The pace of areal density increases have slowed as we reach the end of PMR's scalability. However, ingenious innovations by Seagate deliver a big 50 percent capacity boost up to 6TB for their Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD v4. Recently, Seagate also announced plans to roll out 8 and 10TB drives in the near future. This could be the result of utilizing SMR in a similar design as the v4, or it could even be the arrival of long-awaited HAMR technology.
Seagate has brought a great entry to address the increasing capacity demands of the datacenter. The Seagate v4 addresses a few key challenges that present themselves when expanding capacity. The most common objections center around excessive RAID rebuild periods. Long RAID rebuild times with current 4TB HDDs has led to the use of performance-inhibiting architectures, such as object storage and advanced erasure coding, to circumvent the inevitable rebuilds. Seagate's RAID Rebuild technology, which will eliminate full rebuilds in many scenarios, is finally gaining traction. The increased speed of the v4 can also help keep full rebuilds within a reasonable timeframe. The significantly slower He6 could suffer in this category.
A huge pain point in the datacenter is power consumption, which brings about unavoidable comparisons between the Seagate v4 and the HGST He6. Both companies considered power heavily during the design process, but their divergent paths optimize for different objectives. HGST focused on a new design that could pave the way for future expansion. The He6 provides remarkable power consumption, but performance remained static, and in some cases decreased, from previous generation drives.
Seagate optimized for performance efficiency, and though the V4's power consumption doesn't dip as low as the He6, it brings a big boost in efficiency. Power requirements per TB are important, and the V4 consumes only 1.87W-per-TB, a decrease from 2.81W-per-TB for previous generation drives. Administrators can effectively add 50 percent more capacity within the same power budget. Enabling PowerChoice idle power modes also supplies an advantage that can reduce idle power by 32 percent per TB.
We didn't pull any punches in comparing power consumption and efficiency; the 7K4000 has been the most efficient 7,200 RPM drive for some time, and the He6 lowers the bar even further. In our testing, we found the Seagate v4 consumed more power than the He6 and 7K4000 across the board, but its higher overall performance kept it within 4-6 IOPS-per-Watt of the HGST competitors, particularly in mixed workloads. The v4's operating efficiency even unseated the 7K4000 in sequential workloads. Overall, we came away impressed with the efficiency of the Seagate v4.
Perhaps most importantly, the Seagate v4 doesn't sacrifice performance to increase power efficiency; it actually makes a big leap forward. Overall, the Seagate v4 is the fastest 7,200 RPM drive available today. In sequential tests, it led by a large margin over both drives, and it easily mastered our mixed sequential testing. The 7K4000 mustered a challenge in random read scenarios, while the v4 dominated in random write performance. The Seagate v4 led mixed random testing and scored very well in our workload testing, taking two of the three tests.
The Seagate v4 is clearly the fastest 6TB on the market. The performance of the He6 never encroached into the territory of the Seagate v4, which is not surprising considering its focus on efficiency. The differentiators between the Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD v4 and the HGST He6 are almost night and day, and the needs of the operating environment will dictate purchasing decisions. The price of power consumption over several years can total as much as initial product acquisition costs, making the He6 enticing for those who value frugal power consumption above performance considerations. It also has an advantage in the some niche markets, such as immersion cooling designs.
The Seagate v4 will appeal to a wider audience. Its friendlier price point is attractive, and a boost in performance is always welcome in nearline environments. The v4 also brings improvements in power-per-TB efficiency that easily beats any 4TB offering. Seagate has provided an entire family of drives instead of a single capacity point. This brings the same advantages, such as untouchable sequential speed, to a wider range of drives.
The Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD v4 delivers a big jump in density, impressive performance gains, and even increased power efficiency. With its five-year warranty, class-leading performance, and host of enterprise class features, it earns the TweakTown Editor's Choice Award.
PRICING: You can find the Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD v4 (6TB) for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD v4 (6TB) retails for $596.33 at Amazon.
- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Seagate Enterprise Capacity v4 Internals and Specifications]
- Page 3 [Test System and Methodology]
- Page 4 [Benchmarks - 4k Random Read/Write]
- Page 5 [Benchmarks - 8k Random Read/Write]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - 128k Sequential Read/Write]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - Database/OLTP and File Server]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks - Email Server]
- Page 9 [Final Thoughts]
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