Are WD drives CHEAPER to buy as externals and then throw away the casing?


I am looking for a few new WD 5Tb drives to put in a small home server - The cheapest ones seem to retail around £160 for a WD Blue or £170 for WD Red.

You can buy a “WD Elements Desktop 5TB 3.5” External HDD Black" for £119. Which must contain a WD drive - (Most likely a WD Green)?

Does anyone know what drive is inside the Externals and can they simply be pulled out of the casing, popped in a server and reformatted?

The price difference is annoying for only one drive, but if you are buying 4 it’s worth a £200 saving!?!?

Any thoughts?

Hi there,

There is no specific model inside WD external drives, however In my opinion this will vary from the size of the external drive, going from there this could help determine what type of drive is inside, but it will not be a sure match. Lets see if another user can share some information or tips on this matter.

It usually costs less to buy bare drives vs drives in enclosures; especially if you only want to use the drive and not enclosure. Also, if you are making a server you WANT to know for sure what drive it is. Additionally, for a server, anything less than a fast WD Black is inadvisable. Reds are fine too, but costlier.

Here in the US a good supplier of bare HDs is You may not have access to them, so next suggestion is Amazon. And (I have to say this,) there are also other good brands of drives that may cost less than WD drives. You are putting together a server with many drives, so don’t cut too many corners.

Hi mike,

I don’t want to cut corners… I just don’t want to pay £170 for a bare drive that is wrapped and packed and sold for £120 in a case !!

The reason is that (and I’m guessing here) WD and the shops know that exte drive buyers are less picky about part numbers and only look at the size… So manufacturers sell the same kit to them for less money dumpy to get market share.

So same question again- does anyone know the part numbers I the external drives 5tb models ?

Come on WD - you must be embarrassed by this!! :slight_smile:

I forgot to mention. I specifically wanted low power drives otherwise I would have bought a bucket of x300’s. Only drawback is that they are loud and fast. Price diff means you can shove in a few hot spares for the same money.

I already said that bare drives cost less than ones in enclosures. At least that is the case in US from ONLINE sellers! The drive model in an enclosure is almost never disclosed in specs. Good luck with your project.

Hi mike, simply put. you are wrong.

Bare drives in the UK cost £50 MORE than ones in enclosures. !!! That is crazy !! Sure!! Check out any UK site like!!


OK, I admit the prices of either are rather close, and prices can go either way depending upon if you pay “regular price” or “on sale price”. In addition, the “best” drives are never inside an enclosure where you can’t see the actual drive. They include the bottom of line drives.

And even more unbelievable is that “low power drives” (aka “green drives”) turned out to be a marketing ploy. Some companies have quit making them and/or re-branding them. Examples – see these links:

Now, back to drive comparative prices. I selected to use for comparisons, prices for Seagate drives instead of WD, or any other brands, because Newegg has a “Seagate Store” within the site that helped compare apples with apples. All drives are 4TB models.

First up is the External drive in enclosure.

Second and third drives coming up are the same 4TB bare drive at regular price and the on-sale price from last week’s email ad from Newegg. This is a bottom of line drive, and most likely the one inside the enclosure:
Regular price:

On-sale price:

So, I am not “wrong”, but I am not completely “right” either. BTW, these are 5400rpm drives, I believe.

Lots of research…

… however it appears equivalent WD drives, in th UK, cost a lot more than enclosed ones. FACT.

I wish it wasnt! :slight_smile:

Yes, it was a bit of research. I probably should have been doing something “more important”, but I didn’t. :wink:

Since you want to make a server and fill it with drives, I wonder if you already have the “box” to encase it all in? If not I will suggest you look into the WD line of NAS devices.

I have one called a DL2100 with two bays, each has a 4TB WD Red drive and configured as RAID1. I have been using it a little over a year, and I like it a lot. It has been trouble free, too. Has all our media files on it to serve it up to over twenty connected devices in home network.

Here is the link to the two NAS series of both EX and DL (WD’s Business class NAS, w/faster CPU than EX) Ask me any questions if you want to about them. If you get them w/drives included you do save some money that way and the thing is ready to go!