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Seagate NAS 4TB HDD Enterprise Review

Seagate NAS 4TB HDD Enterprise Review
Seagate's 4TB NAS HDD provides a direct competitor to the WD Red line from WD. We place them head-to-head to see which comes out on top.
| HDDs in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Oct 10, 2013 2:05 am
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Seagate

Introduction

 

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The Seagate NAS HDD Series is geared for use in 1-5 drive bay NAS for SMB or home users. The Seagate NAS HDD comes in capacities of 1TB, 2TB, 3TB and 4TB in a 3.5" form factor. The Seagate NAS HDD features a SATA 6Gb/s connection and 64MB of multi-segmented cache. Seagate's NAS HDD spins at a faster rate of 5,900 RPM when compared to the competing NAS HDD from WD, which spins at 5,400 RPM. The drive also sports a maximum SDR (Sustained Data Rate) of 180 MB/s.

 

For years, a visitor to a tech forum would find a veritable flood of posts in the NAS section asking which desktop HDD's are best for NAS usage. Surprisingly, many of these posts from those in the hunt for reliable and reasonably priced HDD's weren't always 'typical' consumers, they also encompassed many in the SMB and SOHO environment. While higher-end nearline and enterprise HDD's have always been advised for NAS usage, many balked at the high price and actively sought out cheaper alternatives.

 

Finding a desktop HDD that will work in any one of the hundreds of different NAS models can become somewhat of a gamble. Many times users will find a HDD that will simply plug in and work, but then become plagued by issues with repetitive unnecessary RAID rebuilds. This stems from the TLER (Time Limited Error Recovery) settings on common desktop HDDs. While TLER comes under different names depending upon the manufacturer of the HDD, the basic premise is the same.

 

Even during normal operation, HDD's are prone to errors when reading and writing data to the platters. There are a number of techniques utilized by the HDD to combat and repair these errors. During the frantic attempt to correct an error, the HDD stops communicating with the NAS. If the repair takes more than seven seconds, the vast majority of RAID systems will drop the HDD from the array. Once dropped the user has to withstand a long rebuild period, during which the performance of the NAS is greatly impacted. There really aren't many storage solutions slower than a degraded RAID 5, and for home users this can become an exercise in futility.

 

For those relying upon a NAS in an SMB or SOHO environment (such as a dentist, veterinarian, or lawyer's office), this slow performance can actually result in a massive impact upon their ability to conduct work in a timely fashion. Another TLER error during the rebuild period can result in a total loss of all the data stored on the NAS, turning an inconvenience, into a disaster.

 

Enter the new NAS HDD's from Seagate. These HDD's, like the ones offered by WD, are designed to combat the TLER problem head on. If the error recovery takes longer than the appointed time, a NAS HDD can actually communicate with the RAID code, informing it that there is a problem with data recovery. This hands the problem off to the NAS, allowing the NAS to repair the error itself. The NAS will perform a targeted RAID rebuild, only repairing the effected data. This results in reliable and efficient performance in RAID environments.

 

The Seagate NAS HDD's are qualified with all major NAS vendors, and feature other enhancements to optimize them for NAS usage. NASware is a suite of firmware features that improves drive reliability, provides vibration reduction, and delivers optimized power settings. Vibration from other HDDs in a multi-bay NAS can introduce performance and reliability concerns. This is combated with a dual plane balance system to provide less vibration than typical desktop HDD's.

 

The lower thermal threshold of a NAS HDD also protects the inner workings of the NAS from excessive heat, and reduces the amount of fan noise in models with self-adjusting fans.

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