This is a user forum. As an “IT-expert”, you should be directing your technical questions to WD’s Tech Support, who will no doubt pass them on to WD’s engineering or manufacturing departments.
That said, I’m an electrical engineer and, FWIW, in my “expert” opinion you should be examining the following:
(1) Determine the drive’s warranty status by typing its serial number into WD’s online warranty checker:
IIRC, the warranty period will be 1, 2, 3, or 5 years, plus a few months.
(2) Examine the date codes on the PCB. You will need a Torx 6 screwdriver.
For example, see this board:
Notice the “3709” on the PCB below pin #1 of the Samsung SDRAM. That’s telling you that the PCB was manufactured during the 37th week of 2009.
Now look at the markings on each of the chips:
Samsung SDRAM at location U2 - “940”
Marvell 88i9045 MCU at U5 - “0942”
SMOOTH chip at U1 - “0943”
Winbond “BIOS” IC at U12 - “0938”
The chip markings are date codes in YWW or YYWW (Year / Week) format. For example, the SMOOTH chip was manufactured during the 43rd week of 2009.
Clearly the drive cannot have been manufactured before week 43 of 2009.