The Seagate IronWolf Pro is a high-end NAS hard drive with a wide range of capacities, solid all-around performance, and strong support, earning it a spot on our list of best hard drives. It’s priced right, too, with little direct competition outside of the WD Red Pro. The drive comes with a 7200-RPM spindle speed, 256MB of cache and uses the performant CMR technology that ensures consistent performance in a variety of use cases. The drive is backed by a robust five-year warranty augmented by three years of data recovery services.
Seagate's own FireCuda is the better choice for desktop use, but it only has a limited capacity range of 4TB and 8TB. At higher capacities, you would need to look to the Toshiba X300 or Seagate BarraCuda Pro for competing drives, but these are not currently priced favorably at the 14TB capacity point.
For NAS applications, there’s also the lower-end non-pro Seagate IronWolf and WD Red Plus, although these are not significantly less expensive at the moment. In any case, the IronWolf Pro seems to provide a similar experience even where efficiency is concerned, so it’s hard to pass up. It isn't as competitive against the 20TB hard drives we have reviewed, but this is to be expected. The choice, therefore, comes down to the desired capacity and relative pricing at that capacity. Seagate’s software and support for the IronWolf Pro also make it compelling, even outside of NAS use cases.
|Product||Seagate IronWolf Pro|
|Cost per TB||$18.68|
|Interface||SATA 6 Gb/s|
|Sustained Transfer Rate||255 MB/s|
|Workload Rate Limit||300 TB/year|
|MTTF||2.5 million hours|
|Warranty||5-year (w/3-year recovery)|
The Seagate IronWolf Pro comes in a variety of capacities up to 22TB, and all capacities but 22TB have two different versions depending on the application. The base version generally has a 300 TB/year workload rate limit (WRL) that defines the cumulative amount of data that can be read or written to the drive per year, which applies to our 14TB sample today. The enhanced variant has a 550 TB/year WRL, better performance, and supports unlimited drive bays, making it more of an enterprise part.
The base version is currently $261. Given its performance and warranty, that's an excellent price per terabyte, even for non-NAS use. The IronWolf Pro uses the performant CMR technology at 7200 RPM with 256MB of cache to reach a transfer rate of 255 MB/s. The warranty is five years with three years of Seagate’s Rescue Data Recovery Services (Seagate claims a 90% recovery rate).
The IronWolf Pro's biggest competitor is the WD Red Pro, which at 14TB, is a few dollars more. The Red Pro has OptiNAND technology and more cache but lacks data recovery service. There are alternatives to the IronWolf Pro at 14TB, depending on your needs. The Seagate Exos X18, similar to the Exos X20 we’ve reviewed, is the IronWolf Pro’s sibling, providing 12 Gbps SAS variants but lacking data recovery services. It’s also possible to step down to drives like the WD Red Plus, the Toshiba X300, or the regular IronWolf, but these perform worse and have shorter warranties. Current pricing favors the IronWolf Pro.
Software and Accessories
Seagate offers SeaTools and DiscWizard to help monitor and maintain drive health and to assist with cloning and imaging, respectively. The IronWolf Pro additionally has IronWolf Health Management (IHM) for additional health monitoring and recovery for these drives. Combined with the recovery services, this helps set the IronWolf Pro apart from the Red Pro.
A Closer Look
The Seagate IronWolf adheres to the 3.5" form factor and features a 6 Gb/s SATA connection that lends wide compatibility. The IronWolf Pro has an interesting label with a branding logo that resembles a wolf - or a mountain. Seagate does not use any sort of flash technology in this drive as WD does in its Red Pro, so internally, it has the typical spindle and drive controllers and a 256MB DRAM cache.
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