6 TB Hard Drive Round-Up: WD Red, WD Green, Seagate Enterprise

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Seagate Enterprise Capacity 6TB V4

The drive we received from Seagate is the company's Enterprise-class offering, with an MSRP to match of $479 ($424 street currently). Its model number is ST6000NM0024 with a family name of "Constellation ES", so be wary if you're shopping as there's a slower version under model number STBD6000100 that has a shorter warranty and a lower spindle speed, so they are two different animals entirely.

This drive is as high-end as it gets in the world of storage. Not only does it come in a spacious 6TB of capacity (5.45TB formatted), but it has a large 128MB of cache, a 7,200rpm spindle speed, and a generous five year warranty. It should be noted this drive is also available in smaller capacities too, including 5TB, 4TB, 3TB and so on. Specs vary though, so once again, check your model numbers and scan Amazon price search or similar before pulling the trigger.

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To get to 6TB Seagate didn't have to change technologies or add any special gases to the enclosure. The company just used good old fashioned perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) but found a way to increase the number of platters inside from five to six. Since Seagate was able to squeeze 1TB onto a platter (which results in 340,000 tracks of data per inch), with six platters we have six terabytes. To be clear, this is drive is not targeted at the casual home user storing media and data, but rather for small business owners or the data center, and others looking for 24x7 operational capability. Seagate claims the drive offers a 25% performance advantage over "competitive offerings" thanks to its areal density and firmware optimizations — we shall see about that.

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We also noted on Seagate's website that this drive is offered in two different data formats — the new 4KN and the older 512E. This just means the sectors are 4K in size instead of 512 bytes, so it's more efficient dealing with larger files as it can just lay down one sector that is 4k instead of eight of them that are 512 bytes a piece, and it can also work with legacy OSes too (with software and firmware updates).

AFD

Advanced Format lays down data in 4K strips instead of bite-sized 512Kb clusters.


The Seagate Constellation ES 6TB drive also includes full drive encryption that includes a secure erase feature, but instead of wiping the drive's data it just changes the encryption key.

Overall, this is one serious piece of storage hardware. Now let's take a look at what it's up against from WD.


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