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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It seems to be a very common belief that WD Blacks support no form of RAID and that enterprise or Red drives are REQUIRED for any type of RAID array. I have done some homework on the issue today and I wanted to share what I learned.

I just got off the phone with the level two tech support team at WD after going through one customer service rep and a supervisor. I wanted to hear it from the horse's mouth that the WD Black drives are indeed not supported for any type of RAID and that enterprise or red drives were required for any RAID function. Search after search in these forums and others have perpetuated this belief and I wanted to hear exactly what the technician had to say on the issue. Another purpose for the call was to find out if partitioning the two blacks and running a RAID 1 on half of them and simple volumes on the other half was supported, and here is what he said. (paraphrasing)

*** The WD Blacks are absolutely supported for RAID1 and RAID0 functionality using no more than two drives, and running them this way should not cause the drives to fall off the array with TLER considered. The only time they recommend enterprise drives is when people are running more advanced RAIDs like RAID5, 10, etc. or using more than two drives. The consumer level RAID these drives DO support are two drive 1 and 0. ***

Now when I asked him about my situation, he wasn't sure at first, and on further investigation told me that what I have going on is also fully supported by WD Blacks. Here's what I did:

Installed a 128GB SSD, and (2) 1TB WD Blacks onto a system.
Installed OS on a 128GB SSD, not using any RAID function (set mode to AHCI)
Initialized both WD Blacks under disk management and made two 500GB partitions on each drive.
Set one 500GB partition from each drive as a mirrored volume.
Set the leftover 500GB partitions from each drive as simple volumes.

My result was C: 128GB OS drive; B: Mirrored RAID1 array with 500GB; M: 500GB; R: 500GB.

I explained this in detail to the technician and he said the way I had it set up, it would not be a problem at all and that these drives are built to do that. (Although he was surprised to hear that it was done as easily as right clicking through disk management in windows) I then asked about what problems I would expect to encounter if I decided to use a portion of a future SSD as caching for one of these partitions. He didn't understand what I meant by caching, and I couldn't remember the terminology, so I told him I'd email him.

The email:

Hello Anthony,

The technology I was referring to is termed "Intel Smart Response". It is set up as a RAID function and uses the SSD as cache to speed up the platter drive's performance. Here's a thread on how this is set up:

http://www.overclock.net/t/1227655/how-to-set-up-intel-smart-response-technology-ssd-caching

Would this violate my two drive rule of thumb in these scenarios: With only one WD Black? Two blacks in a standard RAID1 (no partitions) using the SSD as cache? Two blacks with each having 500GB partitions, using 1 partition as RAID1 and the other two as simple volumes and running ISR on only one of the 500GB partitions for an increased performance on that drive letter only?

Thank you for your investigation and response,

His response:

Hi Brandon,

It looks like as long as Intel isn't requiring anything special out of the drives you should have no issues.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you

So there you have it. Straight from the horse's mouth, WD Blacks ARE supported for RAID. Not any type, and for 4 drive setups or running enterprise type RAIDS like 10, 5, or others, you will need the drives designed for that. But for two drive configurations running RAID1 and RAID0, these drives have full support from WD.

Hope this information helps someone save some money and/or select the correct drive for their purpose.
 

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+rep. Having no real knowledge of RAID or what type of drives to use, I set up a RAID 0 array years ago on WD Black HDDs, worked a charm. However, I must strongly suggest against software RAID, and just barely recommend consumer-grade hardware RAID PCIe devices.
RULES for RAID arrays:
1. Backup
2. Backup
3. Backup dammit!
 

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I Am Gooble Gobble
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OS-Wiz View Post

+rep. Having no real knowledge of RAID or what type of drives to use, I set up a RAID 0 array years ago on WD Black HDDs, worked a charm. However, I must strongly suggest against software RAID, and just barely recommend consumer-grade hardware RAID PCIe devices.
RULES for RAID arrays:
1. Backup
2. Backup
3. Backup dammit!
yes my auto backup runs every 3 days to my server, and i dont run raid, but i have important work and files on my rig. period
 

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Who (and why) would think they wouldn't work?
I've been running a RAID 0 arrangement in a desktop with 3.5" WD blacks and a RAID 0 array with the 2.5" WD blacks in my laptop for a long while. They are great drives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Do a quick search on "TLER" or "WD Black RAID" on google, or even these forums, and you'll see there's plenty of misinformation and conflicting information. I wouldn't think they would work because in a lot of cases....they DON'T work. If I expected them to work in a RAID 1 setup using 6 drives, I would be unpleasantly disappointed. I didn't learn any of that until just recently. I thought that the very acronym of RAID....redundant array of INEXPENSIVE drives...would mean that you could use any inexpensive drive to setup a RAID1 using any amount of disks. Apparently, this is not the case, and you need the EXPENSIVE form of the drive. I know that's beating the dead horse, and has already been discussed enough. But that's the mentality behind the post. Might be old news for you, but for a lot on here and elsewhere, they are under the belief that WD Black drives will not run properly in any RAID configuration at all.
 

