Hard Drive Seagate IronWolf Pro 16 TB Winchester: Review & Testing - WritenAreGiven

Hard Drive Seagate IronWolf Pro 16 TB Winchester: Review & Testing

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Table of contents

  • Seagate IronWolf Pro ST16000NE000 16 TB
  • Specifications
  • Testing
  • Testing methodology
  • Application Performance
  • Sequential operations
  • Access time
  • Work with large files
  • Ratings
  • Total

As we already mentioned in the review of the Seagate Exos X16 hard drive, it has analogues in the more “popular” lines IronWolf and IronWolf Pro. In addition, a similar model appeared in the "voyeuristic" SkyHawk AI family, but the "computer" BarraCuda Proline, for the time being, remained at 14 TB. Formally, this limits the offer, but in fact (as has been said more than once), the line of hard drives for different purposes in practice differ only in firmware, and even that is often not important. However, Exos has its own peculiarities, but last time we had to compare it with IronWolf Pro of lower capacity, which left some white spots. Of course, we don’t like this, so at the first opportunity, we also got 16 TB of IronWolf Pro, which is now comparable with both its “predecessor” and Exos with a similar capacity.


Seagate IronWolf Pro ST16000NE000 16 TB

Seagate IronWolf Pro 16 TB


Specifications

Seagate IronWolf Pro ST14000NE0008Seagate Exos X16 ST16000NM001GSeagate IronWolf Pro ST16000NE000
Form factor3.5 ″3.5 ″3.5 ″
Capacity, tbfourteen1616
Spindle rotation speed, rpm720072007200
Buffer Volume, MB256256256
Number of heads16eighteeneighteen
Number of discs899
InterfaceSATA600SATA600SATA600
Power Consumption (+5), A0.90.90.9
Power Consumption (+12), A0.720.720.72

In principle, as already mentioned, all the difference between 16 and 14 TB in the Seagate line is a nine- and eight-plate design. The plates themselves are the same, and TDMR heads too. Toshiba, on the contrary, has nine plates in any case, but they are different, so this affects the speed characteristics (all the more so since the company also erased cache memory in MG08 and its relatives - which has already become 512 MB). At Seagate, two IronWolf Pros should be about the same in speed, and all the differences between Exos and the older one should be due solely and exclusively to the firmware. Therefore, we do not need any models other than these three.

Testing


Testing methodology



The technique is described in detail in a separate article. There you can get acquainted with the used hardware and software.



Application Performance

In principle, as has already been said more than once, for high-capacity models, such scenarios are pure synthetics - budget computers with a hard drive "for everything" still exist, but this segment consumes only low-cost "smalls" of 1-2 TB, and who has found money for 16 - he has it for a decent solid-state drive. But this is practically the only option for custom complex loads and, again, the difference in firmware here, if available, will be best seen. Despite the fact that both IronWolf Pro and Exos are not oriented towards PC use, it is difficult to expect special firmware optimizations from both.

 Hard Drive Seagate IronWolf Pro 16 TB

But the results are slightly different. So much so that you can’t write them off to the measurement error ... But to the spread within even one family is quite possible. However, Exos is stably the slowest - but the difference between the two IronWolf Pros is already comparable with the errors (both the work of the tests and the manufacturing process). In general, for personal tasks, the "NAS" new lines are more interesting - and cheaper, again. Although the latter is more pronounced in the case of IronWolf non-Pro, it also has a shorter warranty - which is not good for an expensive device (and all high-capacity hard drives).

Sequential operations

 Hard Drive Seagate IronWolf Pro 16 TB

Here, but everything is quite smooth. But it could not be otherwise - performance in such simple scenarios is determined by the plates and heads (in other words, mechanics), and they are almost identical for the whole three. The older couple have exactly the same.

Seagate IronWolf Pro 16 TB

Here, something may already depend on the firmware - in any case, on its interaction with the cache memory. Yes, and the capacity of the latter too, but the same. Unfortunately, since as the physical capacity of the hard drives themselves increases, the efficiency of read-ahead while maintaining the same 256 MB decreases monotonously. We have already seen and know this - but IronWolf Pro 16 TB simply falls into the same canvas.

 Seagate IronWolf Pro 16 TB

In terms of recording - too. Exos is the slowest here since it works a little differently with the cache, and the IronWolf Pro pair shows almost identical results.

Access time

 Hard Drive Seagate IronWolf Pro 16 TB

Another test for mechanics, and in this scenario, the scatter of the results within the same class (7200 rpm, 3.5 ″) is generally small since its inception. It is understandable why - latency directly depends on the "width" of the work area, and after searching for the desired track, you still need to "wait" for the passage of the requested sector under the head. Therefore, stability. And, in fact, the gradual departure of hard drives from areas where performance is still required - as soon as it appears what to replace them with.

