There is more to the current NAS HDD story than what we presented today. The first is the competition, a major consideration when shopping. Traditionally the Western Digital Red product line was Seagate's largest competition in this market. WD hasn't updated the two series since the 10TB models came to market in mid-2017. The Red series still operates at 5,400 RPMs. Users need to upgrade to the Red Pro series to get 7,200 RPM platters. Toshiba recently released an update to the N300 Series but the drives only scale to 10TB. HGST also has a NAS specific series, Deskstar NAS, and it only scales to 10TB.
Seagate didn't invent the Helium-filled HDD, but it's one of the only companies to use the technology to continue a rigorous release schedule with consumer and SMB-class products. Other companies use the technology, but most of those products have a heavy focus on the datacenter. The newer WD Reds also use Helium to stuff a large number of platters in drives, but the release schedule has grown longer with each new release.
As it sits right now, Seagate is the only company with a 14TB consumer class NAS HDD. Most of our reader's attention should be on the non-Pro IronWolf for use in NAS appliances. The base model supports up to eight drives in a system and most of us don't populate massive rackmount systems in our homes.
The base IronWolf delivers exceptional performance. The 7,200-RPM design means you won't have buyer's remorse from buying a slower 5,400 RPM model. In our testing, the IronWolf in smaller arrays and as a single drive is actually slightly faster than the IronWolf Pro.
The unintended consequences of the new 14TB drives coming to market for shoppers is it drives the cost down for the smaller models. The IronWolf 12TB is now down to $399, and the 10TB is down to $299. When building a high capacity array, it's often cheaper to use more drives that have less capacity. This is also dependent on your NAS, but a good reason to buy an appliance that runs five disks instead of just four. You will also see a performance benefit in using five drivers over four.
The Seagate IronWolf continues to be a strong choice for shoppers looking to fill new NAS systems. The drives are quiet and run cool thanks to Helium-filled technology. Some may have written off platter-based technology but recent innovations have made these products more reliable, significantly faster, and they are still the most cost-effective way to hold large volumes of data.
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