer

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Back on for $175 for Amazon Prime Day.
 

elorimer

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Yes, back on sale today only at $175, effectively $166 with an Amazon credit card (and under $14/tb). I think the 14tb BB for $190 is a better bet

EDIT: I'm a bad judge of things. The 10s sold out but the 14s didn't.
 
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elorimer

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jgreco

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I was amused that Best Buy is selling the 12TB and 14TB for the same price.
 

elorimer

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The 10TB are again $150 at Newegg today.
 

rmccullough

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I know the general recommendation is that NAS specific drives (e.g. WD Red, Seagate Ironwolf) should be used.

However, the NAS specific drives rarely go on sale and these drives in enclosures offer quite a bit of value.

For a home server (not mission critical production or work related) it would seem that the value of these drives may make it worth the inconvenience of replacing them.

Does anyone know what kind of longevity I could expect from these drives? I am looking to replace 9 x 2TB with 6 x 10-14TB. This would be a much needed increase in home storage space (only have about 2.5TB left).
 

jgreco

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I know the general recommendation is that NAS specific drives (e.g. WD Red, Seagate Ironwolf) should be used.
If you say so. I would say the general recommendation is to avoid SMR drives, and if you are sensitive to your I/O pausing, avoid drives without functional TLER/ERC.

However, the NAS specific drives rarely go on sale and these drives in enclosures offer quite a bit of value.
The drives inside enclosures are typically white label NAS drives. The drives marketed towards the PC world, gamers and home users, are usually fairly low capacity disks, and as SSD prices have fallen, that has eaten away at the market for such drives. Most of the remaining disks are near-line capacity disks, and NAS disks -- both large capacity disks.

For a home server (not mission critical production or work related) it would seem that the value of these drives may make it worth the inconvenience of replacing them.

Does anyone know what kind of longevity I could expect from these drives? I am looking to replace 9 x 2TB with 6 x 10-14TB. This would be a much needed increase in home storage space (only have about 2.5TB left).
Hard drives typically have a five to eight year service life. There are certain factors that can contribute to early demise. Misusing a SMR drive for heavy small-block-write applications, failing to disable the idle timer on a disk with aggressive "green" spindown, resulting in an explosion of Load Cycle Count, cooking drives with inadequate airflow, using them in a highly humid environment, or banging on them with a hammer while they're running. It is also possible to get a disk where manufacturing defects destroy it; I have the clear glass platters from a Deathstar hanging in my office.

If your question was actually "what sort of longevity should I expect from shucked drives as compared to retail drives", the answer is "why would you expect them to be different?"

There have been accusations slung about for years that USB drives are "binned drives" - where drives that did not quite pass the strict quality controls got sold as externals instead. While that may be, it is also quite possible that it's just a matter of market differentiation. There is a shrinking market for hard drives, and large capacity disks are one of the last remaining strongholds for now. Selling as many as they can, even if they are unable to squeeze full retail prices out of the USB versions, may make good business sense. However, USB drives are not expected to be significantly less reliable than retail drives. People wouldn't buy them if they had a tendency to die.
 

elorimer

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where drives that did not quite pass the strict quality controls got sold as externals instead
Except this part may be true: the drives in the WD externals seem to be 7200rpm drives derated to 5400; spinning that fast but not rated that way.
 

jgreco

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Except this part may be true: the drives in the WD externals seem to be 7200rpm drives derated to 5400; spinning that fast but not rated that way.
Or it could simply be that they know heat kills in external enclosures, and slowed the drive down because the intended application is storage of large files, where you wouldn't really notice if the drive was 3600RPM.
 

elorimer

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Or it could simply be that they know heat kills in external enclosures, and slowed the drive down because the intended application is storage of large files, where you wouldn't really notice if the drive was 3600RPM.
That's the thing, I don't think they actually slowed the drive down. This all got discovered because the sonic signature didn't match the rating.
 

Constantin

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Exactly, someone did a acoustic analysis of the harmonics coming out of these so-called "5400-RPM class" drives, and found them to be spinning at 7,200RPM, confirming the worst of all worlds, i.e. drives that combine the higher energy consumption + heat, faster wear, and increased noise of a 7,200 RPM drive with the lower performance of a 5,400 RPM drive. Presumably, there are some specific firmware slowdowns built in.

As far as lifetime goes, I'd wager an ice cream sandwich that any drive in one of my enclosures will last longer than in the USB enclosure it came out of. Between a lack of spindowns, proper air flow, and infrequent (if at all) physical drive movement, shucked drives live a life of luxury compared to the sweat shops we pull them out of.
 
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NobleKangaroo

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Exactly, someone did a acoustic analysis of the harmonics coming out of these so-called "5400-RPM class" drives, and found them to be spinning at 7,200RPM, confirming the worst of all worlds, i.e. drives that combine the higher energy consumption + heat, faster wear, and increased noise of a 7,200 RPM drive with the lower performance of a 5,400 RPM drive. Presumably, there are some specific firmware slowdowns built in.

