6TB crammed into 3.5'' Seagate Enterprise Capacity drives

Move over, Ultrastar He6. There's a new 6TB hard drive in town. Seagate has introduced a lineup of Enterprise Capacity 3.5" drives that scales up to 6TB. The family is designed for servers, of course, and it's available with either 12Gbps SAS or 6Gbps SATA connectivity.

Seagate quotes sequential transfer rates up to 216MB/s for the new drives, and it says the 6TB model is the fastest offering in its class. The Hitachi Ultrastar He6 is rated for only 177MB/s, lending weight to Seagate's claim. Both drives spin their platters at 7,200 RPM. However, the Seagate packs its bits much more tightly. It has an areal density of 1000 Gb/in², which is nearly double the 544 GB/in² of the He6.

Surprisingly, neither the press release nor the product page confirms whether the Enterprise Capacity drives use the shingled magnetic recording technology Seagate revealed last September. Otherwise known as SMR, this new tech increases bit densities by layering tracks on top of each other. The overlap has an associated performance penalty when data is rewritten, though. We've asked Seagate whether the new drives employ SMR, and we'll update this story when we hear back.

The Enterprise Capacity family is available in 1-6TB flavors, each of which comes with a massive 128MB DRAM cache. 256-bit AES encryption is also on the menu along with end-to-end data protection and enhanced secure erase functionality. The drives are covered by a five-year warranty, and they're rated for "24/7 workloads of 550TB/yr."

Seagate doesn't quote official prices for the new models, but the drives are already listed at CDW. That vendor charges $642 for the 6TB model and $487 for the 5TB variant. It also sells the Ultrastar He6 6TB for $942, which makes the Enterprise Capacity drives look like relative bargains.

Update: Seagate has confirmed that the Enterprise Capacity drives do not use shingled magnetic recording.

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