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


The WD Gold 8TB marks the inaugural WD helium HDD. WD owns HGST, which is currently the leader in helium technology, but the quirks of the buyout forced WD to wait to use the HGST HelioStack technology. MOFCOM recently removed the roadblocks for technology sharing, so WD is now ramping up its production of helium HDDs. Denser models are on the way.

WD has a fondness for color-based branding with its client products, and that branding spilled over to the enterprise side. The Gold series appears to be replacing the Re branding, which defined the high-capacity nearline WD HDDs for several years. The Gold series also features 4 and 6 TB capacities, but they are standard air-based HDDs.

The WD Gold, for most purposes, appears to be very similar to the He8 from HGST. It also employs HGST's media caching technology to boost random write performance by up to 30% over WD's previous-gen HDDs, and the HGST 7Stac architecture makes an appearance with 7 platters and 14 heads. WD indicates that the move to helium, along with new electronics, provides a 26% reduction in power consumption over its 6TB models.

WD Gold 8TB Gold
RPM7,200 RPM
Sustained Transfer Rate205MB/s
Average Latency4.16ms
Operating Power8.0W (SATA) / 9.0 (SAS)
Idle Power4.5W (SATA) / 5.5 (SAS)
Cache Buffer128 MB
Workload Rating550 TB/Year
MTBF (Million Hours)2.5
UBER Rating1 in 10^15
Warranty5 Years

The WD Gold 8TB has a lower sustained transfer rate than the 10TB competitors do, and it also has a much smaller 128 MB cache, which is the same amount of cache found on the HGST HE8. We expect the drive to offer similarly impressive random write and mixed random workload performance.

WD rated the Gold for 600,000 load/unload cycles and it carries a five-year warranty. The drive weighs in at 650g, which is suspiciously similar to the He8. The Gold series is only available with the SATA interface and uses standard PMR.

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The WD Gold uses the same pin-based connection scheme that we noted on the He8, and the PCB layout is identical. The WD implementation uses a different LSI TNN2683421 controller and a Nanya DRAM package.

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.