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Toshiba Outs its List of Hard Drives With Slower SMR Technology

Toshiba P300 Hard Drive

Toshiba P300 hard drive (Image credit: Toshiba)

The hard drive world has upturned two weeks ago, when we learned that big-name manufacturers, such as Western Digital, Seagate and Toshiba, were not being totally transparent about the fact that some of their hard drives were fabricated with shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology.

Western Digital came clean and released a list of WD hard drives that leverage the slower technology. Toshiba is now following Western Digital's footsteps and put out a list of its own, so you can know exactly what you're getting. 

ModelCapacityForm Factor
Toshiba P3006TB3.5-inch
Toshiba P3004TB3.5-inch
Toshiba DT026TB3.5-inch
Toshiba DT024TB3.5-inch
Toshiba DT02-V6TB3.5-inch
Toshiba DT02-V4TB3.5-inch
Toshiba L2002TB2.5-inch
Toshiba L2001TB2.5-inch
Toshiba MQ042TB2.5-inch
Toshiba MQ041TB2.5-inch

The whole point of SMR is to produce hard drives with high densities, such as 10TB or 14TB models. But it's surprising that Toshiba is utilizing the technology on 6TB, 4TB and even 1TB and 2TB drives. This points to a strategy to save cost while maximizing profits.

As Toshiba has put it, SMR isn't completely bad, as the technique has opened the doors for hard drive manufacturers to increase the capacity of their conventional platter drives. However, SMR has a negative impact on a hard drive's performance, particularly in workloads that involve continuous random writing. Therefore, it's important to disclose this tiny, but very important, piece of information to consumers.

It's not a crime to sell hard drives with SMR technology. But as an ethical practice, vendors should label their products accordingly. Toshiba has updated the marketing materials for the MQ04 and DT102 series to reflect the usage of SMR. Since Toshiba just released its list today, it might take a little longer before the company finishes updating marketing materials for the other models.

  • dannyboy3210
    We have a list of drives from Western Digital and now Toshiba, here's to hoping we get one from Seagate.
    (I don't remember if we've gotten one yet)
    Reply
  • King_V
    Yes and no.

    Seagate has stated that NONE of their NAS drives use SMR. However, they're a bit evasive with regard to desktop drives.

    https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/04/seagate-says-network-attached-storage-and-smr-dont-mix/
    We spoke to Belloni at some length on the topic. He did not object to allegations of SMR disks showing up unexpectedly in Seagate's desktop channels but wanted to make very clear that Seagate has no SMR IronWolf or IronWolf Pro drives and no plans to release any.

    There is a bit of wiggle room, here. When we pushed Belloni on the issue of SMR drives in Seagate's desktop channel, he told us that Seagate didn't feel the need to "break it out" in that channel, since the company believes that SMR's low and bursty performance profile is appropriate for desktop use.

    We do not agree with Seagate that SMR drives are appropriate in desktop builds—or that it's OK to sneak them in there without the company's usual warnings about the technology's performance profile.

    With that said, we are happy to see Seagate make serious, on-the-record statements about keeping its entire NAS drive lineup SMR-free.

    Of course, this was prior to WD or Toshiba coming clean.
    Reply