Skip to main content

Surveillance Hard Drive Shoot-Out: WD And Seagate Square Off

Results: WD Surveillance Benchmark, Idle Time

As we stated earlier, WD considers each test case a pass if the idle time is greater than 20%. 

For this round of benchmarks, we considered three different cases. The first was 16 cameras running at 720p/30 FPS, adding up to slightly less than 6 Mb/s per stream in both directions for 16 cameras using H.264 compression. Only the WD Red was unable to keep up with the workload. And now we can start to see the difference WD's AllFrame technology brings to the table. While the Purple idled nearly half of the time, the Surveillance HDD was idle less than 30%. Surprisingly, the Savvio 15K.3 ended up in the middle of the pack. We reran the test multiple times, but recorded the same result.

The next test case was 16 cameras at 1080p/20 FPS. The lower frame rate was a limitation of WD's benchmark, and not a conscious decision on our part. This equals a per-stream bit rate of nearly 8 Mb/s. And we can already see the limitations of both surveillance-oriented drives. Only the enterprise disks were able to get above the 20% mark; WD's Re falls just short.

Finally, we expanded the first test case from 16 to 32 cameras, at which point all of the drives land under the pass/fail criteria. Seagate's Savvio put up a good fight, but was only idle 9% of the time.

This is, by far, the most strenuous test for these drives. Even though the bit rates aren't very high, the read/write cycles put a damper on their performance.

  • CaptainTom
    Didn't even know these existed...
    Reply
  • coolestcarl
    Excellent article. I was doing research into building a custom surveillance system for our shop and this is exactly the kind of material that would help me make an informed decision.
    Reply
  • coolestcarl
    One thing that was unclear... obviously WD recommends no more than 8 in a system because of the lack of RAFF. I was wondering:
    Are there any demonstrable effects on performance of having these drives in a small external raid array (of perhaps 4 drives)?
    Reply
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    "As I noted earlier, those Seagate models are in there as a performance reference; they wouldn't normally compete in the same space as the Purple and Surveillance HDD."

    If you're going to wander into the USD1/GB+ territory, even just for informational purposes, please include an SSD in this mix to be fair. SSD performance/price just might validate people buying them for surveillance drives.

    Thank you.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    I would have whacked a WD Black in there to see how all these specialty drives compare against a standard performance-oriented desktop drive.
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    I would have whacked a WD Black in there to see how all these specialty drives compare against a standard performance-oriented desktop drive.

    Indeed, or any typical Enterprise SATA model (Hitachi HUS, Seagate ES2/NS, etc.)

    Come to think of it, given the consequences of not being able to identify a suspect or
    obtain other relevant visual information due to dropped data, as AndrewJacksonZA
    says it would be interesting to know how these drives compare to various high-capacity
    SSHDs/SSDs, eg. the Seagate 4TB ST4000DX001, Samsung 840 EVO 1TB (which includes
    AES), and (high-density option, power saving) the Samsung MZ-MTE1T0BW 1TB mSATA.
    The higher cost/GB of these products is surely more than worth it given the intended task.

    Ian.

    Reply
  • CaedenV
    Great article! I had no idea at just how huge the performance gap was between the cheap consumer drives and their more industrial cousins in the enterprise market. Have to say though; with enterprise SSDs starting to come down in price with such better specs, it is going to be difficult to justify enterprise hard drives that still cost $1+/GB. I think we are going to see SSD adoption grow like crazy in those enterprise markets the next few years, especially with drives starting to have 5-10 year warranties.

    Article idea: No offence to the writers at Tom's but this is the first interesting article I have read in a long time. Could we get some more articles like this? Maybe some articles comparing onboard Intel RAID with different popular card options? Or comparing how different drives perform in different RAID configurations and workloads? I get the feeling that these drives would perform quite differently as they are really made to work as a team rather than as solo drives.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    13537984 said:
    Come to think of it, given the consequences of not being able to identify a suspect or obtain other relevant visual information due to dropped data
    You would need one grossly under-engineered surveillance system for this to really be a problem since there is nothing happening 99% of the time and those drops would need to conveniently happen during the 1% of the time where you need data and your system administrator would need to have somehow failed to notice and fix the issues in-between events if they were so bad as to render the system unusable for its intended purpose.

    Most of the time though, surveillance recordings are merely a nice convenience in case something goes wrong but are not considered critical outside of casinos, banks and few other (very) high security applications that have their own IT departments or dedicated vendors working on their video archival needs and are unlikely to take their hardware recommendations from enthusiast sites like THG.

    I doubt any normal company would waste SSDs or 10k/12k/15k RPM HDDs on video surveillance storage. They would be more likely to use standard HDDs like WD Black / Red / Green / Blue.
    Reply
  • Amdlova
    seagate in enterprise sector is better than WD. i See these little boys working on a PC and DO such amazing job. Running windows and a old Surveillance card with 32 cameras and you can see the videos and edit at same time.
    Reply
  • drewriley
    13537984 said:
    Come to think of it, given the consequences of not being able to identify a suspect or
    obtain other relevant visual information due to dropped data, as AndrewJacksonZA
    says it would be interesting to know how these drives compare to various high-capacity
    SSHDs/SSDs, eg. the Seagate 4TB ST4000DX001, Samsung 840 EVO 1TB (which includes
    AES), and (high-density option, power saving) the Samsung MZ-MTE1T0BW 1TB mSATA.
    The higher cost/GB of these products is surely more than worth it given the intended task.

    Ian.

    I really debated on whether to include SSDs in the evaluation. The problem is that because of $/GB and write endurance, it would only make sense to use them on a smaller scale setup, which is where their benefits (simultaneous high speed IO), are greatly reduced. Also, their performance would skew the graphs to the point where it would be hard to interpret the results of the HDDs.
    Reply