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Pros: The video surveillance market continues to grow and as cameras in increase in resolution, storage needs increase. Home and small business systems that involve up to a few dozen cameras and have the need to be cost efficient are the target for “Surveillance Specific” hard drives. The two main contenders are the WD Purple series (this) and the Seagate Surveillance series. They achieve “enterprise” disk levels of performance at a fraction of the cost as long as they are used in their very specific task niche.
What video security systems have in common is that they have to spend most of the time writing multiple data streams continuously (at relatively low data rates per stream) while spending only a minimal amount of time reading from disk. This drive supports 145 MB/sec sustained data transfer rates with a 6Gb/sec SATA interface. Your typical 1080p IP camera generates a H.264 or H.265 data stream well under 2 MB/sec. Surveillance drives are tuned to not lose frames when writing while their reading efficiency is mostly a secondary concern.
WD Purple drives market “AllFrame” technology which is a tuned system for writing up to 64 camera streams without losing data 24/7. Annualized workload is 180 TB/year. There is a 3 year warranty. 65 degree C max operating temperature. Low RPM (5400 class). LOW POWER USE.(4.4 W). WD assumes that you will be Reading back video 20% of the time. Their website is pretty amazing in helping decide what drive you need to buy based on: number and type of cameras, how many days of video you need to store, etc. You don’t have to do the calculations yourself. No RAFF limits you to 8 drives in a system. Corrosion resistant components start at 4 TB and above in this product line.
As a contrast, Seagate assume that Reading is only 5% of the workload, their website is not as directed toward the home/non-IT consumer but they have a “Safe and Smart Selection” white paper. 180 MB/s transfer rate. Up to 64 cameras. 3 year warranty. 70 degree C operating temp. 5.6 W. Faster RPM. No Rotational Vibration sensor till you get above 3 TB.
Advantages of the WD Purple over the Seagate at the 3 TB level is; 1) better website to select the drive you need; 2) lower power use; 3) if you will be reviewing video from your cameras fairly often WD assumes you will be doing this 20% of the time vs Seagate thinking you will do this 5% of the time. Read commands complete faster on the WD. Allframe technology streamlines performance based on a known workload.
For downsides of WD Purple vs. Seagate Surveillance see cons below.
Cons: Downsides of the Purple Drives: They are not intended for rack-mount systems since they suggest no more than 8 drives in a system and don’t have RAFF to reduce vibration effects from other drives in the same enclosure.
If you need 20-30 MB/s more data transfer rate at the 3TB size at the cost of more power consumption Seagate gets you that. It also gives you 5 degrees more heat tolerance.
Once you exceed the drive’s performance boundaries, less than ideal results occur more rapidly on the WD so it is important to purchase the right sized drive(s) - the website is quite good at showing what you need. Seagate is going after pure write intensive results at high RPM so it responds more predictably to overloading its rated capacity. Seagate Surveillance drives at 4 TB and higher have RV sensors and you can have more than 8 drives in an enclosure if you buy that size.
Overall Review: If you need less than 8 drives in your application, power consumption is important, you want to review video rather frequently, and know your system size and its read/write workload, WD Purple is the way to go.
If you want to do only a write-only workload and only read very occasionally, have a need beyond 8 drives at 4 TB and higher, and power consumption is not a factor - go with the Seagate.
If money is not a factor and you are a big enterprise using racks of drives, move up to the SAS interface enterprise drives from either vendor (at more 2-10 x the price). They will do everything these do and more, but then you already know this because you are an IT pro with an unlimited budget working for a big corp.
I tested this drive using several systems: i7 processor with Quick Sync Video capability on a Windows 11 system running Blue Iris software and connected to 15 IP POE cameras of varying resolution from various vendors using H.264 compression. Max res being 5 MP. Exacq professional system NVR in RAID5 config. Consumer grade, single disk system. Worked well, was compatible, and all advertised specs were met. Low power and low heat generation. Reading from the system while continuing to do writes worked quite well.
Pros: While this drive has been designed with a focus on surveillance it would be a perfectly acceptable hard drive in many situations.
First, the drive is near silent even on sustained reads/writes. It also runs fairly cool, even under stress for sustained time, peaking out around 95F in a 70F environment with no auxiliary cooling. I'd expect the drive to perform very well in a close proximity hot swap bay installation. It performs decently in synthetic benchmarking I'm getting around 140MB/s read performance and 125MB/s write performance. There are faster drives around but not that run cool and quietly.
I've been using the prior AV and now Purple drives in surveillance systems for a long time, they've proven to be very reliable.
Cons: It's not as quiet as an SSD.
While the read/write performance is certainly plenty for most it's not great compared to more performance oriented drives (higher rpm).
