WD GOLD 12TB 3.5-Inch Datacenter Hard Disk Review

/ 3 years ago

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WD GOLD 12TB 3.5-Inch Datacenter Hard Disk

WD Gold 12TB Photo view top

It has been a while since our last WD review, but that’s changing today. To celebrate that change, I got an amazing drive in the office for a thorough testing: The WD Gold 12TB (WD121KRYZ) enterprise-class Datacenter hard disk. This isn’t just a large capacity drive, it’s also reliable and comes with the highest workload rating in the market segment.

WD Gold Datacenter Hard Disk

WD’s Gold series isn’t a drive designed for home users, but there is nothing which prevents you from using it in your setup. The Gold series is designed for enterprise-oriented tasks where uptime and reliability are main concerns. WD surely brings that to the table with the WD Gold series. It can handle an impressive 550TB per year workload, has a 2.5 million hours MTBF, can handle 600.000 load/unload cycles, and is backed by a 5-year warranty. That kind of a rating speaks for itself, this is a drive that can take a beating and keep standing.

The 12TB version which I’m testing today is far from the only one in the series. There are 7 models ranging from 1TB to 12TB. They are all 7200RPM drives, but they don’t have the same performance. That’s a given by pure physics. The smallest 1TB drive delivers a sustained performance of 184MB/s while the 12TB version which I’m testing offers us an impressive 255MB/s performance. The smaller drives have 128MB cache while the 10TB and 12TB version have 256MB.

WD Gold 12TB Photo view top angle 1

Fourth Generation HelioSeal Technology

HelioSeal is used in most of Western Digital’s larger drives to get the capacity possibilities we see today. The WD Gold uses the 4th generation of this technology and overall it has been used in 15 million shipped hard drives. HelioSeal technology allows for higher capacities and less turbulence on large storage arrays. It is a proven technology which has gone through extensive field testing for a proven reliability, high capacity and power efficiency.

WD Gold 12TB Photo view side

Specialised Features

Every drive has specific features to help with the area they’re intended to be used in. It is no different for the Gold and as an enterprise-grade drive, it comes with a whole list of them.

The first is RAID-specific and it’s the Time-Limited Error Recovery (TLER). This feature helps to reduce drive fallout within a storage environment caused by the extended hard drive error-recovery processes. This is a common problem for desktop drives but it needs to be avoided in mission-critical setups. WD Gold drives also feature a dual-stage actuator head positioning system. The first stage provides course displacement while the second stage uses piezoelectric motion to fine tune the head positioning.

Other features include a dynamic fly height technology where each read/write head’s fly height is adjusted in real time. It ensures a consistent performance and reduces errors. Speaking of error reduction, the Gold series naturally comes with an anti-vibration technology. The enhanced RAFF technology uses sophisticated electronics to monitor the drive and correct linear and rotational vibrations in real time.

WD Gold 12TB Photo view top angle 2

Noise and Power Consumption

Whenever I review a 7200 RPM drives, noise and power consumption is something most people are interested in. The higher spindle speed delivers a better performance, but it also makes more noise. The 12TB WD Gold has an audio level of 20dBA when idle and 36dBA during seek operations. The power consumption is quite a bit more than a SSD, but we also get 6 to 12 times the capacity. The WD Gold series draws 7W during read and write operations and 5W when idle.

WD Gold 12TB Photo view bottom

Feature Highlights

  • 550TB per year workload
  • 2.5 m hours MTBF
  • 600K load/unload cycles
  • 5-year warranty
  • Sustained performance of 255MB/s


The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturer offered details. They are valid at the time of review, but might be subject to change in possible future revisions of the products.

WD Gold 12TB SS specs

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