As far as lifetime goes, I'd wager an ice cream sandwich that any drive in one of my enclosures will last longer than in the USB enclosure it came out of. Between a lack of spindowns, proper air flow, and infrequent (if at all) physical drive movement, shucked drives live a life of luxury compared to the sweat shops we pull them out of.
I'm suspecting the same is true for the 10TB Elements now as well. I recently picked up a batch of 4 off Amazon and ended up returning them because they're clearly inferior products, despite the more recent price point actually being higher than when I bought mine back in 2018/2019. Nowadays, they're WD101EMAZ instead of WD100EMAZ (no longer helium filled). My previously purchased WD100EMAZ devices run between 29°C and 32°C in my environment, whereas these newer WD101EMAZ devices run between 35°C and 38°C, representing a difference of +3°C to +9°C. They actually run so warm that adjacent drives have increased SMART readings.

I did pick up a single 10TB Easystore from Best Buy last week before they went out of stock which is thankfully still a WD100EMAZ, so we're good there (at least for the short term, provided Best Buy continues to get those in stock). I would bet that in the near future, however, Easystore will follow the same fate.

One could argue "that's the risk you take when you shuck drives", but the same issue would exist for a customer who used them as USB drives, in pursuit of their expectation the drive would perform the same and generate the same amount of heat and noise as previously purchased drives; this simply isn't the case. I'm just unhappy that Western Digital decided to market them with the same ASIN/product details, despite being an obviously different product. At least give them a different name or something. :rolleyes:
 
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rmccullough

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So how can you check if you have the WD100EMAZ vs WD101EMAZ? Do you need to open the case and inspect the physical drive? Or is this done by plugging the enclosure in via USB and running an analysis tool?

I feel so lost now. I would like to upgrade my storage without dropping $1500-$2000.
 

Constantin

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I doubt you can deduce that from the outside because the USB interface can get in the way. At least on my Mac, getting at SMART data usually requires access to a SATA or eSATA interface. Perhaps it's easier on the PC or Linux boxes? Can you run a SMART diagnostic on those drives?

Additionally, the power needs of the drive should tell the story re: helium vs. no helium, as long as someone has made those measurements in the past with the drives in their enclosures. Air-filled drives should consume more power, run hotter, etc.

Long, sustained writes should also be helpful to detect SMR drives, if that's a question.
 

BR14

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I doubt you can deduce that from the outside because the USB interface can get in the way. At least on my Mac, getting at SMART data usually requires access to a SATA or eSATA interface. Perhaps it's easier on the PC or Linux boxes? Can you run a SMART diagnostic on those drives?

Additionally, the power needs of the drive should tell the story re: helium vs. no helium, as long as someone has made those measurements in the past with the drives in their enclosures. Air-filled drives should consume more power, run hotter, etc.

Long, sustained writes should also be helpful to detect SMR drives, if that's a question.
CrystalDiskInfo for Windows should show the Smart data on PC. WD has diagnostics both for Windows and Mac.
Helium drives show extra attribute (16h I believe.)
 

Constantin

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Helium is #22 in the smartctl output. See this article on how to identify helium drives also visually (once you have shucked them). However the mere presence of #22 is allegedly enough to confirm a helium mechanism. If helium is not present, #22 won't show a reading.

I'm glad you guys can SMART tests over USB via Windows. On the Mac, it's not so easy. The SMART utilities I have used here have not worked over USB, even with a system patch applied. Hence my preference to use eSATA when I can, even though my backup arrays seem to finish their backup tasks faster via USB than eSATA (in terms of less time and higher throughout).
 

droeders

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Perhaps it's easier on the PC or Linux boxes? Can you run a SMART diagnostic on those drives?
On Linux, you can get the SMART data from many USB drives by specifying the type as SATA using the '-d' option, for example:

smartctl -d sat -a /dev/sdb
 

BR14

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Helium is #22 in the smartctl output. See this article on how to identify helium drives also visually (once you have shucked them). However the mere presence of #22 is allegedly enough to confirm a helium mechanism. If helium is not present, #22 won't show a reading.

I'm glad you guys can SMART tests over USB via Windows. On the Mac, it's not so easy. The SMART utilities I have used here have not worked over USB, even with a system patch applied. Hence my preference to use eSATA when I can, even though my backup arrays seem to finish their backup tasks faster via USB than eSATA (in terms of less time and higher throughout).
That is what happens when one trusts the manufacturers - I just assumed that the Mac version of the software works on Mac. While it might be too much hussle, you could try one of the live Windows disks. I use MediCat USB, which is huge, but "should" boot on Intel-based hardware (it will definitely boot on your SM box if you can afford some downtime.) Also, Seagate used to publish a bootable ISO with their utilities, though it probably is no more reliable than their drives.
 
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