Introduction and Specifications
Storage devices for personal computers have always been a tricky proposition. While the majority of computer parts are solid state, the computer industry has spent most of its life storing bits on electromechanical mechanical devices like tapes and floppy disks. Speaking relatively, it was only recently (less than a decade) that solid state storage became mainstream, and even today the costs of flash production make rotating media the better option for bulk data storage. Hard drives are typically vented to atmosphere, as the Bernoulli Effect is necessary as part of what keep the drive heads flying above the rotating platters. With any vented enclosure, there is always the risk of atmospheric contaminants finding their way in. Sure there are HEPA-class filters at the vent holes, but they can’t stop organic vapors that may slightly degrade the disk surface over time.
By filling a hard disk with an inert gas and hermetically sealing the disk housing, we can eliminate those potential issues. An added bonus is that if Helium is used, its lower density enables lower air friction of the rotating platters, which translates to lower power consumption when compared to an equivalent air-filled HDD. Ever since HGST released their Helium filled drives, I’ve been waiting for this technology to trickle down to consumer products, and Western Digital has recently brought such a product to market. Today we will be diving into our full performance review of the Western Digital 8TB Red.
Compared to the 6TB Red, the 8TB model doubles its cache size to 128MB. We also see a slight bump in claimed transfer rates. Idle power consumption sees a slight bump due to different electronics in use, and power/capacity figures check out as well (more on that later as we will include detailed power testing in this article).
Subject: Storage | January 13, 2016 - 02:38 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: Seagate, helium, hdd, enterprise, 3.5, 10TB
Seagate updated their Enterprise Capacity line of HDDs this morning with a monster of a 10TB unit:
To achieve this capacity, Seagate switched over to a sealed, Helium filled design (similar to what HGST has been doing for a few years now). Since filling the space of a HDD with Helium helps reduce head flutter and platter thickness, Seagate was able to fit seven platters into a standard 3.5" housing. As an additional note, this drive uses the same PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording) as other recent generation units, and not the SMR (Shingled) employed in their recent 8TB Archive HDD. PMR is a good thing here, as it enables random write access without the performance penalty incurred when attempting the same on an SMR drive.
The Helium filling pushes the MTBF up to 2.5 million hours. Unfortunately the release was light on the other details, and we do not have pricing as of yet, but we will certainly be keeping an eye on this one. Seagate states they are 'shipping to select customers', but given that those customers are ordering by the truckload, it may be some time before we see them in the OEM aftermarket channels.
Introduction and Specifications
It has been a while since we took a look at some hard drives here at PC Perspective. While seemingly everyone is pushing hard into Solid State Storage, those spinning platters have gotten the computer industry by for several decades, and they won't be going away any time soon so long as magnetic domains can store bits for cheaper than electrons can. SSDs have been eating away at the market for OS and single drive mobile needs, but when it comes to bulk storage, nothing beats a great hard drive for the money. Since many users would rather avoid maintaining a large array of drives, getting the capacity of each 3.5" unit higher is still a need, especially for storage hungry consumers. Enterprise units have been pushing into 8TB territory lately, but the consumer sweet spot currently remains at 6TB. Western Digital entered this area in July of last year, pushing their popular Green and Red lines up to 6TB. While the capacity was great, those two lines are mean to be power saving, slower spinning drives. When platter speeds are low, the laws of physics (and of rotational latency) kick in and dictate that they could never perform as well as their 7200 RPM counterparts.
...and now they have filled that gap, with their Black and Red Pro models now made available in up to 6TB capacities. To clarify the product lines here, the Green and Black products are intended for usage as a single drive, while the Red and Red Pro are meant for operating in NAS devices and use in a RAID. The two drives in this review are the faster spinning models, so we should see better performance all around. Spinning those platters faster means more power drawn and more heat generated by air friction across the platters, as we can look into below:
Western Digital Red Pro 6TB:
- Model: WD6001FFWX
- Max Sequential Read: 214 MB/s
- Form Factor: 3.5”
- Interface Type: SATA 6.0 Gb/s (SATA 3)
- UBER: <1 in 1015
- Power (active/idle/standby): 10.6W/7.4W/1.6W
- Warranty: 5 years
Western Digital Black 6TB:
- Model: WD6001FZWX
- Max Sequential: 218 MB/s
- Form Factor: 3.5”
- Interface Type: SATA 6.0 Gb/s (SATA 3)
- UBER: <1 in 1014
- Power (active/idle/standby): 10.6W/7.6W/1.6W
- Warranty: 5 years
For comparison, the slower spinning 6TB Red and Green models run at 5.3W/3.4W/0.4W. Lesson learned - moving from ~5400 RPM to 7200 RPM roughly doubles the power draw of a high capacity 3.5" HDD. Other manufacturers are doing things like hermetically sealing their drives and filling them with Helium, but that is a prohibitively expensive proposition for consumer / small business drives, which is what the Black and Red Pro lines are meant to satisfy. It has also been proven that Helium filled drives are not the best if their track geometry is not optimized as well as it could be.
