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.

Comments closed
    • jstern
    • 6 years ago

    I’m so glad it’s 6tb rather than 5tb. It’s been 3 years since 4tb came out.

    • ronch
    • 6 years ago

    I honestly never had a Seagate die prematurely except my cousin’s 500GB model which we bought in October of 2008. It’s one of those that just bricked themselves because of faulty firmware. I’d probably give Seagate a shot again when I go out for something more capacious than my 1TB Hitachi 7K1000.C which I got in May 2011 and which has only got about 94GB of free space left.

    • Bensam123
    • 6 years ago

    Helium filled then?

    • Farting Bob
    • 6 years ago

    I wont be paying for a 6TB drive, but it’s good news and should start bringing 4TB closer to the price/TB sweet spot which is currently held by 2-3TB drives that have been out a while now. Hoping to upgrade my collection of 5 drives (2x3TB, 2x2TB, 1x 1TB) in my fileserver to just 3 4TB drives in the summer.

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 6 years ago

    And on the 4th day, the Statistician was fired and a 6TB HDD was created.

    • dextrous
    • 6 years ago

    Most companies aren’t going to pay the advertised CDW price. My company’s contract is good for $561.67 on the Seagate and $824.18 on the Hitachi.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 6 years ago

    I thought Seagate 3TB have the highest failure rate.

    “and then we doubled it”

      • LoneWolf15
      • 6 years ago

      Still gunshy from the 7200.11 1.5TB fiasco. Lost 2 of 3 drives I purchased in less than a year.

      I haven’t had an issue with WD Reds on the other hand.

        • d0g_p00p
        • 6 years ago

        Yeah I use nothing but WD Reds in my disk arrays now.

    • Deanjo
    • 6 years ago

    Wonder if the QR Code takes you straight to their RMA site.

      • Duck
      • 6 years ago

      huehuehue

    • albundy
    • 6 years ago

    so are we still getting perpendicular? or is that a thing of the past?

      • just brew it!
      • 6 years ago

      I think all modern drives use it now.

    • colinstu12
    • 6 years ago

    Does it use Helium like the HGST drive does? Hopefully not, would lower the price of it I would imagine.

      • Krogoth
      • 6 years ago

      It uses denser platters than HGST He unit. πŸ˜‰

    • indeego
    • 6 years ago

    [url=http://www.computerweekly.com/opinion/Bigger-drives-mean-the-RAID-rebuild-must-become-a-thing-of-the-past<]Of Note...[/url<]

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 6 years ago

      Yes, this is a very important read. It is good that it is being addressed.

    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 6 years ago

    This calls for a reliability study…

    • Deanjo
    • 6 years ago

    *shudder* trusting 6 TB of data on a Seagate drive *shudder*

      • maxxcool
      • 6 years ago

      *NEVER* buying Seagate ever again.

        • NeelyCam
        • 6 years ago

        Looks like Seagate marketing folks are downthumbing you guys. I tried to fix the damage as much as I could.

          • maxxcool
          • 6 years ago

          Appreciate it. πŸ™‚ Voting with my wallet and that wallet of every client I support…

          If the neg- voters don’t like it I invite them to look at the backblaze report one more time πŸ˜‰

            • Chrispy_
            • 6 years ago

            I’m not voting on this issue either way, because it’s hard to argue with the backblaze report, but I have this to add to the mix:

            I’ve bought 2TB and 3TB external drives before from companies like Intenso and Buffalo, and ‘shucked’ them because the external drives were cheaper than bare SATA drives.

            Turns out that they’re a mix of HGST, WD, Toshiba, Samsung and Seagate drives. With the Hitachi and Seagate drives, I noticed that the shucked drives were noisier under seek and vibrated more than other drives of the exact same model that I bought at retail. I’m thinking that these drives sold on by HDD manufacturers to third-parties like Intenso and Buffalo are B-grade drives that don’t qualify for 2 or 3 year warranties as system drives, but which are perfectly decent for occasional external backup. It’s a hunch, but that explains why they are

            a) cheaper than bare drives
            b) noisier than bare drives
            c) more prone to failure.

