Friday, May 31, 2024

REVIEW | Western Digital Purple 10TB hard-drive

A terabyte or two of storage no longer cuts it, when it comes to the needs of today’s large high-definition video files or high-resolution textures in games. For needs specifically such as this, were going to be looking at the Western Digital Purple 10 Terabyte drive. The Purple series of drives are targeted at digital surveillance recording needs, which means endurance as well as performance to simultaneously write multiple streams of data.   

Design and Package

The hard-drive form factor has largely remained unchanged over the past decades, with only the internal recording technology being updated to allow for larger capacities. The Purple series drive features the standard 3.5-inch form factor.

When purchased online from Amazon, it comes in a sealed antistatic cover, comfortably packaged and cushioned in a cardboard box.

Specs and Performance

The WD Purple series is available from sizes of 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, 10TB, 12TB, 14TB, and 18TB. The unit being reviewed here is the 10TB drive. It features a platter rotation speed of 7200 RPM, which means faster mechanical access, but also more heat.

Being a surveillance-focused drive, it is built for endurance; meaning 24/7 operations, and workloads of up to 360TB per year. It can handle multiple simultaneous streams from as many as 64 cameras, and per its marketing material is designed to support deep learning and analytics in AI-enabled NVR systems.

On the drive are two connectors, one for power, and the other being a SATA interface for data.

Spec Sheet:

  • Interface: SATA 6 Gbps
  • Buffer: 256 MB
  • Rotation Speed: 7200 RPM

Seeing that the datasheet does not mention whether it’s a PMR, CMR or SMR drive, it’s likely an SMR drive, which is cheaper at the cost of performance. The Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) technology allows for higher data density on drives, surpassing the physical limitations of previous Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) technology.

Unfortunately, SMR comes at a performance handicap, being slow at Random Read and Write; but is perfectly suited for sequential reading and writing, such as data backup, or surveillance recording. The larger 256MB buffer helps boost transfer speeds for short bursts or regularly accessed data.

Average transfer speeds when copying large files like ISO’s or MKV Movie files from another internal hard drive was steadily at around 100 MB/s but also went up to as much as 184 MV/s.

Software

The drive is plug-n-play, hook it up, and when you boot into Windows, you’ll be able to find it in Disk Management. From there you can partition, format, and mount the drive. 

Value

The WD Purple 10TB drive retails for P16,450 at Dynaquest. It features a three-year warranty,

Seagate’s comparable Skyhawk AI 10TB drive, also meant for surveillance purposes comes in a little lower at P16,150. While it’s a marginal difference, the drive’s specs mention CMR recording tech which would be preferred to SMR. Though we have not tested that unit, I would lean towards that given a choice.

Conclusion

Surveillance drives have a very specific use case, but given availability and shortages thanks to Chia mining chaos, the WD Purple is a solid option for those who need a lot of storage and are particular about endurance. They would serve you well in a NAS box, or can also be used for general desktop storage.

If the seemingly exorbitant price doesn’t turn you off, this is worth consideration. Needless to say, this is not for everyone, and not for budget-minded builds.

  • Model: WD102PURZ
  • Price: P16,450
  • Verdict: Endurance and beefy capacity if you can afford it

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