Choosing the right NAS hard drive!</br>Seagate Ironwolf vs WD Red.

Choosing the right NAS hard drive!
Seagate Ironwolf vs WD Red.

What Should You Look for in a NAS Drive?

NAS hard drives are generally more expensive than standard desktop hard drives.  NAS drives are designed to run in a RAID configuration and to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  NAS hard drives are more heat-resistant, vibration-resistant and can be read and written to continuously.

Using a regular desktop hard drive inside a NAS enclosure is not recommended as the enclosure may not detect hard drive failures until the drive has completely failed.  NAS hard drives have special firmware that allows them to report read and write failure directly to the controller instead of hiding and automatically repairing bad sectors.

Seagate Ironwolf vs. WD RED Comparison

Seagate IronWolf Pro Seagate IronWolf
(> 6 TB)
Seagate IronWolf
(< 6 TB)
WD RED PRO WD RED PLUS WD RED
CMR
CMR
CMR
CMR
CMR
< 8TB SMR
> 8TB CMR
(check drive model)
Spindle speed
7200rpm
7200rpm
5900rpm
7200rpm
5400rpm
7200rpm
5400rpm
RAID support
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes - SMR not recommended!
Workload rating
300 TB/year
180 TB/year
180 TB/year
300 TB/year
180 TB/year
180 TB/year
Non-recoverable Read Errors per Bits
<1 in 10^15
<1 in 10^15
<1 in 10^14
<1 in 10^15
<1 in 10^14
<1 in 10^14

Whats the difference between Seagate Ironwolf and Seagate Ironwolf Pro?

Seagate IRONWOLF

Ironwolf is aimed at Home and small business NAS drives with up to 8 drive bays.

Seagate IRONWOLF PRO

IronWolf Pro on the other hand is for businesses, digital artists or video editors who need extremely high performance from their NAS servers.

Whats the difference between WD Red, WD Red Plus and WD Red Pro?

In response to heated criticism for not disclosing that some of its WD Red hard drives use slower shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology, Western Digital released a new line of hard drives call WD Red Plus drives these use conventional magnetic recording (CMR) technology as an alternative to its slower SMR drives.  WD states all furture WD Red drive will be SMR and all WD Red Plus an WD Red Pro will be CMR.

WD RED

WD Red drive use SMR or CMR technology.  In general WD Red less than 8Tb are SMR but check the drive model number to see which type its using.

WD RED PLUS

WD Red Plus all use CMR technology and 5400rpm spindle.

WD RED PRO

WD Red Pro all use CMR technology, faster 7200rpm spindle speed and have higher performance. WD Red Pro is for businesses, digital artists or video editors who need extremely high performance from their NAS servers.

Which one should I choose?

First you need to determine what your NAS will be used for?
Data Storage / Data Hording (Data Backup, Music, Movie or Television Storage) or a File Server/Web Server?

Data Storage / Data Hording

5400rpm and 5900rpm are great for data hording.  These drives normal run cooler and quieter than 7200rpm drives.  In general these also cost less for larger drives.
SMB drives can be used in these situations as there is normal long drive idle times. (more info on SMR vs CMR)

File Server or Web Server

The 5400rpm and 5900rpm may still be a great fit.  If you are not doing a lot of file changes with a small number of users access files at the same time then don’t hesitate to use the slower spinning drives.

If you have a people accessing files at the same time or constantly access files on the NAS you can see a performance boost by using the 7200rpm IRONWOLF PRO or WD RED PRO

Which drive for RAID?

RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 0+1

We don’t recommend using and SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) disks in place of CMR (Conventional Magnetic Recording) disks in a RAID configuration.

Some RAID controller can generate drive error and drop drives because of the slow write speeds of the SMR drives.  SMR drive need idle time if your NAS has constant file access with little idle time then SMR drive aren’t for you.

JBOD or Single Drive

SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) can be used in these cases but be aware of the write performance.  SMR need idle time to reorganize the data and are much slower on large continuous writes than CMR drives.  Reading performance is normally the same between SMR and CMR drives.

Can I use standard hard drives?

