Desktop Performance Testing
We divided our performance testing into two sections. On this page, we use a single drive in a desktop system to measure baseline performance. NAS-focused disk drives have become very popular in desktop systems as secondary drives. The increased vibration resistance improves the performance consistency in systems with several fans and other cooling components, like liquid pumps. Vibration will slow all hard disk drives, even those we're testing today, but the additional sensors and firmware optimizations help ensure the best performance.
All of the drives in our tests are built for NAS environments. The IronWolf Pro competes with Western Digital's Red Pro product line directly, but it also competes with the lower SKUs in the IronWolf (7,200- and 5,400-RPM) and Red (5,400-RPM) non-Pro models in smaller systems.
The rest of the drives have faster 7,200-RPM spindle speeds. The 6TB HGST Deskstar NAS and 6TB WD Red Pro are two older models, while the 8TB Toshiba N300 recently came to market.
Sequential Read Performance
The high capacity IronWolf and IronWolf Pro will deliver similar results through most of our tests. Both drives use similar firmware, spin at 7,200-RPM, and share similar advanced features. On paper, the two 12TB IronWolf drives have a performance advantage over competing drives, and that carries over to our sequential read test. The 12TB IronWolf drives top the charts at QD2. The 10TB model follows slightly behind.
Sequential Write Performance
Sequential writes usually bypass the DRAM cache and the data moves directly to the platters. Some products uses the fastest portion of the platters as a cache, but we didn't observe this behavior with the IronWolf series. The 12TB IronWolf HDDs lead in the sequential write test. At QD2, both 12TB drives write at roughly 250 MB/s. The Toshiba N300 8TB trails slightly.
Random Read Performance
The 12TB IronWolf HDDs are in a class of their own during the random performance tests. These two drives step away from the rest of the products and the lead only increases as we intensify the workload. 4KB random performance is closely associated with Windows performance, but these drives are really for secondary storage. If you run applications on them, the IronWolf drives will feel faster than the other drives, but they aren't SSD-fast.
Random Write Performance
The 12TB IronWolf drives deliver nearly 100 more random write IOPS than the nearest product at QD1. The 10TB IronWolf is very close to the 10TB Western Digital Red, but then performance drops off rapidly.
80% Mixed Sequential Workload
High sequential read and write performance doesn't automatically equate to the best results in the mixed workload tests. The top spot goes to the older 6TB Western Digital Red Pro. The 12TB IronWolf Pro scored nearly 30 MB/s less at QD2, and every Red outperformed every Seagate model.
80% Mixed Random Workload
The tables turn during mixed random workloads. The two 12TB IronWolf drives retake the lead, although in a less dominant fashion. The newer Western Digital Red HDDs challenge at QD2.
Sustained Mixed Sequential Workload
This test measures performance in eleven different sequential mixtures. The test reveals some surprising data, like the 8TB Toshiba N300 falling flat through most of the workload mixtures.
Sustained Random Workload
We run the 4KB random write test for one hour after the drives are completely full of data. Here we look at the cache performance. The 12TB IronWolf Pro has higher random write performance than the base 12TB and 10TB IronWolf drives. The HGST and Western Digital drives came out slightly faster than the Seagate HDDs.
PCMark 8 Real-World Software Performance
For details on our real-world software performance testing, please click here.
The 12TB IronWolf Pro really comes into its own during the service time tests and beats the other drives in nearly every test.
Application Storage Bandwidth
The Seagate IronWolf series dominates the application testing when the drives are attached directly to the system. Unlike SSDs, hard disk drives show more variation at the application level, so we measure differences in the tens of seconds in some tests.
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