WD wants you to identify their hard drives by colour

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At a Western Digital press conference in Midrand recently, we were taken through the company’s new branding initiative by Kalvin Subbadu, WD South Africa’s sales manager. Apparently, it is Western Digital ambition to have consumers identify its hard drive ranges and functions by colour, as opposed to direct knowledge of their technical specifications.

We were told that all hard drives are not created equal; what might work in one situation, probably won’t in another, and so it’s very important to buy the right drive for the right application. A low-power, 5400RPM eco-friendly drive isn’t a great choice for a performance desktop PC, for example, just like a performance drive isn’t the smartest choice for 24/7 surveillance footage recording.

Subbadu said that choosing the right drive is now a simple matter of answering two questions: what do you want to use it for, and how much capacity do you need? The answers will direct you to one of WD’s hard drive categories:


If you’re familiar with Western Digital’s products, you’ll notice that in addition to the usual Blue, Green and Black, there are two new categories in there, namely Red and Purple and that the logos look different to how they did a month ago, too.

Here’s the key to interpreting them:

Blue: These are regular desktop and notebook hard drives, spinning at what is considered “normal” speeds for those applications, which means 5400RPM for notebook drives and 7200RPM for desktop drives. They work well in everyday PCs and notebooks, and offer a good combination of speed and capacities of between 500GB and 4TB.

Green: These are WD’s eco-friendly drives. They offer capacities of between 500GB and 4TB, but they have been designed from the ground up to use less power, which means they are not quite as fast as Blue drives. These are the drives to go for when capacity and power-efficiency are more important than speed.

Black: Any drive in the Black series is designed for performance. If you have a gaming PC and you want your operating system to boot faster, or you want games to load faster, you’ll want a Black drive. You’ll find Black drives cover everything from fast desktop drives to solid-state disks to WD’s brand-new Dual Drive technology that has an SSD and a regular hard drive sandwiched into a single 9mm enclosure. You’ll also find WD’s 10,000RPM Veolciraptor drives in this category.

Red: This one is relatively new, having only launched in July of 2012, and it encompasses drives that are designed for use in Network Attached Storage setups. They’re specifically designed to be on and working 24/7, which other drives aren’t, and of course they support capacities of up to 4TB. If you are running a multi-drive NAS device, these are the drives to populate its bays with.

Purple: This is the newest category, introduced as recently as the 28th of February, 2014. Purple represents drives that have been purpose-built to work in surveillance solutions that record footage to hard drives 24/7, and as such they have been designed to withstand incredible heat of up to 75 degrees Celcius, they’re quieter than the average desktop hard drive and they feature very fast write speeds that can handle up to 32 simultaneous HD camera feeds at once.

Do you find the new explanations easier to digest? Let us know in the comments.

Deon du Plessis

Deon du Plessis

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.