Why do I need a NAS hard drive?  Regular hard drives are not designed for 24/7 operation and the RAID environment.
NAS hard drive are designed with ERC (Error Recovery Control) or TLER (Time Limited Error Recovery) this allows your NAS to identify drive failures and to drop faulty drives without locking up the NAS.

What is a SMR vs CMR Drive?

CMR (Conventional Magnetic Recording)

When data is written onto a CMR drive, it is written onto magnetic tracks on the drive surface that are laid side-by-side, with small gaps being placed between the tracks so that they do not overlap. These separator gaps affect the overall areal density of the drive, as they mean portions of the drive’s surface are not being utilized.

With a CMR drive, data can be freely rewritten over an existing track as it has no effect on neighboring tracks, allowing them to handle more random write operations.

SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording)

Data is written sequentially onto a track, and then the track is partially overlapped over another track of data, creating a pattern similar to the shingles on a house roof. SMR removes the gaps between tracks, allowing more data tracks to be written onto a drive’s magnetic surface and thereby increasing its storage capacity.

When data is written to an SMR drive, the write head will write data onto an empty area on the drive instead of overwriting an existing track. Then, when the drive is not in use, it will enter into a “reorganization mode” where old data on the original track is deleted to make space for future use. Because this reorganization is the only way to clear old data, idle time is essential to SMR drives. Constant drive access will give the drive no time to reorganize the magnetic tracks, leading to very poor drive performance.

SEAGATE IRONWOLF - Price Comparison

Disk Drive SIZE RPM CACHE TYPE PRICE PER TB RETAIL PRICE* CURRENT PRICE
1 TB
5900 RPM
64MB
CMR
$59.99/TB
$59.99

2 TB
5900 RPM
64 MB
CMR
$39.99/TB
$79.99

4 TB
5900 RPM
64 MB
CMR
$26.25/TB
$104.99

8 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$24.62/TB
$196.99

10 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$27.60/TB
$275.99

12 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$26.67/TB
$307.99

14 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$29.29/TB
$409.99

16 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$31.87/TB
$509.99

SEAGATE IRONWOLF PRO - Price Comparison

Disk Drive SIZE RPM CACHE TYPE PRICE PER TB RETAIL PRICE* CURRENT PRICE
4 TB
7200 RPM
128 MB
CMR
$35.00/TB
$139.99

8 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$31.25/TB
$249.99

10 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$30.79/TB
$307.99

12 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$31.67/TB
$379.99

14 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$29.71/TB
$415.99

16 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$30.99/TB
$495.99

WD Red and WD Red Plus - Price Comparison

nas_storage-wd_red_plus
Disk Drive SIZE RPM CACHE TYPE PRICE PER TB RETAIL PRICE* CURRENT PRICE
2 TB
5400 RPM
256 MB
SMR
$34.99/TB
$69.99

4 TB
5400 RPM
256 MB
SMR
$22.49/TB
$89.99

6 TB
5400 RPM
256 MB
SMR
$24.33/TB
$145.99

2 TB
5400 RPM
128 MB
CMR
$39.99/TB
$79.99

4 TB
5400 RPM
128 MB
CMR
$24.99/TB
$99.99

8 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$24.75/TB
$197.99

10 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$24.99/TB
$249.99

12 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$27.17/TB
$325.99

14 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$33.57/TB
$469.99

WD Red Pro - Price Comparison

nas_storage-wd_red_pro
Disk Drive SIZE RPM CACHE TYPE PRICE PER TB RETAIL PRICE* CURRENT PRICE
2 TB
7200 RPM
64 MB
CMR
$44.99/TB
$89.99

4 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$47.50/TB
$189.99

8 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$34.99/TB
$279.99

10 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$28.99/TB
$289.99

12 TB
7200 RPM
256 MB
CMR
$27.49/TB
$329.99

14 TB
7200 RPM
512 MB
CMR
$31.86/TB
$445.99

16 TB
7200 RPM
512 MB
CMR
$32.49/TB
$519.99

18 TB
7200 RPM
512 MB
CMR
$38.12/TB
$609.99