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Don't consumer drives like blacks deal with damaged sectors differently to drives designed for RAID, which can cause them to be detected as failed drives, when they are actually fine?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LtStinger View Post

Do a quick search on "TLER" or "WD Black RAID" on google, or even these forums, and you'll see there's plenty of misinformation and conflicting information. I wouldn't think they would work because in a lot of cases....they DON'T work. If I expected them to work in a RAID 1 setup using 6 drives, I would be unpleasantly disappointed. I didn't learn any of that until just recently. I thought that the very acronym of RAID....redundant array of INEXPENSIVE drives...would mean that you could use any inexpensive drive to setup a RAID1 using any amount of disks. Apparently, this is not the case, and you need the EXPENSIVE form of the drive. I know that's beating the dead horse, and has already been discussed enough. But that's the mentality behind the post. Might be old news for you, but for a lot on here and elsewhere, they are under the belief that WD Black drives will not run properly in any RAID configuration at all.
It's called a redundant array of INDEPENDENT disks if you read the Wiki page.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LtStinger View Post

Do a quick search on "TLER" or "WD Black RAID" on google, or even these forums, and you'll see there's plenty of misinformation and conflicting information. I wouldn't think they would work because in a lot of cases....they DON'T work. If I expected them to work in a RAID 1 setup using 6 drives, I would be unpleasantly disappointed. I didn't learn any of that until just recently. I thought that the very acronym of RAID....redundant array of INEXPENSIVE drives...would mean that you could use any inexpensive drive to setup a RAID1 using any amount of disks. Apparently, this is not the case, and you need the EXPENSIVE form of the drive. I know that's beating the dead horse, and has already been discussed enough. But that's the mentality behind the post. Might be old news for you, but for a lot on here and elsewhere, they are under the belief that WD Black drives will not run properly in any RAID configuration at all.
Assumptions tend to do that.

And there is nothing inexpensive about a 6 drive RAID arry. Not to mention that WD Blacks are not the cheapest drive's.

Most all of the problems your going to read about RAID and JBOD PEBKAC related.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LtStinger View Post

Well I'll be a monkey's uncle...
Honestly not sure if this is sarcasm. It would make little sense to say inexpensive drives since this is not isolated to a certain type of drive. I bet lots of companies pay fortunes to have good support on very expensive drives in RAID.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by B!0HaZard View Post

It's called a redundant array of INDEPENDENT disks if you read the Wiki page.
From said Wiki page:
Quote:
Originally Posted by WikiPedia
RAID (redundant array of independent disks, originally redundant array of inexpensive disks)
It was originally "Inexpensive" when RAID was first invented. It has only fairly recently been re-named "Independent", which actually makes little sense for RAID as a whole.

In RAID 0 the drives are not independent - remove one and see if you can still access the files.

In RAID1 the drives can be said to be independent.

In other RAID levels some of the drives can be said to be independent - you generally need more than one drive to access the information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by B!0HaZard View Post

It would make little sense to say inexpensive drives since this is not isolated to a certain type of drive. I bet lots of companies pay fortunes to have good support on very expensive drives in RAID.
The term was coined in 1987 when large and high performance drives were expensive. Hence inexpensive drives could be grouped together in a way that created one large storage area or faster access - it was more designed with home users in mind.

You are right about the companies putting money into it, they are the ones who changed the name to remove the perception that it was somehow a "cheap" option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by B!0HaZard View Post

Honestly not sure if this is sarcasm. It would make little sense to say inexpensive drives since this is not isolated to a certain type of drive. I bet lots of companies pay fortunes to have good support on very expensive drives in RAID.
No, I wasn't being rude lol that was to say dang...you learn something new everyday. But I guess it could be either inexpensive or independent, depending on your view of things. I've always been told inexpensive. That seems to be the history of it anyway.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LtStinger View Post

Well I'll be a monkey's uncle...
It originally started out as "inexpensive" then gradually migrated to "independent". Today, either term is considered correct.
 

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I would have no problem running RAID0 on Blacks, but to be honest I wouldn't have a problem running RAID0 on anything really... When you set up a RAID0 array, you should really do so with the mindset that YOU WILL LOSE ALL YOUR DATA, and then you will have a decent backup system in place and be able to enjoy the benefits of the array
smile.gif
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nleksan View Post

I would have no problem running RAID0 on Blacks, but to be honest I wouldn't have a problem running RAID0 on anything really... When you set up a RAID0 array, you should really do so with the mindset that YOU WILL LOSE ALL YOUR DATA, and then you will have a decent backup system in place and be able to enjoy the benefits of the array
smile.gif
Yeah, I was doing that for a while. Still annoying as hell when one of them dies, regardless of your mindset.
 

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Just because WD doesn't "support" WD Blacks on higher RAID levels, doesn't mean they won't do it and do it fine. Remember that they're making sure you understand there's an advantage to the RED series.

And there won't be any way for them to tell it was in a RAID5 if you RMA it. So its not like it wouldn't work or not be covered by warranty. Remember: The drives only take data in and give it out- they don't care what it is. Its just that the REDs (and enterprise drives, such as the Raptors) are optimized for RAID and the black's aren't.

In fact, WD blacks are listed as fully supported by Synology NASes, which will do RAID5.

http://www.synology.com/support/hd.php?lang=enu&bays_id=3&product_id=111
 

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ALL hard drives can be put into RAID without issues. WD Blacks are no exception to this. Some drives have special features or programming that allow it to behave better in RAID setups. Enterprise class drives are the best when using is shelves of drives (like you would see in a data center) or in a server because they have algorithms that compensate for vibration (yes, when you buy and E class drive, you are paying for that and that alone, plus a couple other things like no spin down).

I thought this was all common knowledge? Here on OCN, we just RAID pretty much anything together. Hell, I thought I saw someone's cats taped together to for a RAID 0.
 
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