Best modern equivalent of these drives to upgrade my RAID?

Cyber Akuma

Limp Gawd
Jan 3, 2009
Back in 2012 I setup a hardware RAID5 using four 3TB WD Red drives, I have had to RMA one of them since so it's a slightly different drive.

Anyway, I am planning to upgrade it to a RAID6 and add a SSD cache, so I want to get another drive that matches what I already have as closely as possible. I know I can't get the exact same model, but I want to know what is basically the modern equivalent of these models. Especially since apparently the WD Reds of 2012 are not the same thing as buying a WD Red today and there is that whole SMR/CMR issue which wasn't a thing back when I got these drives:

There isn't a speed listed on them, but from what I can tell looking up the old model number, apparently they are 5400RPM drives? (Could I have sworn I used 7200) with a 64MB cache and are CMR.

What would be the best modern equivalent of these drives today? I wouldn't want to get something that impacts the performance of the raid by being SMR or something lower-end than what these drives were in 2012.


Dec 1, 2004
Well, as the guy that wrote one of the articles that kicked off the WD Red shitstorm, I feel somewhat qualified to answer here :)

First off, on the topic of SSD cache, if you are running a 1 GbE network (or even a 2.5 GbE network really) then your existing 4-drive array from way back when can already saturate the network link. Unless your use case is the storage of lots and lots of tiny files, in which case the faster latency times of a SSD will come into play, then you might not get much benefit out of a SSD cache even if you were to add it to an existing array.

As for what drives you can buy today, WD released the WD Red Pro brand drive which is guaranteed to be CMR, or better yet support a different brand like Seagate's IronWolf NAS units. Toshiba also has NAS capable drives that are not SMR.

On the topic of RAID 6, that is harder on the controller but something I *fully* support if you want to stick with a traditional RAID model of data preservation. My personal storage array right now is 12x 3TB in RAID6, and in the past I *have* suffered simultaneous drive outages, so the 2-disk redundancy is super nice. Alternatively, you could consider something like DrivePool if you wanted to 'get out' of the RAID game entirely, but that would depend on whether you needed the performance benefits that come with RAID or not.