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Western Digital Red vs Purple: Differences + Pros & Cons

Torn between Western Digital’s Red and Purple lines for your next storage drive? We’ve got you covered!

The short answer is that Western Digital’s Red line is intended for high-speed data transfer within NAS environments, while the Purple line is designed to seamlessly integrate into cloud-connected video systems and servers.

That the way-too-simple answer. These two product lines are designed for more complex use-cases, so we really need to get into the details to cover the many ways each option can shine.

This quick guide will help you understand what products are in each line, what their intended uses are, and what makes them stand out from the competition.

What is Western Digital Red?

Western Digital’s Red line of HDDs and SSDs are built to deliver maximum data transfer speeds, storage capacities, and longevity in the face of increasingly virtualized, multi-user and multi-application environments.

Western Digital has proven to understand how difficult it can be for small and medium-sized businesses to safely share information and applications in a timely fashion, so they’ve designed their Red line of storage solutions to make network assisted storage (NAS) environments run as efficiently as possible.

More and more businesses are moving toward hybrid work models with personnel spread across different time zones, but the need to stay connected, collaborative, and secure is as strong as ever.

Take a look at a few of the top Red storage solutions to get a better idea of their capabilities:

Red Products

Western Digital Red SN700 NVMe SSD

WD Red SN700 NVMe SSD (Click to check current price on Amazon)

  • Capacity: 250GB – 4TB
  • Sequential read speeds: 3100MB/s (250GB) – 3400MB/s (4TB)
  • Sequential write speeds: 1600MB/s (250GB) – 3100MB/s (4TB)
  • Endurance: 500TBW (250GB) – 5100TBW (4TB)

These SSDs are designed for 24/7 NAS workloads and boast exceptional endurance and caching speeds. Their flexible architecture makes them compatible with most NAS systems, and their NVMe caching gives them the power to handle multiple users and multiple applications at once, perfect for use in small to mid-sized businesses.

Made to meet the needs of fast-moving, collaborative business environments, these SSDs’ impressive read and write speeds help nimble teams share files, multitask applications, and even tackle intensive database operations without slowing down.

WD Red NAS Hard Drive

WD Red NAS Hard Drive (Click to check current price on Amazon)

  • Capacity: 2TB – 6TB
  • Cache size: 256MB
  • Transfer rate: Up to 180MB/s

These HDDs are intended more for home offices than enterprise use, but they still provide the capacity, speed, and reliability you need for 24/7 NAS performance.

Built-in NASware 3.0 technology makes these HDDs compatible with a wide range of devices, software, and systems, and their flexible designs make them ideal for installing in systems with up to eight bays.

Though they lack the capacity and architecture to make them viable in enterprise-level NAS systems, their reasonable price points, longevity, and flexibility make them a perfect fit for personal and home office use.

WB Red Pro NAS Hard Drive

WB Red Pro NAS Hard Drive (Click to check current price on Amazon)

  • Capacity: 2TB – 18TB
  • Cache size: 64MB (2TB) – 512MB (18TB)
  • Transfer rate: Up to 164MB/s (2TB) – Up to 272MB/s (18TB)

Built for businesses of all sizes, these HDDs are built from the ground up with high-intensity workloads in mind. They fit in NAS systems with up to 24 bays—ideal for data-heavy enterprises with multiple simultaneous users.

These HDDs also boast Western Digital’s best multi-axis shock sensors and 3D Active Balance Plus technology to protect against large and small physical shocks, and their proprietary error recovery controls help protect data integrity when used in RAID applications.

What is Western Digital Purple?

The Western Digital Purple line of HDDs and microSD cards are designed to seamlessly integrate into the front and back ends of cloud-connected video systems and analytics servers, and they have all the capacity, flexibility, and proprietary technologies they need to do the job.

Security cameras are gaining in both popularity and average resolution. Standard HDDs have neither the capacity nor the transfer rates to fully capture multiple simultaneous 4K video streams, let alone handle the demands of increasingly data-hungry AI-driven smart video systems.

