Have huge storage needs and don't mind making some sacrifices to score suitable drives at a great price? If so, you'll want to turn your attention to Seagate's just-announced 'Archive HDD' series, one that offers densities of 5TB, 6TB, and 8TB. That's right - 8TB. And a $260 8TB at that.
Back in 2007, Seagate was one of the first to release a hard drive based on perpendicular magnetic recording, a technology that was required to help us break past the roadblock of achieving more than 250GB per platter. Since then, PMR has evolved to allow the release of drives as large as 8TB, but to go beyond that, something new was needed. That "something new" is shingled magnetic recording.
Seagate Archive Series HDD
150MB/s Average Read/Write Bandwidth, 190MB/s Max. Access Times Not listed
As its name suggests, SMR aligns drive tracks in a singled pattern, much like shingles on a roof. With this design, Seagate is able to cram much more storage into the same physical area. It should be noted that Seagate isn't the first out the door with an 8TB model, however, as HGST released one earlier this year. In lieu of a design like SMR, HGST decided to go the helium route, allowing it to pack more platters into a drive.
SMR is the overall the better implementation, as helium-based drives are still limited to what PMR can manage. It's no surprise, then, that HGST also chose SMR for its 10TB hard drive, even though it also is helium-filled.
Like most other high-density drives, Seagate's Archive HDD series spins at about 5400 RPM, relegating them to be used for regular storage, not data like games or applications. What's not entirely clear to me at this point is whether or not these drives would be suitable for NAS use. Technically, they could be, but there's a reason why both WD and Seagate develop NAS-specific drives.
Nonetheless, thanks to the high areal density, these drives should still perform very well when moving big data around - solid files, not so much a bunch of little files. Given the value proposition of these drives, it's no surprise that only a 3-year warranty is offered. That's still quite good, however, given what's offered.
It should really go without saying, but with this much storage at-the-ready, you really wouldn't want to be running just one of these - unless perhaps the data is truly unimportant, or replaceable. 8TB is a lot of data to lose at once, and as our drives grow larger, redundancy becomes ever more important.