How To Buy Cheap 3TB HDDs with 3 Years Warranty … …

This is something that may be only valid for this period of time given the high HDD prices ever since the floods in Thailand.  So do all your necessary homework on the prices and warranties before jumping in.

I was looking at around to replace the 5 x 2TB Samsung F4 in my Synology DiskStation 5-Bay NAS DS1511+, only realise that although the Thailand floods have been over for quite a while, the prices of 3TB HDDs have not even gone below those of the pre-flood days.  Making things worse, the HDD manufacturers have also adjusted the warranty periods of their products from 3 years to 1 year for consumer range and 5 to 3 years the premium range.  Makes me wonder if this shows how confident they are in the quality of their products.

Anyway, for 3TB HDDs, the range available in Singapore is not really that many.  Seagate, Hitachi and Western Digital, each got only 1 or 2 of their product lines that are certified to on the DS1511+.  Taking away the highly expensive Enterprise product range, I’m only left with those which are in the price range of about SGD$260 per piece and with only 1 year of warranty.  Then one fine day, I chanced upon a thread in HardWareZone Forums talking about a on-going promotion at Challenger.  The Western Digital Elements 3TB External HDD was selling for SGD$219 for members.  The interesting thing is that folks have found ways of disassembling the external drive to retrieve the Western Digital Caivar Green 3TB HDD inside without damaging the casing, which will be required for future RMA.  The best part is the External Drive comes with 3 years warrnaty instead of the miserable 1 year that comes with Caivar Green series.

According the folks at HardWareZone, there are 2 types of drives.


The difference between them?  The WD30EZRX is running at 7200 RPM compared with the 5400 RPM for the WD30EZRS.  Other than that, the cache and performance seems to be similar.  Anyway, I popped by Challenger and searched through a whole stack of the boxes at store. After about 30 mins, I managed to dig out 5 sets of the WD Elements with DCM MCCCAAB! Think these could be the only ones available at that store and the rest looks like are all with DCM SCCCAAB.

The next step is to take the 3TB HDD out of its cage. Before I did that, I actually used the WD tool to reformat the device, followed by a full check, including the free space scan, of the HDD inside. This is to reduce the chances of wasting my time to take out the HDD when it is already DOA or faulty. Using the WDC tool, the extensive check of the 3TB device takes about 8 hours to complete.  But at least it’s better than finding a broke drive later in the NAS.

Here’s how the WD Elements 3TB looks like, lying there waiting to be operated on.  To dismember the device, one would need to pry over the cover to the external box.  There are not glue or screws involved.  All you need is a tool and some gentle feel on where to pry on to take out the cover.  For me, I used the plastic tool that came with my Mac Mini SSD Upgrade kit that I ordered from a couple of months back.  That was another good experience, upgrading the Mac Mini to SSD, that I should share when I have time to write more.

Using the plastic tool, I went along 1/3 of the distance from the left on the side of the casing whereby the USB and power connectors are.  Then very gently, I manage to insert the flat side of the tool into the groove and give it a small push, to bring the cover slightly open.  The reason why I didn’t use a flat screwdriver for this action is because I know the metal screwdriver will certainly scratch the casing and we will still need this for any warranty claims for the next three years.  With a small opening, then very gently move around the side of the casing until you get the whole cover up.

You can see the 3.5inch HDD sitting very comfortably inside the casing.  Notice that by the corners and sides, there are some black rubber padding protecting the HDD from direct contact with the casing.  You will need to use these rubber paddings to bring the HDD out of the casing.

Once you get the HDD out, you can see very clearly the 4 supporting paddings and also the USB circuit board connected to the HDD.  Flip the whole assembly around and your can see that to remove the circuit board, you will need to unscrew the 2 screws that attached the circuity to the HDD.  Once the screws are removed, gently move the circuit board left and right until the whole board detach itself from the HDD.  Do remember to still keep these parts intact as you will need these for any RMA.

There you have it.  The WD Caivar Green 3TB HDD that you are free to deploy anywhere you want it, with 2 more years of warranty and SGD$50 savings for each one bought.  Good Luck searching for the HDDs you want!