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Big HDD Showdown: Seagate 10TB vs. HGST Ultrastar He10 vs. WD Gold 8TB

Seagate Enterprise Capacity 10TB HDD

Seagate built the 10TB Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD upon the company's sixth-generation HDD design, which has numerous capacity points, but only the 10TB model bears the first generation of its helium architecture. Seagate is not as forthcoming with the details of the design as its competitors are, but we do know that it employs a forged wrought-aluminum base and a gas-impermeable enclosure. The company utilizes a wide-weld technique to fuse the drive together.

Seagate Enterprise Capacity 10TB 10TB Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD
InterfaceSAS / SATA
RPM7,200 RPM
Sustained Transfer Rate249MB/s
Average Latency4.16ms
Operating Power8.0W (SATA) / 9.0 (SAS)
Idle Power4.5W (SATA) / 5.5 (SAS)
Cache Buffer256 MB
Workload Rating550 TB/Year
MTBF (Million Hours)2.5
UBER Rating1 in 10^15
Warranty5 Years

Seagate's PMR-powered helium HDDs only come in the 10TB capacity point in both 12Gb/s SAS and 6Gb/s SATA flavors, though the company has listed 8TB versions in its manual that are not available. The SATA version of the Seagate 10TB model has a 1.5W higher average operating power specification compared with the HGST model, but it amounts to a 3W decrease compared to Seagate's previous generation air-based 8TB model. The remainder of the features are very similar, though Seagate shed 160 grams of weight over its previous-generation product while gaining an additional 2TB of storage; that brings its weight to 650g (10g less than the HGST model). The Seagate 10TB has a higher areal density of 867Gb/in2 and also uses 7 platters and 14 heads.

Seagate touts that it can achieve 4K random read/write IOPS up to 170/370 at QD16, which is a notable departure from other HDD spec sheets, which often avoid listing random performance metrics. The Seagate 10TB HDD accomplishes the impressive random write performance with its Advanced Write Caching feature.

Seagate debuted its new caching implementation with its 8TB HDDs, but it uses a unique caching mechanism. HGST uses a section of the platter to give its cache a persistent (non-volatile) quality, but Seagate actually employs a persistent NOR memory buffer to cache the incoming random write traffic before writing it sequentially, and thus quickly, to the platter. Seagate doubled the amount of NOR up to 4MB for the 10TB model, and like the competing HGST implementation, the cache never "runs out."

The Seagate 10TB HDD also carries a five-year warranty and 2.5 million hour MTBF, along with a 550TB/year workload rating that covers 600,000 cycles. The series comes with Secure Download and Diagnostics capabilities, and Seagate offers Secure Self-Encrypted Drive (SED) and FIPS models.

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The Seagate drive features a small PCB that connects to the drive body via surface mount pads. We also note the 256MB Micron DRAM package and a SMOOTH motor controller. Two accelerators occupy opposing corners of the board, which allows the drive to detect and counteract vibration, and the drive uses an Avago controller.