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Toshiba MG03ACA400 4TB Enterprise HDD Review

Toshiba MG03ACA400 4TB Enterprise HDD Review
Toshiba's MG03ACA400 4TB Enterprise HDD offers a capacity-intensive Tier-2 solution for storage of unstructured data. Let's take a close look at it.
By: Paul Alcorn | HDDs in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Aug 13, 2013 2:02 am
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: Toshiba





The Toshiba MG03ACA400 is a 3.5" 7,200 RPM HDD that comes with a 6Gb/s SATA connection available in capacities of 1TB, 2TB, 3TB and 4TB. The MG03ACAx00 series of HDD's is designed for entry-level server workloads and capacity-intensive Tier-2 networked storage systems.


An explosion of unstructured 'cold' data that requires storage in large capacities fuels the growing need for massive amounts of data storage. This increasing demand for data storage has led the leaders of HDD manufacturing to rapidly increase the amount of storage available per drive over the past few years. This trend is reflected in the number of Terabytes shipped per year. In 2012, the HDD industry shipped 53% more Terabytes for enterprise applications than were shipped in 2011.


This trend is accelerating, and even more shocking are the projections for a jump of 83% of total Terabytes shipped this year. This rapid expansion in shipped capacity is surprisingly being met with only a 25% increase in the actual number of HDDs produced. This disparity between capacities in comparison to the number of units shipped is indicative of the rapid gains in HDD technology that are expanding the capacity available per unit.


Serving this need for storage of data in a cost efficient and economical manner has become the driving force behind a spate of recently announced large capacity HDDs from the major HDD manufacturers.


The Toshiba MG03ACA400 is offered with a number of features well suited for the Tier-2 storage space. The rotational speed of 7,200 RPM spins five platters with 800GB of capacity each. The 3TB models feature four platters with 750GB of capacity each. Both capacities provide the same average latency of 4.17ms, but different sustained transfer rates. The 4TB version supplies 165 MB/s of sequential transfer speed and the 3TB model comes in with a slightly lower speed of 155 MB/s.


Both models feature 64MB of cache that comes in the form of a FIFO ring buffer. The MG03ACA series of HDD's averages a standard 11.6 Watts of power consumption under load, but the real benefits kick in during idle periods. With the focus on Tier-2 storage of relatively cold data, this type of HDD will experience more idle time than upper-tier HDD's with higher performance that are under constant load. Toshiba has provided a low power idle mode that reduces the power consumption of the HDD down to a miserly 6.0 Watts during these periods of inactivity.


The MG03ACA family of HDDs also features models with a 'Y' attached to the end of the product number. These MG03ACAx00Y models feature enhanced encryption capabilities. T13-compliant SANITIZE crypto-scramble and T13 ATA security erase also offer an extra level of protection for data security and can wipe the drives clean in seconds. These features also save money in the event of the retirement or repurposing of HDDs by eliminating long overwrite cycles and the need for physical destruction of the HDD's. The MG03ACA series of HDD's from Toshiba also feature a SAS variant with the MG03SCA product distinction. Look to TweakTown for a review of the SAS model soon.


The Toshiba Mg03ACAx000 series of HDDs is backed by a five year warranty. The MG03ACA series seeks to provide the right balance of performance, efficiency, availability and capacity for the growing low-cost-per-GB storage segment.

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