Overall Review: All combined this would be a good hard drive option for many desktop users as well. It's quiet operation and low operating temperatures make it a great option for small form factors where an SSD isn't an option.
I've used a many different hard drives in surveillance systems, I've seen countless early failures... When WD first released their AV drives I started switching them in where more expensive enterprise drives had failed early. This line has continued to prove to be more reliable in these high write conditions. I've occasionally used them in general use computers as primary drives, while there are faster around these are so quiet, well priced, and reliable.
Pros: Does what it is made for.
Handles my 3 camera set up easily
Cons: none so far
Overall Review: Ran this three days on a three camera system at 1080p and it didn't even fill it up after three days. I would feel secure leaving this running and only stopping it if something happens. 2TB is plenty big enough for my needs and playback is wonderful. This will last about a week in my system without overwriting previous recorded writes. That is plenty long enough for me.
Now if I needed to let it record longer than a week 2TB would not be enough for 30 days it would take a 6 TB drive. But in my business I am rarely gone longer than 5 days at a time. Low power is just a plus. 9/19/17 edit. So I have used this since the end of august and I have to tell you it is so silent that I cant even tell it is running I went thru some of the video to see the quality compared to last hard drive I was using and even the quality seems better. Will update when I catch someone doing something they shouldn't be.. UPDATE now it is 03/1/2018 and still running strong.
Pros: Six terabytes of awesomeness are packed into this purple drive*. It performed well in both DVR and NAS settings, and never missed a read or write. If it’ll be fast enough to suit your purposes, this purple drive is for you.
*5.45 TB when formatted NTFS
Cons: This drive, as expected, was too large to be recognized in my antiquated 480p DVR system and my older USB2 hard disk sleds.
Overall Review: When I tested this drive, I couldn’t simply drop it in my DVR system and report back that it worked. For the first week of testing, I plopped it in my NAS system that runs in my garage. I let it run for a week straight while performing data transfers. Now mind you, that isn’t for what this drive is meant, but it served relatively well for its unintended purpose. And it held up to it. While I was testing it as a NAS drive, I moved almost 5TB of data sporadically throughout the week and not a single bit was lost.
Now on to its stated purpose, a surveillance drive. The 3.5” disk fit perfectly in my DVR system and was recognized after auto-formatting. I run a modest four 720p camera DVR system and this drive did not miss a single frame of recording. I was able to review footage on demand without lag (even though nothing eventful happened, like always). The drive has more than enough space to store video in my week of using it in my DVR system; I have yet to fill up the drive with security footage. In fact, two weeks wouldn’t have filled it completely. This whopper of a 6TB purple drive is certainly a HUGE step up from the 2TB green drive that was in use before this drive arrived.
Of course, reliability has not been an issue in the two weeks I’ve been testing this drive. If a problem occurs in the next year with this drive I will report that here.
Pros: Great drive, optimized for systems that use streaming writes like dvrs and multi camera systems.
Needed an additional drive for storing video coming from 6 cameras, handles like a champ. Not sure i'm giving it much of a workout. Though i am confident if i add more cameras this will handle it. Good to have just in case.
Great warranty and rated for lots of writes per year. Very confidence inspiring.
Cons: Not sure spending extra on this drive unless you absolutely need its streaming write capability is worthwhile. If your pvr doesn't use streaming, but uses standard file writes instead, you might be in just as good shape with a NAS optimized hard drive like Red or Red Pro.
Overall Review: In reading reviews for other Surveillance / Video streaming drives some claim that you shouldn't use this drive in a server or NAS as its streaming design means it could drop bits and leave you with corrupted files. That's not true.
Yes, when installed on a device designed to record multiple real time streams, the drive can be utilized in streaming mode that can drop data when the drive cannot keep up and the caches get full. WD have designed this drive to be very good at this, so it shouldn't happen very easily -- my network traffic (<5 cameras) isn't enough to get this breathing hard at all.
But for file transfer to and from the drive under non-streaming circumstances, this thing operates just like any other drive. All the bits will be there. In fact, the drive does a very nice job of write cacheing for file transfers under windows 10. There is no reason not to use this in a computer or NAS. Although you won't taking advantage of the streaming function the drive (unless you have specific apps that can make use of it), it does have a nice warranty, is rated for almost full time operation and has good performance as a file transfer and storage device.
If you're looking for storage for home NAS with constant video being recorded, you might be just fine with a NAS class HDD and not this. Compared with WD Red, both have 3 yr warranty, 180TB/yr duty rating, but Red has double the Load/Unload cycles rating and uses a little less power. List price for purple is $10 less than red. Red might go on sale more frequently, though.
