Western Digital [NASDAQ:WDC] already has a line of Black, Blue and Green drives for a broad array of purposes. Today, they have announced their new Red line of 3.5" hard drives. These drives are specifically designed to be used in NAS scenarios in configurations ranging from 2 to 5 per array. The reason that Western Digital has decided to create this line of products is primarily because Western Digital has seen far too many consumers going for the large capacity Green drives and using them for NAS and RAID. As a result, some of these Green drives have been failing or the RAID controllers are unable to cope. The Green line of hard drives are inexpensive and low power as well as cool in terms of temperature, but they are not designed for being put with each other in RAID.

The Western Digital Red line of hard drives are specifically designed for being used in a NAS box or put into a RAID array of any sort with their NASware. The Red line of drives comes in 1TB, 2TB and 3TB capacities and is specifically geared towards users that need lots of storage space but also the security and performance of RAID. These drives are also a bit faster than their Green counterparts with the 1TB being rated at 150MB/s reads and the 3TB and 2TB being rated at 145MB/s reads which should also make them a bit faster than the Green drives as well since the Green drives did 138MB/s in our testing. All three sizes, however, will still be fitted with 64MB of cache and SATA 6Gb/s and have a mean time between failures of 1,000,000 hours. These drives are also supposed to consume less power than the 3TB green drive that we had tested back in 2010.

Furthermore, Western Digital has partnered up with NAS companies like Thecus, QNAP and Synology in order to qualify their drives with these NAS companies and to verify that their Red drives with NASware technology. Western Digital has also qualified their Red line of hard drives for their own NAS device, the Sentinel DX4000. In addition to partnering with NAS manufacturers to qualify these drives, Western Digital will be offering free premium 24×7 dedicated support and a three year warranty to these drives.

Western Digital was kind enough to provide us with four of these drives last week and we are working on testing these drives individually against other large capacity drives as well as in RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 5 scenarios to see how they perform on our LSI 8265-8i controller.

The Red drives should already be available with online retailers and will retail for $109 for the 1TB, $139 for the 2TB and $189 for the 3TB. These drives should be perfect for most people trying to run a home or small office NAS that they want to be sure will have the best uptime and the best performance possible. Also, as you’ll notice, WD has begun to put QR codes on their hard drives so you can more easily find out information about your drive and get support more quickly from your smartphone.