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I was looking through Western Digital drives, and noticed their WD Red Spec Sheet says

WD Red is designed specifically for NAS systems that have 1 to 8 drive bays

WD Gold has no such mention.

Why is this? Is it the vibration? Is it bad to put 12 WD Reds into the same enclosure?

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For the most part, yes your assumption is correct. Having too many drives in an enclosure without having any vibration dampening can cause a large amount of damage to the platters due to head crashes. Each time one of the drives spins up or down, there's a slight amount of vibration that can pulsate throughout the entire bay that the drive is in. There's also some natural vibration that will occur while the drive is on. This can be felt if you hold a hard drive while it's working. The WD Gold drives are designed specifically with vibration dampening technology, so they're tailor made for being in a massive array of other drives. Take note that these are only for very small vibrations, and they're not designed to be dropped as that would be bad.

A few pros and cons of the WD rainbow can be seen here: Understanding the WD Rainbow. I am not affiliated with them, but they have a good article that can help you decide which hard drive(s) to get.

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  • Is that why some enclosures have "staggered spinup"? Jul 4, 2017 at 6:15
  • No, staggered spinup is to keep the power consumption from spiking beyond what a power supply can provide. Spinning up the hard drive is one of the most power hungry things a hard drive can do. The Wiki has some good info on this.
    – Blerg
    Jul 4, 2017 at 7:05
  • This is why I hate HDDs. Long live SSDs!!!
    – Fusseldieb
    Jul 4, 2017 at 16:59
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WD Reds have medium vibration.

WD Red Pros have attenuated vibration, just like WD Golds, therefore can be used in larger numbers.

In a proper infrastructure, vibration should not be a big problem. It's not like you align them on a table and use them like that.

Also, using good NASes can reduce vibration a lot. You can even use WD Blacks if the vibration reduction is good. It's just a matter of finding a good balance.

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