Synology HAT5300 vs WD Red Pro – NAS Drive Comparison

Choosing Between Synology HAT5300 and WD Red Pro NAS Hard Drives

When it comes to populating your NAS system with hard drives, it has long been established that for a 24/7 system, you need hard drives that not only perform but also endure. Recently, Synology released their new range of NAS hard drives that are designed for use exclusively in there are desktop and rack mount systems with the obvious priority towards enterprise setups. However in the more than two decades of Synology hardware, Western Digital (WD) has been populating their systems by the thousand across numerous different product ranges. Which leads us to wonder which is better in your NAS system, a Synology HAT5300 or a WD Red Pro drive? Though many buyers will consider the Synology HAT5300 far more comparable to the WD UltraStar series (as the Synology HAT5300 is a Toshiba Enterprise drive with Synology firmware) both the HAT5300 and WD Red Pro are seemingly targeted at high-performance NAS use, with their own advantages and disadvantages. So today, let us compare these ranges to see one best deserves your data in 2021.

Disclaimer!!! – Right now, I am still personally trying to remain on the fence about the new Synology range of Hard Drives until I have them in the test area and truly hit them hard with tasks. They certainly seem, in the right system, to be hugely advantageous, but I want to keep a much broader position when looking at how these drives compare, with as little bias as I can (on a platform that is heavy NAS oriented, that’s a fun game!). I want to look at these drives as far removed from the system that might be installed in as I can (removing wider issues of system compatibility, support and deployment), but that will always have to play a part. This guide utilises performance benchmarks provided by their respective brand pages and later in 2021 we will be doing more direct physical comparisons and testing. This NAS hard drive comparison guide serves as a means of finding the right storage media architecture for your needs, factoring price, performance, endurance, service and power consumption. But stay tuned for our more in-depth video comparisons and articles with popular performance benchmark tools soon.

Synology HAT5300 and WD Red Pro NAS Hard Drives – Price

Let’s be honest the price of these drives is going to always be a factor for some buyers. Yes, we are looking at business-class storage here and therefore you are looking for hardware that is generally going to have to cost for (for long term use, construction, larger storage array, etc) but nevertheless, the minute you are looking at fully populating larger scale devices, such as the Synology RS4021xs+ and UC3200, you are going to be spending more on the storage media than you have on the server itself! Below is how the Synology HAT5300 and WD Red Pro ranges compare in price at 8, 12 and 16TB:





Capacity HAT5300-8T (8TB) HAT5300-12T (12TB) HAT5300-16T (16TB) WD8003FFBX (8TB) WD121KFBX (12TB) WD161KFGX (16TB)
Price £205+ ex.VAT

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£310+ ex.VAT

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£400+ ex.VAT

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£205+ ex.VAT

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£315+ ex.VAT

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£420+ ex.VAT

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So, in terms of price, these WD Red Pro and Synology HAT5300 are pretty much neck and neck, and unless you are buying them in tremendous bulk for multiple servers at once, you are not really going to feel much of an impact on the wallet between them both. The similarity in price continues through all three capacities shown, with a slight edge being given to the Synology HAT5300 NAS hard drive. Of course, we are looking at PRICE, not VALUE, which is a whole other matter – ie, what exactly you get for your money. This is an area of division between the WD Red Pro and Synology HAT5300 that will only get more noticeable throughout this guide. On to performance.

Synology HAT5300 and WD Red Pro NAS Hard Drives – Hardware and Performance

As you might expect from storage media that is designed to be in operation 24×7, especially business servers, these drives have been designed with a high level of performance and durability in mind. Now, as we are working with data sheets in this article (more hands-on content coming as units become available) we are comparing the manufacturer’s specification sheets and where they differ. Obviously, this means that different hardware environments may well result in different performance (ie file types, server hardware, block size, # of users). Even at a casual glance, the build of these drives are near enough identical:





