Short answer: I’d definitely return them and get the “regular” desktop version if at all possible. If your reseller won’t accept returns, you could try eBaying them as drives for TiVo and compatible DVRs. The EAVS drives are the ones I upgraded my TiVos with.
AV drives are a bit of a specialized animal.
The WD EARS, EADS are fine.
The EVxx drives are tuned for continuous consumer media use, meaning “stuff that isn’t completely destroyed by the occasional glitch” primarily DVRs.
The drive is made to continuously accept multiple streams of data. You’d think this makes the drive better, but in the case of the AV drives, this isn’t the case, as they are made to “just keep going” since a glitch in a streaming/live video stream quickly goes away. You’ve likely seen these with satellite or digital TV - the occasional block or “smear of blocks” - most people don’t even notice. That’s the trade-off made for lower heat, lower latency (so the DVR can keep up with stuff like recording two streams while playing back a third), and possibly lower noise.
The Enterprise drives and “RAID edition” ones are also made to run 24/7, but they’re tuned for performance and assume (err, require) better cooling in a server (ventilated rack) type environment.
Now you might be thinking “Well I should get a RAID drive for Drobo!” but for Drobo’s not a super-high-performance RAID system, it’s a middle-of-the-road one. So there’s not a lot of benefit with using “RAID edition” drives in Drobo. It doesn’t hurt (except perhaps for increased heat and therefore more fan noise from Drobo), but it doesn’t really help either.
Drobo’s kind of like a car designed for 89 octane gasoline. You can feed it 92 octane and it might run a bit better, but probably isn’t worth the extra cost. But if you feed it 87 octane, it’ll still run, but might hiccup and be problematic in the long run.
I recommend DRI add a note to the knowledgebase on this, as the forum isn’t available pre-sale.
Actually, there used to be specific WD models mentioned in the knowledgebase, which is how I knew to feed mine WD20EADS drives in particular, but I’m not finding the specific model mention anymore.
As for non-WD drives… some other forum posters have reported using Seagate, Hitachi and Samsung drives, but I stuck with the WD20EADS in particular because it had been mentioned as approved when I checked DRI’s knowledgebase before I bought my Drobos.
Hope that helps,