You'd be forgiven if you simply haven't been keeping up with advancements in hard drive storage these days. After all, many PC OEMs -- especially on the laptop side -- are abandoning HDDs in favor of SSDs to give customers a better (i.e. faster) computing experience.
But that isn't stopping Seagate from throwing down the gauntlet with its new lineup of 16TB helium-filled hard drives covering the Exos and IronWolf product families. When it comes to cost per gigabyte, SSDs still can't match HDDs, hence the arrival of the Exos X16, which is targeted at hyperscale computing and the datacenter markets. The 3.5-inch drives have a spindle speed of 7200rpm and consume on average 5W of power at idle. Maximum operating power consumption for read/write operations comes in at 10W and 6.3W respectively. MTBF for the drives are listed at 2.5 million hours.
Seagate makes the Exos X16 available in SATA (6Gbps) and SAS (12Gbps) variants, and they offer maximum sustained transfer rates of 261MB/sec. Those transfer speeds come nowhere close to touching even low-end SATA SSDs, but for a lot of enterprise customers, having slow, capacious storage is more beneficial than ultra-fast solid-state storage.
“The Exos X16 is key in reducing total cost of ownership for enterprise system developers and cloud data centers while supporting multiple applications with varying workloads,” explained Sai Varanasi, who serves as VP of product line marketing for Seagate. “The Exos X16 is the industry’s leading helium-based 16TB capacity drive. We are partnering with our cloud/enterprise customers to bring this product to the market to fulfill the pent-up exabyte demand in data centers.”
Seagate has also announced IronWolf and IronWolf Pro 16TB hard drives, which use a 6Gbps SATA interface. The IronWolf and IronWolf Pro have MTBFs of 1 million hours and 1.2 million hours respectively. They both also have idle and operating power consumption of around 5W and 7W respectively. The IronWolf Pro has the clear advantage in maximum sustained transfer rates, however, coming in at 250MB/sec versus 210MB/sec for its IronWolf counterpart.
According to Seagate, the SATA and SAS versions of the Exos X16 will both be priced at $629. As for the IronWolf and IronWolf Pro, they will be priced at $609 and $664 respectively. All HDDs with the exception of the IronWolf (two years) are covered by a five-year warranty and are shipping right now.