Capacity HAT5300-8T (8TB) HAT5300-12T (12TB) HAT5300-16T (16TB) WD8003FFBX (8TB) WD121KFBX (12TB) WD161KFGX (16TB)
Form Factor 3.5″ 3.5″
Available Capacity 8TB/12TB/16TB 1TB-18TB
Interface SATA 6Gb/s SATA 6Gb/s
Sector Size 512e 512e
Rotational Speed 7,200 rpm 7,200 rpm
Cache Size 256MB 512MB 256MB 256MB 512MB
Speed 230MB/s 242MB/s 262MB/s 235MB/s 240MB/s 259MB/s

The RPM is 7200 on both drives, they are both CMR drives that arrive with between 256MB and 512MB, depending on the capacity, both share the same sector size and both are ONLY available in SATA currently (with Synology outlining their naming convention may be giving way to a HAS5300 SAS hard drive, whereas WD provides WD Gold and Ultrastar for SAS use). The reported highest performance is rated a fraction higher on the Synology HAT5300 12TB and 16TB, with the WD Red Pro 8TB taking a small lead. Both drives are designed with larger RAID array systems in mind (8 drives and above) and therefore individual drive performance is rather unhelpful in the grand scheme of things. Synology has been talking in detail about the SUSTAINED performance of their HAT5300 series (generally being comparable with Data Center class drives and the Toshiba MG series that they are using), which ultimately means that the HAT5300 SHOULD provide a more consistent and sustained performance compared with the WD Red Pro series. But again, this will be confirmed/debunked when we have them in the test rig. Finally, we need to factor in that the WD Red Pro series is available in a considerably larger range of capacities right now in 2021, which allows end-users to be able to scale their storage and RAID requirements considerably better than on the 3 storage capacities that Synology HAT5300 provide.

Synology HAT5300 and WD Red Pro NAS Hard Drives – Endurance and Durability

Now, THIS is an area where the divide between each drive becomes more noticeable, with a lot of the disparity being the result of comparing a data center esc drive with a large scale NAS drive. Each drive seemingly brings its own advantages and disadvantages to the forefront in the specs. Below I have highlighted the key differences in green which you should be paying attention to:





Capacity HAT5300-8T (8TB) HAT5300-12T (12TB) HAT5300-16T (16TB) WD8003FFBX (8TB) WD121KFBX (12TB) WD161KFGX (16TB)
Workload Rating 550 TB 300 TB
Warranty 5 Years (ONLY for use in their own NAS Systems) 5 Years
Random Read / Write (4KB Q1) (Typ.) 9.10 W 7.83 W 7.63 W 8.8W 6W 6.1W
Acoustics, Seek (typical) 20/34 dB(A) 20/34 dB(A) 20/34 dB(A) 29/36 db(A) 20/36 db(A) 20/36 db(A)

So, let’s tackle this one step at a time. For a start, let’s look at that workload rating. Also known as TBW (Terabytes Written) per year, the Synology HAT5300 is almost double the figure of the WD Red Pro. A large part of this is the Enterprise/Data Center class build of the Synology NAS hard drive, with this tier of storage always being considerably higher than more NAS only targetted drives as data centers will all too often have more storage full re-write happening (as these servers offload onto archive systems more regularly than NAS backup systems). This is another example of the arguably unfair nature of comparing the HAT5300 drive against the WD Red Pro, but alas one comparison that many (Synology included) will make when it comes to fully populate their systems on Day 1. Both NAS hard drives include 5 years of the manufacturer’s hardware warranty, however, the Synology warranty comes with the caveat that you can ONLY use their drives in their own systems. Now, if you were intending to buy a Synology NAS rackstation/Diskstation anyway, then this is not a problem. However, this clearly becomes an issue if you are looking to purchase HDDs for your 3rd party NAS system (QNAP, Promise, QSAN, etc) as the Enterprise/Data Center class Synology HAT5300 drives are the same price as Large-NAS class WD Red Pro drives – finding that your warranty was not going to be supported in the event of a drive failure.

Then you have the matters of power consumption and noise. The Synology HAT5300 unsurprisingly (even if you compare the WD Red Pro with the Toshiba MG06/07/08 series that the Synology HAT5300 uses) uses more power in both idle and active use than the WD Red Pro, to maintain that higher consistent and sustained performance. However, they still managed to do this with a reported lower noise level. The WD Red Pro series is not the quietest of drives, but in many regards, this can be overlooked in this comparison, as both of these drives are largely targetted at NAS server systems of 8/12/16/24-Bay SATA storage – environments whereby the noise of the storage enclosure (likely with 3 tier cooling systems and redundant PSUs) will make noise far surpassing that of the drives inside. Ultimately the endurance of the HAT5300 wins overall and if the reported sustained performance is as good as they promise, then these will be the ultimate winning factor between the Synology HAT5300 and WD Red Pro NAS hard drives.

