Gigantic Hard Drive Test: Big, Fast, and Not Too Expensive

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Monstrous hard drives from 8TB offer large storage capacity and comparatively fast performance. But how is fast access to data achieved with such a high recording density? The trick is this: some huge hard drives are filled with helium, which makes it possible to spin at higher speeds with large platter capacities.

8 TB hard drives or more: SSDs can go broke

For private use, SSDs of 8TB or more are a waste. Starting from the mark of 2 TB, the border is reached, beyond which prices rise abruptly. Classic hard drives are still the «first choice» for those who want to store large amounts of data. Giant hard drives offer a decent pace when copying or moving large files. And the larger the capacity of the device, and with it the higher the data density, the faster the disk itself is obtained. However, magnetic hard drives cannot yet match the speed of SSD drives.

In recent years, with the help of innovative solutions, manufacturers have endowed magnetic hard disk technology with ever higher density and data transfer speed. In the case of conventional models, the limit of what is possible at the level of 8 TB has actually been reached. However, in order to further increase the amount of information placed, manufacturers are using alternative technologies: fast models with a capacity of 10 to 14 TB are hermetically sealed, and inside they have helium instead of air.

Helium is 86 percent less resistant to magnetic disks and other rotating parts of the device than air. Due to the reduction of turbulence, the control of the movement of the heads is more precise, despite the smaller thickness of the disks and the greater filigree of the read head. As a result, more read heads and more disks with higher data density fit in the case. In addition, lower resistance to rotating parts results in improved energy efficiency of the drive despite the high spindle speed of 7200 rpm.

Rating leader up to 10 TB: Seagate Exos X X10 10TB

Seagate Exos X X10 10TB is the leader of the general test and the record holder in the CHIP rating. It benefits primarily from short read access times and high data transfer rates of up to 200 MB/s. In addition, in a special way during the tests, a slight energy consumption was also manifested. The helium-filled leader in the ranking proved to be significantly more economical than conventional smaller models. Since the start of sales of the Seagate Exos X X10 10TB has already become significantly cheaper and now you can get it by paying approximately 250$.

The 9ms write access time is not on par with other hard drives, but you won’t notice it. The Seagate Exos X X10 10TB wins the final score. When buying a hard drive, it is important to pay attention to the five-year warranty. Some companies buy Enterprise drives as OEM data center drives and then sell the OEM drives individually. At the same time, guarantees are valid only as provided by law.

Gigantic Hard Drive Test: Big, Fast, and Not Too ExpensiveRating leader up to 10 TB: Seagate Exos X X10 10TB

Best 12TB to 14TB Hard Drive: Western Digital Gold 12TB

Those who need even more disk space and want to have an absolute leader in write performance will opt for the Western Digital Gold 12TB. The access time in the above area is at an unbeatable 5ms. And when reading data, this hard drive is only 1 ms behind the leader in the rating. Like the Seagate Exos X X10 10TB, this model from Western Digital is focused primarily on use in data centers and is optimized for performance, not for operating noise.

The power consumption of the Western Digital Gold 12TB with its 5.6W is comparatively low. In terms of data transfer speed, the disk, which is in second place in our rating, is also excellent: all indicators are at the 200 MB / s mark. In addition, Western Digital also provides a 5-year warranty. However, a significantly higher cost is striking here: a 12-terabyte disk costs about 390$.

Gigantic Hard Drive Test: Big, Fast, and Not Too ExpensiveRating leader over 10 TB: Western Digital Gold 12TB

Value for money leader: Toshiba N300 8TB

Top performance comes at a price, so those who can settle for less will also be happy with the Toshiba N300 8TB. This hard drive is based on conventional technologies and is not filled with helium, but, nevertheless, he managed to climb to the third place in the rating of drives. First of all, this model is the undisputed leader in terms of price-quality ratio among XXL drives: Toshiba N300 8TB is currently available at a super-price of 170$.

At the same time, in terms of performance, the Toshiba N300 8TB literally steps on the heels of its helium-filled competitors: although the data transfer rate during reading is somewhat lower, this model also reaches the benchmark mark of 200 MB / s when writing. In terms of data access time, it also does not lag behind. Only in terms of power consumption with its 7.2 W Toshiba N300 8TB still differs significantly from its competitors. However, for a conventional hard drive, these figures are still relatively good.

Gigantic Hard Drive Test: Big, Fast, and Not Too ExpensiveValue for money leader: Toshiba N300 8TB

Price/quality alternative: Seagate IronWolf 10TB

Alternatively, you can take the Seagate IronWolf 10TB. When comparing top models, this hard drive offers a good compromise: with 10 TB it has more storage space than the Toshiba N300 8TB, and in terms of value for money, it also differs positively. The Seagate model can be purchased for approximately 230$.

But the buyer will have to make concessions in the field of performance, since the data access time for reading is 15 ms, that is, there is a big lag behind the leader in the rating. But in other performance disciplines, the Seagate IronWolf 10TB is quite competitive.

Gigantic Hard Drive Test: Big, Fast, and Not Too ExpensivePrice/quality alternative: Seagate IronWolf 10TB

What to look for when choosing hard drives for NAS systems

Which XXL disc is the best and what you should pay attention to when choosing depends on the intended use. If you’re looking for just one high-capacity drive for your desktop PC, it doesn’t make sense to pay attention to power and cooling, but just enjoy the drive’s performance to the fullest.

If you are planning to build a NAS server with several hard drives, then the level of energy consumption also starts to play a certain role, since we can talk about heat dissipation, for which the NAS system case is simply not designed. Since helium-filled hard drives from 10TB are usually quite energy efficient, this question concerns mostly 8TB models. At the same time, 8 W should be taken beyond the border, which should be taken in order not to overheat the NAS system. It also makes no sense to choose to use hard drives with a low spindle speed.

A feature that can be encountered with 8 terabyte hard drives, and sometimes with smaller models, is the alternative storage technology «Shingled Magnetic Recording» (SMR). Unlike the conventional Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) technology, here the data tracks are not written next to each other, but one above the other like tiles. This increases the capacity of the hard drive, but this is done, unfortunately, at the expense of speed. For this reason, SMR models are not intended for desktops or NAS systems, but as a backup drive for storing large amounts of data. Hard drives of this type are not always recognizable by marking, but sometimes the designation “for archival models” is found. They are not very widespread, the most popular models are Seagate Archive and Seagate Exos 5E8.

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