Subject: Storage | September 1, 2015 - 08:00 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: Seagate, hdd, Enterprise NAS, Enterprise Capacity 3.5, 8TB
Just when we were starting to get comfortable with the thought of 6TB hard drives, Seagate goes and announces their lineup of 8TB HDDs:
Now before you get too excited about throwing one of these into your desktop, realize that these models are meant for enterprise and larger NAS environments:
As you can see from the above chart, Seagate will be moving to 8TB maximum capacities on their 'Enterprise NAS' and 'Enterprise Capacity 3.5' models, which are meant for larger storage deployments.
Home and small business users opting to go with Seagate for their storage will remain limited to 4TB per drive for the time being.
For those curious about Kinetic, this is Seagate's push to connect arrays of drives via standard Ethernet, which would allow specialized storage applications to speak directly to the raw storage via standard network gear. Kinetic HDDs are currently limited to 4TB, with 8TB planned this coming January.
Seagate's full press blast appears after the break.
Subject: Storage | August 18, 2015 - 08:00 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, Red Pro, hdd, Black, 6tb
It's been a while since Western Digital updated their Black series of HDDs, with their 4TB release taking place over two years ago. I'm happy to say that for those looking for a massive HDD suited for holding that enormous games folder too large to fit on your SSD, your wait is finally over, as today WD has updated the Black line to include 5TB and 6TB capacity units.
The Black series introduced that nifty dual stage actuator technology nearly five years ago, and has added a few more bells and whistles along the way. These new models include a 128MB cache and run on dual-core processors.
Along with that news also comes an update to their Red Pro series, which was also limited to 4TB in capacity when they launched last year. Red Pro models will now also include 5TB and 6TB units, so those wanting the most performance and lowest response time from their NAS can now also enjoy that performance at a 50% gain in capacity.
The new 6TB Red Pro also includes a 128MB cache and can peak at 214MB/sec (at the start of the disk). Also included in these is WD's NASware 3.0 firmware, which is specifically tuned to enable packs of these operating in packs while minimizing the effects of vibration on performance.
The 5TB Black comes in at $264 while the 6TB comes in at $294. The Red Pro's come at only an additional $5 over the Black, respectively (small price to pay for better compatibility with larger arrays). Both the Red Pro and Black carry a 5-year warranty.
Subject: General Tech | March 26, 2015 - 12:32 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hgst, western digital, helium, hdd
The new generation of helium filled HDD from HGST take their longevity seriously, rating them at 2.5 million hours MTBF. This generation also has 7 disks squeezed into the shell, with current capacities reaching 8TB and a shingled 10TB model currently being tested for release later this year. The increased life and storage density are only part of the benefits that helium brings, 23% lower operating power and temperatures 4-5°C lower than traditional drives will also have an impact on data centre operating costs. In their article The Register did ask how long the HelioSeal will keep the helium contained and while they did not get an exact figure, the 5 year warranty gives you a good idea of a lower limit.
"HGST has announced second-generation helium drive tech after shipping a million gen-1 Helium drives and upping field reliability by 15 per cent."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- LibreOffice heads to the cloud in bid to take on Microsoft and Google @ The Inquirer
- Intel industrial solutions tool aims at faster IoT deployment @ The Inqurier
- TSMC to supply chips for rumored iPhone 6S and 6C @ DigiTimes
- And the prize for LEAST SECURE BROWSER goes to ... Chrome! @ The Register
- Google-gate: 'Toothless' watchdog FTC nibbles furiously on journalists @ The Register
- GTC 2015 In-depth Recap: Deep-learning, Quadro M6000, Autonomous Driving & More @ Techgage
Subject: Storage | March 10, 2015 - 03:44 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, Re+, hdd, 6tb, 5TB
Western Digital has just launched a new entry in their Datacenter Capacity HDD lineup:
The Re+ is based on the Re series of enterprise 3.5" HDDs (first revision reviewed here), but this one reduces the spin speed down from 7200 RPM to 5760 RPM. The HGST Ultrastar He6 is a great power efficient and Helium filled drive, but while that unit spins at 7200 RPM, it's max data rate is only 177 MB/sec. The 6TB WD RE spins at the same speed with a much higher rate of 225 MB/sec, but also draws more power than an He6. By reducing the platter speed, WD was able to bring power consumption into the 4.6-6.2W range with peak transfer rates of 175 MB/sec. The competing He6 draws 5.0-7.0W.
While dialing back the RPM was a simple way to achieve this very low power consumption, the He6 would still have the advantage in seek times (a faster spinning disk means less time waiting for the data to come around to the read head). The seek time argument may be moot given the purpose of these HDDs leans towards cold/warm/archival data storage that is very infrequently and sporadically accessed. Still, it is an interesting point that WD's platter density was so much higher that they could simply slow the RPM and yet maintain throughputs competitive with a faster spinning unit.
In combination with this announcement is the fact that the Re and Se lines (formerly limited to 4TB) are now available in 5TB and 6TB capacities. With the Se moving up to 6TB, we may see a Red Pro in the same capacity in the near future (depending on demand).
More to follow on these at a future date. Full press blast after the break.