Synology HAT5300 and WD Red Pro NAS Hard Drives – Services and Extras

Moving slightly away from the specifications and data sheets, we can look at what both brands bring to the table AROUND these drives in terms of services and product support. It is important to factor in that Synology does not actually manufacture the HAT5300 in the way they produce their NAS systems, with the drives being manufactured by Toshiba in their Enterprise Storage MG series, with a Synology tailored Firmware applied. So, although some have questioned the trust you can have in an HDD from a brand with comparatively low history in the field, you have to factor the Toshiba hardware – making for a much more level comparison on that score. In fact, if you look at the latest Backblaze figures, this Toshiba MG series has had an exceptionally low failure rate – though there are practically no WD Red Pros in their latest reports to draw a comparison. Both drives have their tailored internal firmware and controllers that cover vibration, power use, handing or sporadic idle-to-active spin up, but one thing Synology does bring to the table here is the ability to update the drive firmware DIRECTLY from the NAS GUI, Diskstation Manager (DSM). This is a bigger deal than some might think as it allows you to action 2 things much, much easier on the HAT5300 than the WD Red Pro Drives:

  • You can update the firmware of your drives WITHOUT removing them manually and introducing them to a 3rd party client device (PC dock etc) and using HDD brand tools to update the firmware individually, then reintroducing them to the NAS system. This lowers downtime when upgrades are needed, reducing bare-metal interaction and lowers the potential damage that such a hands-on process might cause.
  • If you have drives with differing firmware (typically stated on the drive label) or are introducing further drives to an existing array to increase storage/maintenance, then it is much easier to have uniform firmware across the drives, regardless of when they were produced/injected into the NAS
  • The firmware that is updated is tailored to Synology NAS use and not just general NAS/Server deployment. Even if this provides improvements in the single-digit %, that all adds up over time

These two factors make the HAT5300 a convenient choice for NAS users, regardless of skill level and though updating the firmware will always require the storage system to be made unavailable for a period, an automated NAS software control system to do this will always reduce this downtime. However, it has to be stated that the compatibility and usage restrictions that Synology are seemingly introducing alongside the release of the HAT5300 need to be touched on here.

A number of newer generation XS. SA, UC and FS systems are being released with their warranty being unsupported by Synology if the drive media used inside is not their own brand drives (with the exception of a handful of Toshiba or Ultrastar drives at the time of writing). We already touched on above that the HAT5300 drives have a 5yr warranty that will be unsupported if used in non-Synology systems, but these two factors are ones that likely limit your buying choices in terms of available capacity in 2021 so far (with WD Red being available in 1TB all the way through to 18TB), as well as affecting your server purchase of choice and if you choose to migrate your used drives over to another system if upgrading within the 5yr warranty period.

Synology HAT5300 and WD Red Pro NAS Hard Drives – Conclusion

Right now, the Synology HAT5300 range of NAS hard drives DOES make a compelling early case when WD Red Pro drives, with some very impressive specifications. These advantages, of course, stem from the data centre-class drive arriving at a price point usually associated with large NAS use, something that reflects them well. Additionally, the small but significant advantages of system appropriate and easily controlled drive firmware in the Synology media cannot be overlooked. On the whole, at this early stage, the Synology media compares very well with the WD Red Pro long-standing drive, surprising it in a few key ways too, though it needs to be factored in that the Synology HAT5300 NAS hard drives include a system exclusivity that the WD Red Pro range is not restricted by. I look forward to sharing the hands-on testing soon on YouTube and deep-diving into what these drives bring to the end-user.



