The Seagate NAS HDD is designed to satiate the needs of the booming NAS market. The rapid expansion of the NAS market, and its massive projected future growth, has spurred both WD and Seagate to address what used to be a niche market.
With NAS-specific features that streamline error management, users no longer have to worry about unnecessary RAID rebuilds and sporadic losses of data that can be encountered when using typical desktop HDD's. The higher price of nearline and enterprise-class HDDs are also a distant memory with the emerging NAS class of HDD's. The days of spotty compatibility are a thing of the past, with both manufacturers providing an extensive compatibility matrix with all major NAS suppliers.
Lower power consumption is a major advantage of NAS HDD's, especially in idle states. The Seagate NAS and the Red are closely matched at idle power specifications, but the Seagate NAS HDD provides lower power consumption and higher efficiency during heavy use with most random workloads.
Unfortunately, this lower power consumption also equates to lower performance, with the WD Red leading in every random workload we tested. An area of interest is the much tighter performance profile of the Seagate NAS HDD. Even though it is slower in random workloads, tighter performance usually results in better performance in RAID arrays. We will be posting a RAID report with both the Seagate NAS HDD and the WD Reds in the coming days to explore the performance in RAID 0 and RAID 5 scenarios.
With sequential data, the Seagate NAS HDD excels with pure read and write workloads. These types of workloads are very prevalent in NAS usage models, particularly during large file transfers and video streaming activities. The Seagate NAS HDD is well suited for these workloads, and users will experience a tangible speed boost. The adaptive nature of the Seagate NAS HDD also allows it to switch gears when it senses sustained sequential throughput, providing a higher level of performance.
The Seagate NAS HDD also provides a quieter noise level during operation, with a 3-decibel difference between it and the WD Red. The lower power consumption of the Seagate NAS will also provide a lower heat output, which can help to keep NAS fans from speeding up to louder levels during use.
Both drives are priced within the same price range, with the 4TB versions hovering around $200-$220 at the time of writing. With similar warranties and features, users will have to make their decision based upon their workload. Those with a heavy random workload requirement, such as webservers, fileservers and database applications, will be better served with the WD Red. For those with heavier streaming workloads and large file transfer scenarios, the Seagate NAS provides a faster alternative. Both HDDs provide a much better alternative than using typical desktop HDDs.
With the three-year warranty and 24x7 durability of the Seagate NAS HDD, along with its lower power consumption and faster sequential transfer speeds, the NAS drive will find its way into many mainstream user NAS systems.