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It was less than 2 years ago that I purchased an 8Tb Seagate Backup hub Plus external drive - what I thought then was a "big" drive, but found I had filled that up all to soon. I use this drive to backup my NAS which stores all my media, so as this slowly grew in size, I needed to get myself a higher capacity drive.
Enter the Western Digital 14Tb Elements drive, which at £249 at the time of writing, represents pretty decent value considering I paid £179 for the aforementioned 8Tb Seagate model a couple of years back. Strangely, if I want to buy the equivalent drive as a bare unit i.e not housed in an external enclosure with all the additional electronics that entails, it would actually cost me over £300! Why a less expensive to produce version should cost more than one in an enclosure is beyond me.
The WD unit is rather like a heavy book in that one edge is curved, rather reminding me of the spine of a hard back. On this surface you will find the single power/activity LED which is quite small. The drive has small rubber feet such that it stands in a vertical orientation - like a book in a book case. This is perhaps the best orientation for air flow given the vented top and rear edges. I personally don't really like drives standing up like this, it's too vulnerable to being knocked if its stood on a busy desk. Lying flat is OK, but I think my unit ran a little hotter like that. I don't know why WD do not provide an optional to fit stand with wider feet to provide better stability. Such a simple plastic stand would cost next to nothing to produce and would give customers the option to have a more secure base.
That minor gripe aside, the drive itself is impressive in its performance. Unlike the Seagate which was an SMR type drive and thus termed an "archive" drive which suffered from slow write performance at just 38.7 Mb/sec sequential writes according to my Crystal Disk Mark test, the WD Elements 14Tb drive tested at an impressive 214Mb/sec read and write sequential transfer rate. For reference, the Seagate tested at around 118Mb/sec sequential read as I recall.
As with these large capacity drives, the head seek action is quite heavy, far heavier than my internal 2Tb drives and will feel like the drive is suffering from a fit of the shakes when initializing after a power on Not an issue, but worthy of note to those who may think they have received a faulty unit. The previously mentioned 8Tb Seagate had a heavy seek action too, but not as heavy as this monster from WD, I can only imagine it may have to do with the high platter count such high capacity hard drives have.
These external drives actually appear to run warmer than internal drives, so it's advisable to situate the drive somewhere where it is not penned in by other items. The drive performed flawlessly when I backed up my entire NAS to it over my horribly slow USB 2 connection on the NAS (only one I have) and took some 81.5 hours to complete the transfer of some 7.3Tb of data. So, it is certainly able to operate continuously for that length of time without issue. Of course, had I backed up via a USB 3 connection, then the transfer would've been far faster.
I suggest that purchasers of this drive, as with all Western Digital drives, register them on the WD website in order to ensure the full warranty cover.
The drive comes complete with the required power and USB cables of generous lengths. The drive has no power switch as such, so once connected to power and an active USB port, will power up. This drive seems to be smart enough to power down/enter standby if the connected computer is shut down or goes to sleep.
Connected to a Windows 10 PC, the drive reports 12.7Tb available. Of course, 12.7Tb is what I call "proper" Terra bytes despite hard drive manufacturers deeming a Tb to be an even 1,000Gb where as I, being old school, see a Tb as 1,024Gb hence the 12.7Tb shown in Windows. That's fine, not a WD thing as all manufacturers go with this system of measurement. The drive's default volume label is "Elements", but of course you can change this is you so wish. Nothing required to do if using with a Windows based computer, so you can immediately start copying files to it once connected as the drive is pre formatted using NTFS. Mac users will either need to reformat or use a utility to permit use of NTFS filesystems. No backup software is supplied with this drive unlike the My Book series from WD. however, this is a bonus as I generally prefer not to use the software provided by the manufacturer for this purpose anyway. A quick note to those less computer savvy; There are numerous free backup programs for Windows you can use if you need backup software..
This Western Digital 14Tb Elements is an impressive drive at an impressive price.
14Tb allowed me to have a cold storage drive with enough space for me to back up my NAS for removing drives and starting fresh install of NAS with the 4x 8TB seagate ironwolf. The USB3 cable supplied is longer than other usual devices (1m). Work fine for the first week without an issue filling all but 500Gb.
"How to Read Model Numbers: WUH721414ALE6L4 – 14TB SATA 6Gb/s 512e Base (SE) with Legacy Pin 3 config:
W = Western Digital U = Ultrastar H = Helium 72 = 7200 RPM 14 = Max capacity (14TB) 14 = Capacity this model (14TB) A = Generation code L = 26.1mm z-height E6 = Interface (512e SATA 6Gb/s) (52 = 512e SAS 12Gb/s) ** 512e models can be converted to 4Kn format and vice versa y = Power Disable Pin 3 status(0 = Power Disable Pin 3 support L = Legacy Pin 3 config – No Power Disable Support) z = Data Security Mode 1 = SED* : Self-Encryption Drive TCG-Enterprise and Sanitize Crypto Scramble / Erase 4 = Base (SE)* : No Encryption, Sanitize Overwrite only 5 = SED-FIPS: SED w/ certification (SAS only)
"What's interesting about this is that it looks like a 7200-RPM data center drive that's been slowed down to 5400-RPM for stuffing into the Best Buy packaging."
