Update 5/15/2023 WD continues to be amazingly bad. The support website is back up, and I attempted to sign up for a return (under the 30 day return policy). The website informed me that my product is beyond the 30 day window for free returns. This is true, but only because the WD support website was down for a month. I went to plan B - process an RMA. Registered the drive, filled out RMA forms, including authorizing a charge to my credit card to cover return shipping. Looked good until the very last SUBMIT, when I got a response “Error processing ROM - stat code 355”. And now the WD RMA process will no longer accept my drive serial number. TOTAL FAIL three ways for Western Digital.
I can confirm you that the manufacture data of the WD 18 Tb Gold HDD can vary depending on factors such as production schedules and inventory levels. It is not unusual for a recently purchased drive to have a manufacture date that is a few months old. It doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem with the drive’s quality or performance. Regards