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Seagate Surveillance ST4000VX000 4TB HDD Review

Seagate's Surveillance HDD solution hits the market in two capacities. Read on as we look at the 4TB model and see just how it performs under our tests.

@TylerBernath
Published Thu, Jun 5 2014 8:08 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:00 PM CST
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: Seagate

Introduction & Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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With WD launching their "Purple" surveillance drive, I knew in the back of my mind it wouldn't take Seagate long to bring their solution to market. Now, about a month later, we have the Seagate Surveillance 4TB HDD in our hands.

Surveillance hard drives stem from the enterprise market, where consumers need 24/7 reliability and high performance capabilities from their storage solutions. With this in mind, I don't think it's too far off to say the Seagate Surveillance we have here is a beefed up NAS drive. This Surveillance drive offers the same 4TB capacity, along with 64MB of multi-segmented cache and a 5900RPM spindle speed.

Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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The Seagate Surveillance is available in 3TB and 4TB capacities, with both units recommended for one- to 16-bay enclosures. Seagate says the Surveillance can handle up to 32 cameras with a max-sustained data rate of 180 MB/s, and further down, we find typical power consumption listed at 8 watts.

The Seagate Surveillance in the 4TB capacity carries an MSRP of $189.99 with a three-year warranty.

PRICING: You can find the Seagate Surveillance (4TB) 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 Surveillance (4TB) retails for $188.21 at Amazon.

Canada: The Seagate Surveillance (4TB) retails for CDN$331.11 at Amazon Canada.

Drive Details

Seagate Surveillance 4TB

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Our sample of the Surveillance 4TB was delivered in bare drive form. At the top of the drive, we have the capacity listed, 4000GB, and our drive is running firmware version CV12.

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The back of the drive carries the typical green PCB.

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Here we have the SATA data and power correctly aligned, so there are no issues there.

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The backside of the drive houses two sets of contacts for the motor and controller.

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The PCB houses the LSI controller and Smooth branded motor driver. We have 64MB of Nanya DRAM to the left.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and ATTO Benchmarks

Desktop Test System

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ATTO - Baseline Performance

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.34

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In our baseline testing, we found the Surveillance 4TB right with the NAS and Desktop drives from Seagate. All three drives hovered around the 150 MB/s to 160 MB/s mark.

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Baseline write testing had the NAS and Surveillance drive right with each other, again around 160 MB/s.

Benchmarks – 4k Random Performance & Sequential Performance

IOMeter – 4k Random Performance with QD

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In 4k random read, we found the Surveillance putting out numbers similar to the NAS drive.

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With 4k random write, things were a bit more varied, but still, the NAS and Surveillance stuck right with each other.

IOMeter – Sequential Performance with QD

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Sequential numbers saw a little separation between the NAS and Surveillance, as the latter was able to reach 160 MB/s across the QD scale.

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Sequential write showed more consistency from the Surveillance drive, and you can see 160 MB/s across the QD scale.

Response Times and Power Consumption

Response Times

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Random read response for the Surveillance drive came in slightly better than the NAS but right behind the Desktop HDD.

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Random write shared similar results; the Surveillance solution came out ahead of the NAS.

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Moving over to sequential response times, the Surveillance was right behind the Desktop HDD.

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In sequential write response, the Surveillance came in at 27ms at QD32, just behind the Desktop HDD.

Power Consumption

Our custom power testing samples each drive for a period of three minutes across each workload. In order to offer more granularity, we sample the power in one-second intervals.

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Power consumption for the Surveillance HDD was almost a direct mirror of the NAS HDD of the same capacity. The drive started out at 5.75 watts in random workloads and peaked out at 6.5 watts during sequential workloads.

Surveillance Test Tool

WD provided a test tool for measuring Command Competition Time (CCT) when we tested the WD Purple. The tool shows the percent of commands completed in millisecond blocks of time. Ideally, you want all of your commands to complete in the least amount of time. Although we're showing both read and write tests on the chart, surveillance systems spend over 90 percent of the time writing data and less than 10 percent reading it back.

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In the first test of eight channels at 720p, the Seagate Surveillance was able to complete 83 percent of the workload in under 5ms, higher than the 66 percent of the Purple.

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Moving on to 16 channels, still at 720p, the Surveillance falls off slightly, allowing the WD Purple to complete 59 percent under 5ms, while the Seagate only completed 1.7 percent.

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With 32 channels and 720p, both drives are pretty even.

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32 channels and 1080p show similar results to what we found with 720p.

Final Thoughts

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The 4TB Surveillance adds to the impressive portfolio of purpose-built solutions from Seagate. While this drive might show that it has some similarities in terms of performance to the NAS solution, there are certainly areas where you can see that Seagate has tuned the drive for consistent performance.

Build quality of the Surveillance HDD is quite good; I had no issues during testing, and everything went quite smoothly. Performance of the drive was even better than expected, and in testing, we found the Surveillance to keep right with its Desktop and NAS counterparts.

Random performance of the Surveillance hovered around 350 IOPS for both read and write, while sequentials topped out around 160 MB/s. Comparing this solution to the WD Purple, it does appear the Seagate is the better solution up to 16 cameras broadcasting at 720p. Above that, the WD Purple really fights back.

For those building large storage servers for surveillance solutions, the Seagate Surveillance in the 4TB capacity is a solid drive at a very competitive price point.

MSRP of the Seagate Surveillance in the 4TB capacity is set at $189.99 with a three-year warranty. Current market pricing can be found below.

PRICING: You can find the Seagate Surveillance (4TB) 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 Surveillance (4TB) retails for $188.21 at Amazon.

Canada: The Seagate Surveillance (4TB) retails for CDN$331.11 at Amazon Canada.

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Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

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