Incompetence from WD support on PMR or SMR drives

I have two drives

And need to know if these are PMR or SMR. Filled out an online email form and received no answer. Called tech support, the 1st agent did not know what PMR or SMR are. And after some coaxing, said that they are both PMR, but that doesn’t make sense because of the weight of the drives and their buffer sizes.

And a supervisor said they can’t disseminate the information I’m asking for. So… Talk about incompetence and a lethargic response - like they didn’t even give a ■■■■. Can’t even answer a simple question on the fundamental technology in the product.

AND GET THIS! The second “technician” said SMR stands for Standard Metabolic Rate! Funny and sad at the same time.

A third time I called in I was told that this information is not available and and cannot be disseminated to customers.


Hello Keith,

You can refer the link provided below for more information on PMR technology.

I don’t need more info on PMR. I need to know which of the drives support it or not.

Please re-read the first sentence of my post.

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My god… That’s really disappointing

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Man, I’m with you there. I just had a 10 Tb drive I paid over 200 USD for and it dies after 2 months. It was SMR. They wouldn’t replace it because I took it out of a MyBook enclosure. The most I got was a 25% coupon… lol Anyway, I asked multiple times about 10 TB drives that were PMR… I asked for model numbers or better still, links to them. No response on that. I ended up buying a manufacturer refurbished 10 TB Gold datacenter drive for $170 on eBay to replace it, because I was certain it was PMR (was right in the description). It said something like “using WD’s PMR technology…” (in other words, the original way used since at least the 80’s).

With this coupon, I’m thinking of getting a 12 TB dual enclosure since the 6 TB drives are all PMR. Some 8’s are SMR, but mostly PMR, and as far as I can tell, most 10 TB drives are SMR. It seems SMR is used to push capacity sooner than PMR is ready for, but they eventually seem to make some (bought a WD gold 7200 RPM drive that’s PMR). I think it’s very unfortunate and quite disappointing that WD has no idea what kind of drives they’re selling, and worse still, SMR drives have a lot of problems that WD is not standing behind. People are reporting firmware corruption, file system corruption (happened to me before it died) and slow speeds after the 30-40 GB temporary space (PMR) on the edges of the platters is filled, leaving you with ~20 MB/s SMR write speeds. The PMR space is like temp work space that is written to at normal drive speed and slowly written to the SMR areas after. This is why the drive continues to work long after a large write operation …it’s flushing the PMR space to SMR area.

I now have to deal with these hidden landmines because WD does not put SMR / PMR on the label, which is very deceptive. I have 1 TB, three 3 TB, one 6 TB and three 8 TB drives that all work well and have for many years, especially the very old 1 and 3 TB drives I bought when they first came out. All were PMR. I’m out $200+ because of this bad SMR tech and am not happy about it at all.

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I hear you completely. I removed WD from our preferred suppliers list unless it’s used material - which then goes into something else - suited for refurb material. But no more WD for mainline storage. It’s the principle behind it all.

WD knows exactly what they’re selling, naturally. But they’re instructed not to reveal this SMR tech.

PMR/CMR, perpendicular/conventional, are essentially the same thing these days. The difference in write tech is just the density. Point is both are proven tech for several decades. SMR not so fast, it’s unreliable, has bug-ridden firmware, is slow, and just seems the wrong way to push storage tech.


This thread explains a lot… Thanks guys!! Well spoken

Thread UPDATE: If your drive has WD-"AX-AZ- I think A Period. Dont quote me on this, But a reliabe source told me that those would be SMR, And unlike prev posts that said its only the 2b-6tb, I can confirm my 10tb shuck from BestBuy is a white label SMR as well…Running the 10tb and 4tb non smr together in JBOD the non smr drive runs about 10c cooler than the other, Dunno just an observation, Probably not related at all, Watching atop from cmdline during big dumps 4tb or more, the 10tb goes red and stays red…


WesternDigital continues to “hide” what technology is used in your hard disk. There is no clear marking of which technology is being used.

In fact they use the technology on mainstream devices like boot drives. Not that anyone would want a mechanical drive as a startup device in this day and age. But there are still low-cost, pennies matter, systems being sold - likely to be purchased users not in the know.

WD was “forced” to start indicating what drives are using SMR. This because certain drives earmarked for use in NAS were not really living up to the performance expected. And thus likely resulted in a ton of RMA’s (bit’em in the ass a little). So now, according to this article, they have made a small attempt at indicating what technology is used and in what drives.

I would fully expect such information to be indicated on the product datasheet. SMR drives are completely unsuitable for for a NAS or performance disk. But fine for archival and backup disks.

Too bad WD doesn’t help the customer know that information without making (the customer) wade through a ridiculous branding scheme of meaningless colors.And even then they’re not telling you everything. The UltraStar, Enterprise, Gold, and Purple series aren’t disclosed either. That means these drives have to use SMR, the slower performer.



I have DOZENS of them, mostly external! STUPID of me!!!

I will choose CAREFULLY from now on, buy INTERNAL drives, and use my own ENCLOSURES! No more ADVANCED FORMAT ■■■■ nor SMR.


Someone said this is part of a RACE for BIGGER capacities. It can be… BUT, before that happens, WD is probably using the most demanding customers / environments to TEST SMR tech so they can DEPLOY them in the bigger capacity DRIVES: 8, 10, 12, 14TB and beyond (do not currently exist). I say this because, WD has the same “infected SMR drives” using the well known PMR tech!

Why is that? Why keep SMR and PMR drives with the SAME capacity in the same line and HIDING this info from customers? So they can target “specific” markets with the SMR drives? It seems like a marketing TEST!!! How BIG is it?

Note that currently, the MAX capacity drive using SMR is the 6TB WD60EFAX, with 3 platters / 6 heads… So… is that it?? Is WD USING RAID / more demanding users as “guinea pigs” to test SMR and then move on and use SMR on +14TB drives??? I’m thinking YES!! And this is VERY BAD NEWS. I don’t want a mechanical disk that overlaps tracks and has to write adjacent tracks just to write a specific track!!!

Customers MUST be informed of this new tech, even those using EXTERNAL SINGLE DRIVES ENCLOSURES!!! I have many WD external drives, and i DON’T WANT any drive with SMR!!! Period!

Gladly, i checked my WD ELEMENTS drives, a NONE of the internal drives is PLAGUED by SMR! (BTW, if you ask WD how to know the DRIVE MODEL inside an external WD enclosure, they will tell you it’s impossible!!! WTF is that??? WD technicians don’t have a way to query the drive and ask for the model number?? Well, i got new for you: crystaldiskinfo CAN!!! How about that? Stupid WD support… )

So, if anyone needs to know WHAT INTERNAL DRIVE MODEL they have in their WD EXTERNAL ENCLOSURES, install and COPY PAST the info to the clipboard! (EDIT -> COPY or CTRL-C). Paste it to a text editor, and voila!!!

(1) WDC WD20EARX-00PASB0 : 2000,3 GB [1/0/0, sa1] - wd
(2) WDC WD40EFRX-68N32N0 : 4000,7 GB [2/0/0, sa1] - wd
(3) WDC WD1600BEVS-22UST0 : 160,0 GB [3/0/0, sa1] - wd

Compare this with the “INFECTED” SMR drive list, and you’re good to go!

Hey Boss, WD is being sued over this. You can read my write up about SMR on my site.