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      36 thoughts on “Synology HAT5300 vs WD Red Pro – NAS Drive Comparison

      1. So far i got really good experience with WD. In my first pc the hdd was a 40 gb WD modell, but it always corrupted my windows xp.
        But after that in my next prebuild pc i got a wd blue 500 gb modell, still working after 15 years, used it as a system drive for 10 years. Got an another 10 years old WD Green, used as a secondary drive, still working. I use these nowadays as external cold backups.
        Nowadays i got a 4 and 6 TB WD Purple as media storage and backups (they were dirt cheap).
        But in SG front i got a 3 TB modell, still working as my secondary data storing drive after 8 years. And got two 4 tb external modells, 1 for backup and 1 as a ps 4 drive.
        Nowadays thinking about getting a 10 TB WD Black modell, it’s got a pretty good price in my country, only 25% more expensive than a 6 TB Blue modell. I will never understand these price ranges in the Hungarian marketplace.

      2. Greetings

        I have a NAS 1821+ drive, with a 1 array, I currently have 4 WD pro drives and want to add two additional drives HAT5300 – 3.5″

        Is it recommended and compatible to use both types of hard drives???

      3. I wish you had included Ultrastar and Velociraptor in your comparison.
        Even though Velociraptor is discontinued, I still have quite a few of them in stock that I use regularly in my builds.

      4. I have three computers which all have WD black. I have an old Blue HDD but it makes a lot of noise. It’s over 10 years old and it’s from an old computer. Just use it to access old data files.

      5. If you do not have the WD purple drive. What WD drive is a good alternative to the WD purple?
        When will they make an SDD purple drive of WD?
        Are there SSD surveillance drives out there?

      6. Well, hello there. I have been buying WD for years. I just got a 4tb blue edition in March this year. It crashed about a month and a half ago… clicking/springy noise. So, I sent it back to WD and what did they send me back? A recertified/refurbished hard drive.. what a scam!!! The drive I bought came in a factory box and all … WD logo…. the shit drive they sent me back came in a cardboard box. What an outright scam!! That they would do that to a long time customer!! I just recently bought a 4tb black edition from best buy. I hope it doesn’t break and WD sends me back a piece of shit refurbished HD…. really disappointed here… NEVER buying WD again!!!

      7. Did the Gold drives replace the Ultrastar® 7200 RPM Enterprise-class hard drives? I have a GRaid that has 2 6TB Ultrastars that I made into one 12tb drive. I’m a professional photographer with large files, thanks!

      8. ————————— 12/07/2022

        I bought the WD Purple thinking that it was an 18tb hdd for pc 🙁 and I saw that it was for video surveillance, can I use it on my pc? It would be too slow despite having 7200 RPM and 512 mb of cache, using it on my PC would break any other component? or can I use it without problem, I have an Asus z690 Hero board and a 1600w power supply

      9. I’m right now in a tossup of which Western Digital hard drive to order. I have a Seagate 1 TB drive that, just this morning when I woke up, started doing this thing where it goes on, off, on, off, on, off, then shuts off completely. Mind you, I’ve had this hard drive since September 2, 2011, and I use it for virtual instruments. If this is a mechanical failure, how do I get my instrument samples off the drive to put on a new one? Somebody please help!

      10. WD green might be the slowest but they are the most reliable..My 10 yrs old WDC-WD10EARS 1TB is as good as new with no problems till date.Touch wood and thanks WD for making such an amazing and reliable drive..I use it as sec storage and its excellent.

      11. Thanks mate. Very informative stuff. You have the best disk channel on youtube. Please also make a comparison of noise level of different hard disks because noise level is very important aspect for home users and is often ignored. I found no information about it noise on your channel or elsewhere.

      12. Thank You this is EXTREMELY useful – but – I am still slightly confused (sorry) – I am wanting a 5 bay JBOD system for both daily access (I am a photographer) but also for storage. As it is a JBOD system am I best going for 2 black drives for the daily routines and reds for storage – or am I overthinking it ??? Any help MUCH appreciated !!

      13. I took my WD MyBook Live apart, as I was one of those who lost all data, and the drive is a Green 3Tb. I have also taken apart lots of Sky boxes and they are Green AV drives. I also have USB 500Mb drive that is Blue.
        Found your explanation excellent.
        Q In a new Synology NAS should the Plex stuff ideally go on a green AV HDD as it is only going to be read (once written)