Thanks to jitter skater:
"The 'F' in WD140EMFZ actually reveals that it has 512MB cache, like all WD 14 TB drives have. The smaller models like 12TB or 10TB only have 256MB cache ('A').
"WD140EMFZ = Easystore / Elements 14TB drive WD140EDFZ = My Book 14TB drive
"The only difference is that the My Book support encryption on the hardware level ("D"= enterprise drive) and has a three years warranty, instead of two years. These are all basically Western Digital Ultrastar HC530 drives, slowed down to 5400RPM and hence absolutely comparable to WD Red 14TB drives."
I bought 2x 14TB HDD for £190 on Amazon Prime Day sale as a upgrade to my home server (and backup server) storage. Each machine was running a 8TB Toshiba, 4TB WD and 4TB Seagate. Intention is to eventually replace one of the 4TBs from each machine. But for now, they are running plugged into the USB ports. The drives arrived safely boxed and plugging in and switching on was very easy, with no drivers required. I reformatted them and copied the data from one the 4TB drives over. This was particularly painful and took about 2 days over the USB interface, achieving around 36MByte/s when I was checking which wasn't really USB 3.0 speed but more USB 2 speed. Though this could be down to my ageing servers rather than the drives.
The drives themselves ran with relatively little noise, I'd say there were quieter in the enclosure than my Toshiba 8TB drives were inside my PC cases! The drives themselves did get quite warm, but not hot, certainly less warm than the Toshibas (though those did run hot)
Once these bed in for a few more days and I've copied my data across, I will test my next plan and update the review accordingly...
Update 20 Oct 2020: Having opened up the case, the drives are 14TB WD140EMFZ drives. I've "shucked" the drives out and attached them directly to the SATA connectors on my PCs. This has then yielded the full potential of the performance of these drives. I've sequential read of around 190MByte/s transfer speeds now which is pretty damn good considering it's in a 5 year old PC. Perfectly adequate for a PC storage drive or NAS drive. Random Read/Write is pretty bad, but in this age, spinning disks really are not the solution for such operations and I suggest you get yourself a cheap SSD for that sort of usage.
As someone else said here, it's not really possible to accurately rate a drive when it's brand new out of the box (after all it could fail next month), but at the time of writing (10th Jan 2020) paying £200 for 14TB is the lowest price point per TB that I've seen so far. I've previously purchased 6 and 8TB Seagates and had no problems over many years, so we'll see how this goes.
Points to note for those who are unaware: This drive comes formatted out of the box (or did for me). 14 "TB" displays as 12.7 TB under Windows, but this is normal for all drives, and is due to usage of TB by manufacturers and TiB by operating systems (but displayed as TB). In otherwords, manufacturers correctly calculate the number of bytes per KB (1000), whereas for historical reasons operating systems will use a value of 1024. Putting "14TB in TiB" into Google will show this.
I'm copying large files from one Seagate drive over USB 3 to this new WD drive over USB 3 and it's sustaining 185MB/s. If you're copying lots of smaller files you're unlikely to see this. It'll also depend on your source drive (read speed, connection).
I have this as intended in its caddy but I took an 8TB elements out and put it in my case. They were both 5400 and the 8TB was WD140EMAZ-00WJTA0 (HGST code US7SAL080 / 2W10227). The 14TB is reported in crystal diskinfo as WD140EMFZ-11A0WA0.
The 14TB idles around 40'c is its caddy but the 8TB was 48'c in my 011 dynamic xl (the HGST 4TB was over 50'c) so I ran a molex to the vertical gpu IO port and hooked up a noctua 120mm @ 12v. The 8TB idle is now 28'c and the HGST 4TB is 34'c currently @100% being backed up to the 14TB (which is currently 42'c in its caddy). The HGST is reading @ 155MB/s and the EMFZ 14TB is copying the data with 45% total activity according to HWiNFO.
WD Drives have in my opinion been more reliable and have had superior longevity to their big rival Seagate in the years that I have been using internal and external mechanical drives.
The design of their enclosures is also a strong point, the MyBook style is applicable across a wide range of price and capacity points and gives them an Audi-esque family feel.
This 14Tb model replaces a 2Tb MyBook, which is still in perfect working order, despite being ancient. It does however suffer one irritating trait with the earlier model it supplanted, it does not switch off no matter how one pushes the power switch, not a big issue as they go to standby when no connection is detected, hardly consuming any electricity but I’m in the habit of powering down all of my peripherals whenever I shut down.
I bought the 14tb in the recent Prime sale. The box was severely dented so I was wary. When I plugged it in it made a very scary deep roaring, growling sound and then there was constant throbbing vibration every 10-20 seconds which was amplified as it travelled through my desk, and could be felt on the drive's casing. I returned it the next day. If you get hold of one which works perfectly it is a great deal and should meet your needs for years. But I wonder if these monster drives are less reliable than smaller drives. Or too noisy? Or was mine just damaged? I would like to see more positive feedback from other buyers before I try again. I really would like all that storage space.