Seagate Brings 16TB Home/NAS and Data Center HDDs to Market

Nearly a year ago Seagate announced its 14TB Barracuda Pro, IronWolf and IronWolf Pro hard drive models. Just in case 14TB wasn’t enough, the vendor Monday announced 16TB drives in the Exos X16 for data center use and the IronWolf and IronWolf Pro models slated for Home/NAS use and optimal RAID performance.

Since traditional magnetic recording technologies have pushed drive densities to the edge, applying the TDMR (two-dimensional magnetic recording) technology increases the capacity even more. This method extends the capabilities of the traditional method, called Perpendicular Magnetic Recording, to increase capacity even more.

TDMR technology enables hard drive makers to increase areal density using narrower tracks and pitches. As these become smaller, they start to shows magnetic inter-track interference (ITI) which makes it increasingly more difficult for drive heads to perform read operations. In order to eliminate this effect, the TDMR technology uses an array of heads to read from either one, or several nearby tracks said to improve the signal-to-noise ratio sent to the controller. The use of multiple readers allow these controllers to figure out the correct data based on multiple input locations.

That tech, plus the sealed helium design allows for increases in areal density. This process Seagate says can yield not only 16TB drives, but up to 100 TB drives by 2025 raising capacity dramatically.This, along with the sealed helium design allows for increases in areal density. According to Seagate, this process can yield not only 16TB drives, but up to 100 TB drives by 2025, thus raising capacity dramatically.

The IronWolf drives carry over their RV (Rotational Vibration) sensors, said to help the drive counteract vibrations in multi-bay enclosures, as well as including advanced power management features designed for NAS devices. It also comes with Seagate’s bundled Rescue Services for data recovery. Performance on these models are rated at 250 MB/s sustained transfer rates with its 256MB cache and 7,200 RPM spindle speeds. The IronWolf Pro includes a five-year warranty, while the non-pro version is three years with both sporting 1.2-million MTBF rating and workloads up to 300TB/year.

The Exos X16 drives deliver 33% more petabytes per rack compared to the 12TB drives while keeping the footprint reducing TCO in data center environments. The drives include Seagate Secure allowing for safe and secure driver erasure. Using 7,200 RPM rotational speeds and the same 256MB cache, the Exos X16 is capable of speeds up to 261 MB/s sustained transfer rates with random Read/Write 4K (QD16) IOPS listed at 170/440. MTBF is listed at 2.5-million hours and comes with a five-year warranty. It is worth noting the Exos is available in both SATA and SAS type drives. 

Some enterprise customers have already owned the Exos drives for a while now for vendor qualification and performance tests ahead of this week's general availability. The Exos X16 has an MSRP of $629. The IronWolf and IronWolf Pro are priced at $610 and $665, respectively. We should see more 16TB models hit the scene soon enough with Toshiba’s 16TB MG08 series unveiled at CES in January, along with Western Digital drives using the MAMR (as opposed to HAMR/TDMR) technology.

Joe Shields
Motherboard Reviewer

Joe Shields is a Freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He reviews motherboards.