 Hard Drive Seagate IronWolf Pro 16 TB

But at the very least, it’s possible to “play” with the record - if you do not rush to physically record sectors, but keep them in the cache. This is dangerous from the point of view of data safety in case of sudden power outages, but it can improve performance - until the cache runs out. If we reduced the amount of data, Exos would have “had enough” for all three tracks, but it is already the fastest: IronWolf use this mechanism not so aggressively. But the 16 TB modification still uses it - like the 10-12 TB models, but at 14 TB, judging by the speed, random write caching was disabled or was very limited in terms of the volume of operations. The reason is indicated above - the greater the buffer capacity allocated for this business, the more likely it is to lose data during power failures. In addition, modern versions of operating systems are engaged in caching - and do it as if no more efficiently, than the firmware of the hard drives (and the cache capacities in the main RAM are simply not comparable with the "miserable" built-in megabytes). And, again, when the speed of such operations is critical, hard drives have generally not been used for a long time. But they have long been trained in such tricks.

Work with large files

We decided to conduct these tests not only on an “empty” hard drive (which allows us to get maximum performance, but it is too different from “typical” scenarios), but also on the last 100 GB (where due to the nature of the technology the speed is the lowest).

Seagate IronWolf Pro 16 TB

Seagate IronWolf Pro 16 TB

On the whole, however, there are no discoveries - as was already said at the beginning of the article, Seagate models of hard drives with 14 and 16 TB differ mainly in the quantity, but not in the “quality” of the wafers. And file operations are not the case when differences in firmware may affect performance. Therefore, the whole three behaves in approximately the same way - and not too different from what is commonly considered to be an “ordinary desktop hard drive” in general for about 10 years now. Performance on purely sequential operations has grown over this time, but not radically. Its fall as it moved “from the edges to the centre” remained in place: it couldn’t be otherwise, because these are the strict laws of geometry. But, in principle, speeds on internal tracks are already approaching maximum (on external) for models of the past decade. On the one hand, an achievement.

Ratings

Seagate IronWolf Pro 16 TB

On read operations, the results of IronWolf Pro 16 TB practically coincide with the results of Exos X16, which is identical in hardware, but when writing, it behaves more like the previous “flagship” of its line. In general, in both cases the lowest result was chosen :) The total points for the mentioned pair turned out to be almost the same, since these effects compensated each other, and the “newbie” as a result lags behind both.

Seagate IronWolf Pro 16 TB

However, if you look at the general estimates of all the hard drives tested by us today, it’s easy to notice that all the “helium” Seagate high-capacity models (from 10 TB), firstly, are among the fastest in their class, and secondly, not so radically different from each other. The entire range is 1444-1551, that is, less than 10%, which, in principle, is able to "meet" the production and/or measurement errors. So, to a first approximation, the entire family of “data guards” (which began with 10 TB and replenished with larger capacities) can be considered identical in performance. The main differences are the actual capacity, price and features of the warranty conditions, i.e., factors interrelated in practice.

Total


As such, checking the speed indicators of hard drives has long made sense only to ensure that nothing changes in this segment of the market. And significant changes "ended" even earlier. As a result, the main characteristics in practice are capacity and price. Reliability could be even more important - but it is completely unpredictable in advance. So the most “correct” method will always rely on the worst - then the problems will not be taken by surprise. And if problems do not happen at all, then there will be a good reason for joy. This concerns, however, not only hard drives, but also any drives, and just storage media, and the issue of backing up important information became relevant not in the last decade - it had to be solved even before the advent of personal computers as such. Another thing, that ensuring redundancy of data storage further “spurs” the need to increase the capacity of drives. and that at the moment in combination is also the main competitive advantage of hard drives on wafers with a diameter of 3.5 ″. Actually, that's why we are observing the traditional annual increase of +2 TB in the same form factor. Now we have reached 16 TB. And this, apparently, is the latest achievement of the “traditional” perpendicular recording - with all the improvements, such as TDMR heads and filling the case with helium. The industry will “take” the next “peaks” already on updated technologies, but this process itself will “go” only in the first half of next year. and that at the moment in combination is also the main competitive advantage of hard drives on wafers with a diameter of 3.5 ″. Actually, that's why we are observing the traditional annual increase of +2 TB in the same form factor. Now we have reached 16 TB. And this, apparently, is the latest achievement of the “traditional” perpendicular recording - with all the improvements, such as TDMR heads and filling the case with helium. The industry will “take” the next “peaks” already on updated technologies, but this process itself will “go” only in the first half of next year. and that at the moment in combination is also the main competitive advantage of hard drives on wafers with a diameter of 3.5 ″. Actually, that's why we are observing the traditional annual increase of +2 TB in the same form factor. Now we have reached 16 TB. And this, apparently, is the latest achievement of the “traditional” perpendicular recording - with all the improvements, such as TDMR heads and filling the case with helium. The industry will “take” the next “peaks” already on updated technologies, but this process itself will “go” only in the first half of next year. the latest achievement of the “traditional” perpendicular recording - with all the improvements, such as TDMR heads and filling the housing with helium. The industry will “take” the next “peaks” already on updated technologies, but this process itself will “go” only in the first half of next year. the latest achievement of the “traditional” perpendicular recording - with all the improvements, such as TDMR heads and filling the housing with helium. The industry will “take” the next “peaks” already on updated technologies, but this process itself will “go” only in the first half of next year.







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