Pros: Handles multiple streams of video with ease. I have 4 cameras streaming to it constantly. When I went back to view recorded video, it played without any hesitation. There was no stuttering or skipping frames. A surveillance drive is designed to record video 24/7. Most of that video is never played back. When you do need to go view recorded video, you want to know it will be there. This drive delivers that feature. The drive remained cool while it was recording. Temperatures were at the low end of the operating range. The drive is also quiet when compared other drives.
Cons: None I can think of.
Overall Review: I used this in a BlueIris system and it performed well. I would not hesitate to recommend that someone consider this drive for their surveillance drive needs. Please be aware that this drive is a surveillance drive. It is designed to constantly record video with no frame loss. They are more tolerant of errors. When a drive performs error correction it stops writing to correct the error. If a surveillance drive stopped recording, it may miss the important details you need. WD Purple drives do not perform error correction because they focus on recording. WD calls this AllFrame 4k technology. This drive can be used in a RAID array but you would only want to use it to record video from cameras. Do not use this drive as your main system drive or to store pictures, music, games, etc. Drives designed for multiple types of data will be much faster and will actually perform error correction to protect your data. Do your homework and you will be much happier with your purchase.
Pros: Able to handle up to 64 cameras. unfortunately I'm unable to tax it that high as my setup only has 6 cameras. My setup is also motion detected so I had to set up something to keep moving 24/7 so I could really test this drive to its potential. It passed with superbly flying performance. I mean like the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds performing at the same time. I'm sure adding more cameras to it would not slow it down in the least or drop off its performance factors. This drive is designed for 24/7 use and streaming so I left my motion setup on for 3 full days to verify it did indeed pass with flying colors. Coming with a very nice 3 year warranty means if it does fail (which I doubt) I'm covered by the peace of mind that I wont be paying for a new drive for at least 3 years. Western Digitals customer service is superior to any I have ever dealt with.
Cons: absolutely none. well one nitpik if I may lol and another reviewer spoke on it. Speed 5400rpm not 7200rpm like my other platter drives in my comp. But in reality you dont need 7200rpm for this type of drive, I'd imagine it would cause extra heat and less longevity.
Overall Review: Need a larger hdd that is made for 24/7 use for your dvr/pvr setup this baby is what your looking for and Western Digital has you covered from 500GB all the way to 10TB ( as of time of this review) so that should handle most setups with ease. Western digital has been at the storage game a long time now and as long as they keep doing what they are doing I do not ever see any issues as I stated before their customer service is unprecedented. So buy with confidence that you will have the best of the best.
Pros: This drive surpassed ALL tests including an abstract side test done on an average gaming system. (see other thoughts).
VERY quiet operation.
KILLER price for a SOLID steady performer for cameras OR personal computer use. (see more thoughts)
Camera recording displayed little heat dissipation, but during torrenting or heavy gaming it would rise a smidgin in temp, but still acceptable. So cooling has been perfected in this unit thanks to the 5400 rpms.
Cons: Warranty seems a lil shy, but considering this drive as a reliable home user unit will yield you MANY years of reliability and use as a storage unit.
I would ALSO have to agree with Aaron B. below when he says, "Not sure spending extra on this drive unless you absolutely need its streaming write capability is worthwhile. If your pvr doesn't use streaming, but uses standard file writes instead, you might be in just as good shape with a NAS optimized hard drive like Red or Red Pro. "
Overall Review: My half-brother has a nice spot where he employs 24 cameras around his property. my 10 cameras are no match for his collection, so he was quick to snag up an opportunity to try out a WD HDD considering he was actually in the market for 4 new drives. After I told him I had one that he should try, he was more than willing to let me get my paws on his equipment and install this drive after I told him my review could REALLY use an abusive system like his. After 2 weeks he was sold on every aspect of the drive and bought him 4 new WD Purple 4T's. He decided to use it on the most active 4 cameras which he uses for training videos on how to break new horses. We were VERY impressed at the steadiness and clarity that was captured and recorded.
So the NEXT 2 weeks I plugged it in, formatted it, and started some obscure testing on this drive to see how it would handle for the average home user/gamer. Well I SAY average, but you might not know me. I am an abuser of equipment. Torrenting like a demon all OVER this drive. I installed 5 games on this drive and played them all without hitches or radical load times. There were some hiccups once in a while, but that is PURELY due to the 64 meg cache. 128 would set this drive alive for multi-purpose use. I edited and assembled 6 videos on top of testing disktrix disk defragmenter on it. IMPRESSIVE...
This drive is neck and neck competition for some Samsung 5400 rpm drives. and THEY are pretty snappy!
The games I installed AND played (not just tested) were Dead By Daylight, Battlefield 1, Call of Duty WWII, Just Cause 3 and Syndicate. My system is an AMD Phenom 2 x6 1035T, 8G, R9 280.