            Just as Intel/AMD/Nvidia re-badge functional silicon with die-harvested parts (perhaps because it doesn’t run at a low enough voltage or can’t meet a certain clockspeed) I think HDD manufacturers still sell out-of-spec hard drives as a way of getting some returns on products that don’t meet 24-month 24/7/365 tolerance, but still work well enough to give a 12 month warranty to a third party.

            I don’t really use Seagate disks at home much or in workstations (Mostly WD or Samsung until now) but I’ve had 7.2, 10K and 15K drives from Seagate in servers for well over a decade, and given my 1000+ drive sample size, I can’t see that seagates production stuff is any less reliable than Hitachi or WD.

            • maxxcool
            • 6 years ago

            True, add to that this is a “enterprise device” so some of the issues may not occur here. But, it is to often they blur production lines and share failure prone parts so it is juts to hard for me to let that go.

            • DarkMikaru
            • 6 years ago

            Well said Chrispy. Your hypothosis makes sense to me. I too have always wondered why the external version are often well under the price of the bare drive. Example, right now Newegg has a Seagate 4TB external for 119! The bare drive will set you back at least 149 or so. I’m personally eyeballing the 4TB WD Green as they’ve served me quite well over the years.

            Which brings me to another point. All this boils down to personal experience unfortunately. That is great that your experience has been excellent regarding Seagate drives. Honestly, I’m surprised that it seems there quality has taken such a nose dive. As back in the day I built with nothing but Maxtor (before they were absorbed into Seagate) & Seagate drives and had little to no failures. They were quite reliable. Back then, to me, I couldn’t get a WD drive to live longer than a year to save my life. They were terrible. Yet a close friend of mine always had Maxtor drives die, but WD’s always served him well. To this day he won’t touch Seagate with a 10ft pole lol. I guess we are all correct in our assumptions. Just comes down to personal experience unfortunately.

            I still have brand new Seagate Cheetah 10k / 15k SCSI drives brand new in the wrapping that I just never got around to playing with. Not sure what to do with em as I’m sure I couldn’t sell em on ebay lol Who’d buy them.

        • DarkMikaru
        • 6 years ago

        Maxxcool… man, as much as I hate to agree with you on that statement. I do. About 6 months ago I bought my last Seagate drive. Last few builds that I put Seagate drives in promptly died between two & six months in. I just can’t risk it for client builds anymore, let alone personal. Every machine I’ve built that I put a WD 500GB Blue / Green drive.. flawless. Hell, I’m running 4 WD Greens currently circa 2008/09 running daily in my home server. Never a single problem.

        *note…software mirrored..not raided….RAID KILLS WD GREENS.

        Anyway…. just my two cents. With you man, voting with my wallet as well.

      • tstartrekdude
      • 6 years ago

      If the thought of a drive failing makes you shudder then you have a poor backup strategy.

        • Deanjo
        • 6 years ago

        Having to back up 6 TB isn’t exactly quick by any means. At roughly 200 MB/s transfer speed you are still looking at roughly 10 hours to back up a full drive (many more if it is full of smaller files). That’s just on a simple copy. Rebuilding a raid could take days and honestly I don’t have that much faith in seagates anymore, especially in enterprise environments under that type of constant load.

          • Krogoth
          • 6 years ago

          You realize that HDD issues aren’t limited to one manufacturer or product line?

          The problem is that these larger HDDs are build with extremely fine tolerances. It very difficult to engineer a unit that reliably read 500GiB+ platters and there’s constant pressure to cut corners in order to meet market demand. It is no surprise that HDD reliability has seen a widespread decline over the past decade.

            • Deanjo
            • 6 years ago

            Yes I do realize that, I also realize the horrible experiences I have had with Seagates in enterprise and consumer environments. I also realize that Seagate was by far the least reliable drive while at Apple. I also realize that I have a stack of Seagates waiting to be taken apart so their platters can be put to use as coasters. I also realize that even my decade old Maxtors are still going strong.