Take a look at a few of the products in the Purple line to get a better idea of what they bring to the table:

Purple Products

WD Purple Surveillance Hard Drive

WD Purple Surveillance Hard Drive (Click to check current price on Amazon)

  • Capacity: 1TB – 8TB
  • Cache size: 64MB (1TB) – 128MB (8TB)
  • Transfer rate: 110MB/s (1TB) – 194MB/s (8TB)

These base-level Purple HDDs are made with the express purpose of optimizing surveillance in networked video recorder (NVR) environments with up to 64 connected HD cameras.

Designed to stand up to the rigors of modern surveillance environments, these rugged HDDs stand up to heat fluctuations, vibrations, and around-the-clock use.

Their outstanding workload ratings of up to 180TB per year and mean time between failures of up to 1 million hours give them the endurance and longevity that business owners need, and their integrated Western Digital Device Analytics technology uses advanced algorithms to diagnose and address issues in real time.

The low end of Purple storage is 1TB, which can be plenty for some users and not nearly enough for others.

WD Purple Pro Surveillance Hard Drive

WD Purple Pro Surveillance Hard Drive (Click to check current price on Amazon)

  • Capacity: 8TB – 18TB
  • Cache size: 256MB (8TB) – 512MB (18TB)
  • Transfer rate: Up to 265MB/s (8TB) – Up to 272MB/s (18TB)

These HDDs are the perfect smart storage solution for modern AI-enabled smart surveillance systems. Their built-in AllFrame AI technology automatically improves video playback and supports up to 64 cameras or 32 AI streams, and the integrated Western Digital Device Analytics tech provides all the diagnostic data that IT professionals need to maintain storage integrity and optimal performance.

These HDD’s aren’t just brainy, either; their sturdy designs deliver a mean time between failure of up to 2.5 million hours and a workload rating of up to 550TB per year.

WD Purple SC QD101 Ultra Endurance microSD Card

WD Purple SC QD101 Ultra Endurance microSD Card (Click to check current price on Amazon)

  • Capacity: 32GB – 1TB
  • Form factor: microSDHC (32GB) – microSDXC (64GB – 1TB)
  • Interface: SDA 6.0

These microSD cards are Western Digital’s solution for the mainstream security camera market. Built with advanced 96-layer 3D NAND technology, these robust microSD cards offer impressive longevity and can operate continuously in temperatures between -13°F and 185°F.

They even have built-in Card Health Monitoring technology that detects problems and lets you know when it’s time to service or replace your card.

Red vs Purple – Does It Really Matter?

Western Digital’s Red and Purple lines may be intended for different purposes, but digital storage is digital storage, right?

Well, kind of.

Both the Red and Purple lines include high-capacity HDDs, but, as you can see, that’s where the similarities in their offerings end.

Red SSDs and the Purple microSD cards really speak to the intent behind their respective product lines; SSDs are much better suited for NAS environments that require rapid data transfers and application multitasking, and microSD cards are perfectly suited for security cameras.

Western Digital As A Brand

Founded in 1970, Western Digital has grown into one of the world’s pre-eminent producers of digital storage media. Their best-in-class hard drives (HDDs), solid-state drives (SSDs), and secure digital (SD) cards are as cost-effective as they are reliable, and their consistently outstanding performance makes them the go-to solutions for businesses large and small.

Western Digital’s decades of experience has also taught them the importance of tailoring their products for different industries and use-cases, and they’ve turned these insights into an ethos that touches every aspect of their color-coded line of storage products; including the Red and Purple product lines.

Both Red and Purple storage solutions have stellar specs and reasonable price points, but which one is right for you and your business? Keep reading to find out.

It takes more than regular old hard drives to keep up with the data demands of today’s business environment.

Most end users don’t even need to think about their data storage beyond its capacity and maybe its read and write speeds, but business owners don’t have the luxury of slapping any old drive onto their system and calling it a day.

As dataflows keep increasing in volume and demanding ever more resources, more and more businesses are finding it necessary to pursue purpose-built storage solutions with the capacities, speeds, and architecture to match their business needs.

And thankfully for businesses all over the world, Western Digital has made it their mission to meet all of their data management needs.

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