Subject: General Tech | January 26, 2015 - 01:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: statistics, mtbf, hdd, backblaze
Backblaze is a moderately sized hosting company with about 40,000 disks set up in their own style of arrays called Storage Pods, which are open sourced so that you can build one yourself if you so desire. Every once and a while they put out reliability numbers for the HDDs that they use in their arrays; the newest report just arrived for your perusal. This is good as most reliability and market share studies are done by professional organizations which they tend to charge quite a bit for their findings as they do put a lot of effort into ensuring that their data is correct. Unfortunately that also means that most people do not have access to the information and make judgments based on incomplete or incorrect data. As The Register points out, 40,000 HDDs is a very small sample size compared to the market as a whole or even large hosting companies and so the data set you can see here may not be the best representation of the actual market failure rates projected from it may not be overly accurate. On the other hand it is nice to have any data, especially when you are provided with the actual sample size and a definition of failure. If you are really into the numbers game, spend some time researching the Mean Time Between Failure and Average Failure Rate and the ongoing debate on how to properly measure expected mortality rates among large drives.
"We're not entirely comfortable with cloud backup outfit Backblaze's data on disk drive reliability, but the company has just popped out another year's worth of analysis on which drives hang around longest. With due scepticism, let's have a look."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Hands-on With Windows 10’s Preview Build 9926 @ Techgage
- SURPRISE! Microsoft pops open Windows 10 Preview build early @ The Register
- We Can’t Wait to Try Leatherman’s New Wearable @ MAKE:Blog
- Apple's iPhone 7 chip will reportedly be supplied by Samsung Electronics @ The Inquirer
- Tenda AV1000 Gigabit Powerline Adapter @ eTeknix
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 4, 2015 - 05:15 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: CES, western digital, storage visions, ssd, SATA Express, hybrid, hdd, ces 2015
At the SATA-IO booth at Storage Visions, they have a functional demo of Western Digital prototype hybrid HDD/SSD's.
These are not hybrid in the traditional sense, as the SSD portion (128GB JMicron based controller driving Toshiba flash in the case of these prototypes) is logically separated from the HDD portion (a standard 4TB Black in this case).
Given that a SATA Express link can simultaneously pass a PCIe 2.0 x2 link in addition to a SATA 6Gbit/sec link, this one unit can link an SSD and an HDD simultaneously and independently. Above you see the standard SATA Express connector, and below is how those pins are connected at the drive itself:
Note the additional pins at what is usually the black side of the connector.
The rest of the connector is mostly a standard SATA connector that you are used to seeing.
At the demo, we saw a single 3.5" hybrid unit booting from the SSD portion and using the 4TB HDD for mass storage, all from the same device. The second demo had a separate boot drive and linked a pair of these prototype units in a dual RAID. Configured through Windows dynamic volumes, a RAID of the HDD's offered the increased performance you might expect from a pair of 4TB WD Blacks. The SSD portion of each unit was also RAIDed, and we saw their combined throughput as just over 1GB/sec. That was not much more than what a pair of RAIDed SATA 6Gb/sec SSDs would do, but realize this was being accomplished in addition to (and independently of) the HDD portions.
We were not allowed to start removing screws, but here's a look at the accessible portion of the logic board for this drive:
There is a JMicron controller paired with a single package of Toshiba flash. Toshiba has shown they can contain 128GB in a single package, so no problems there.
We're not sure where this technology is headed as the recent trend has been towards sticking with the standard SATA link for mass storage and M.2 SSDs plugged directly into the added port we've been seeing in many recent motherboards. We'll keep an eye on this technology moving forward, but for now at least we have seen it in the flesh and fully functional.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Storage | December 15, 2014 - 01:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: SAS, hdd, DIY, LSI, Seagate, icy dock
You may want to build a server consisting of enterprise level SSDs to make sure it provides the best possible speeds to anyone accessing data stored there but the chances of you getting the budget for it are slim going on none. That is why reading the guide on building servers from Modders Inc is worth your time if you find yourself pondering the best way to build a storage server on a budget without making it abysmally slow. You have many choices when you are designing a storage server but if you are not quite sure where to start the list of components and the arguments for their usefulness will get you headed in the right direction. For example the LSI MegaRAID SAS 9271-8i is an impressive RAID controller and with good SAS HDDs you can expect to see very good data throughput and will be more important than the CPU you select. Check out the article right here.
"IT infrastructure and storage has always been part of serious conversation between IT engineers and their bosses. As always IT Engineers want to use the best of the newest technologies while their bosses want to keep every project under a tight budget. It's always an ongoing battle, however both sides always come to some mutual agreement that benefits both sides."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Western Digital Red (WD60EFRX) 6 TB Hard Disk @ TechARP
- QNAP TS-451 Network Attached Storage @ Modders-Inc
- LaCie d2 Thunderbolt Review @ TechwareLabs
- Inateck FE2005 USB 3.0 Tool-Less 2.5″ HDD Enclosure @ eTeknix
- Transcend SSD370 256GB SSD Review @HiTech Legion
- Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- Samsung 850 EVO 120GB review @ Bjorn3d
- Kingston SSDnow M2 SATA 120GB Solid State Drive @ eTeknix