            I also realize that my experiences reflect what industry studies have shown.

      • Krogoth
      • 6 years ago

      Correction*, trusting 6TB of data on any HDD.

      • clairaoswald
      • 6 years ago

      I run a 14 drive freenas, about 3/4 seagate 2tb and 1/4 western digital greens. I’ve had 4 seagate’s die in the last 2 years from an initial batch of 8 bought 5 years ago. Been replacing them with western digital reds.

      I will never buy seagate again, there must be a reason why seagate’s are always cheaper than western digital drives. Probably a quality issue and backblaze’s study supports this.

    • flip-mode
    • 6 years ago

    On a related note, my 2TB Hitachi drive just died over the weekend. I am so thankful for backups! WD 4TB Black just ordered.

    • the
    • 6 years ago

    “The family is designed for servers, of course, and it’s available with either [b<]12Gbps SATA[/b<] or 6Gbps SATA connectivity." (emphasis added) The ST6000NM0104 has a 12 Gbit/s SAS connection, not SATA. There are 6 Gbit/s SATA models though.

      • cmrcmk
      • 6 years ago

      Ah, marketing. Except for the cache, this drive could use 3Gbps and it would perform the same.

        • magila
        • 6 years ago

        With SAS at least there’s actually a good reason for the faster speed. SAS is often used with expanders which multiplex access to many disks over a handful of SAS ports. Using a faster phy rate on the drive interface allows that same rate to be used on the host side of the expander where 1-4 ports can be used to access 24+ drives.

    • jjj
    • 6 years ago

    “It has an areal density of 1000 GB/inΒ² ”

    That is Gb not GB and the area density makes one wonder how many platters are they using and what’s the platter size. Are we getting 4.8-5TB drives with 4 platters soon?

      • the
      • 6 years ago

      Hrm, if one were to combine that with the He fill drive technology, that’d make 9 TB drives feasible.

        • jjj
        • 6 years ago

        Helium drives won’t get cheap anytime soon so it matters little.
        Anyway, Seagate previously stated that the 6TB drive will be using 6 platters but it would be a bit odd to claim this increase in density and use 6 platters soit would be nice to know for sure.

          • Farting Bob
          • 6 years ago

          I would be surprised if this used anything other than 5 platters. It could even use 4 platters given the huge density figures, but 5 is more likely.

    • Kougar
    • 6 years ago

    The drive should be using heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), as per [url=http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9225335/With_tech_breakthrough_Seagate_promises_60TB_drives_this_decade<]this 2012 article.[/url<]

      • continuum
      • 6 years ago

      Doesn’t smell like HAMR is ready quite yet…

      [url<]http://www.seagate.com/about/newsroom/press-releases/HMR-demo-ceatec-2013-pr-master/[/url<] Claims a 2.5" is next, not a 3.5", and who knows if that'll actually make production. That said I don't really care what it uses as long as the performance is there. So SMR would be [i<]awful[/i<] as it tanks writes, but if there's no performance hit then it's all god... πŸ˜›

        • Kougar
        • 6 years ago

        Well, given they originally announced HAMR two years ago and it took this long to launch a product using it, I would agree that it sounds like they had a few snags with it.

        That said, this drive is the same 1 Tb/inch areal rating as was claimed by their 2012 launch plans:

        [quote<] The first generation of HAMR drives, at just over 1 terabit per square inch, will likely more than double the latter capacities - to 6TB for 3.5-inch drives and 2TB for 2.5-inch models. [/quote<] So by those same plans, a 20TB 3.5" model before 2020 is still fine by me. Especially if it doesn't use SMR... maybe Seagate can borrow HGST's helium trick instead, who knows. Edit: Wish I knew why paragraph breaks no longer work right anymore...

      • Farting Bob
      • 6 years ago

      HAMR time.

    • Krogoth
    • 6 years ago

    Somewhat impressed….

      • Generic
      • 6 years ago

      Duly noted.

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