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Question Question on Seagate/WD high end drives

Herlock

Junior Member
Sep 29, 2020
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Hi, all. In the Seagate website, their EXOS HDD line is touted as their "enterprise" grade drives, with the implication they are their highest quality and more reliable drives. Yet, when looking at Seagate drives' pricing in Amazon, I see that their EXOS X16 12 TB is just $270, whereas their Ironwolf 12TB is much more expensive at $314. So, my question is, why would the allegedly higher quality EXOS drive sell for so much less than the Ironwolf?

Also, I see that the WD Red Pro 12 TB HDD is a whopping $420. What would justify this very high price when compared to the Seagate drives of identical capacity?

Thanks for any information.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
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Looking at the Seagate examples you provided above, the IronWolf is sold by Amazon, and the Exos is sold by a 3rd party seller (and likely doesn't come with a warranty from Seagate).

The 12TB Exos drive is $336 sold by Newegg.
 
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MalVeauX

Senior member
Dec 19, 2008
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Heya,

As pointed out, you have to look at who's selling it; it's not likely "new" or it simply is a grey market or an item without warranty. When it's too good to be true, it usually is.

But regardless of price, yes, the EXOS line is the enterprise class version of consumer available HDD's from Seagate while the other lines (Ironwolf, Baracuda, etc) are not rated for the same class of operation. If you look at their MSRP and at authorized seller's costs, their will be an obvious ladder system.

Seagate in general tries to under-price Western Digital. It's their only way to compete. Seagate isn't winning the performance or reliability numbers game, so they go for the price ratio game. Western Digital doesn't necessarily make better drives (these days), but they purchased so many others that they just have a monstrous market. This is not to say Seagate does not produce a good drive. It's just that Western Digital is a much larger market, larger brand (with lots of sub-ordinate brands) and they are heavily publicized with many companies and marketing. So they push for the higher price.

If you look at Western Digital's retail cost for a Gold series (Ultrastar, Enterprise class) drives, they're very, very expensive compared to EXOS from Seagate. You cannot compare a WD Red series to an Seagate EXOS series, as they're comparing NAS to Enterprise.

So it seems you're looking for a big capacity drive, do you have a purpose in mind for it? What the drive will be doing and the environment it will be in plays a big role in what class drive you should be looking into.

Very best,
 

Herlock

Junior Member
Sep 29, 2020
5
3
36
Heya,

As pointed out, you have to look at who's selling it; it's not likely "new" or it simply is a grey market or an item without warranty. When it's too good to be true, it usually is.

But regardless of price, yes, the EXOS line is the enterprise class version of consumer available HDD's from Seagate while the other lines (Ironwolf, Baracuda, etc) are not rated for the same class of operation. If you look at their MSRP and at authorized seller's costs, their will be an obvious ladder system.

Seagate in general tries to under-price Western Digital. It's their only way to compete. Seagate isn't winning the performance or reliability numbers game, so they go for the price ratio game. Western Digital doesn't necessarily make better drives (these days), but they purchased so many others that they just have a monstrous market. This is not to say Seagate does not produce a good drive. It's just that Western Digital is a much larger market, larger brand (with lots of sub-ordinate brands) and they are heavily publicized with many companies and marketing. So they push for the higher price.

If you look at Western Digital's retail cost for a Gold series (Ultrastar, Enterprise class) drives, they're very, very expensive compared to EXOS from Seagate. You cannot compare a WD Red series to an Seagate EXOS series, as they're comparing NAS to Enterprise.

So it seems you're looking for a big capacity drive, do you have a purpose in mind for it? What the drive will be doing and the environment it will be in plays a big role in what class drive you should be looking into.

Very best,
Thanks for all the info.

Yes, I have a very specific purpose in mind. Currently, I have a 4TB WD Red drive on my Intel i7 Manjaro KDE desktop, exclusively dedicated to store personal data, to include scanned records going back decades, some music (my CD collection converted to FLAC), etc., taking up at this point nearly 50% of said drive. I actually have two identical 4TB drives, one of them set up to automatically mirror the other, so I do not lose my data to an accidental HDD failure. Now that I am retired, I am about to start scanning negatives, slides and photos going back to my childhood, and this is likely going to take a monstrous amount of storage, especially if I select a higher resolution scanning on my Epson V600 scanner setting for this job, so, I figure a couple of 12TB HDDs in the same configuration as the 4TBs I now have would future-proof my storage needs for a LONG time to come, probably for whatever years I have left.

Thanks again.
 
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MalVeauX

Senior member
Dec 19, 2008
391
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Thanks for all the info.

Yes, I have a very specific purpose in mind. Currently, I have a 4TB WD Red drive on my Intel i7 Manjaro KDE desktop, exclusively dedicated to store personal data, to include scanned records going back decades, some music (my CD collection converted to FLAC), etc., taking up at this point nearly 50% of said drive. I actually have two identical 4TB drives, one of them set up to automatically mirror the other, so I do not lose my data to an accidental HDD failure. Now that I am retired, I am about to start scanning negatives, slides and photos going back to my childhood, and this is likely going to take a monstrous amount of storage, especially if I select a higher resolution scanning on my Epson V600 scanner setting for this job, so, I figure a couple of 12TB HDDs in the same configuration as the 4TBs I now have would future-proof my storage needs for a LONG time to come, probably for whatever years I have left.

Thanks again.
Excellent,

Since you're already set with a good file system (though I would suggest looking into implementation of ZFS file system, it can be added to your OS, to have a checksum and self healing structure built for integrity). Even with out that, you're already in good shape having a mirror of your data, and not just parity (RAID, etc). Mirrors with big drives are better in general than smaller drives in a parity setup. Recovery is much more reliable, faster and frankly easier.

What you're describing is a drive that will receive data, and mostly simply have data read from it, no intense writes, re-writes, etc. Just a storage drive that is accessed but not re-using sectors over and over as you change data, your data is going to be static and merely add new data to new sectors over time. So basically what I'm saying is that you don't even need an enterprise or NAS class drive for this. Especially since you are mirroring. Sure they are better, but what they are better at is basically a lot of the stuff you won't be using them for. So for cost, you could be comfortable with desktop class drives as mirrors. They are simply accessed and read from.

The 12~14 TB drives are pretty good in terms of cost/capacity from either manufacturer right now. The 16Gb+ ones are still premium for cost in general. If you want to look into getting the most capacity for your money, take a look at shucking external HDD's. You can get 14TB WD Easystore drives from BestBuy for about $215 a piece ($250 after taxes, shipping, etc likely). The drives inside are good, white label drives that have their serial numbers akin to Ultrastar class drives. If that's not something you're interested in, and you want new retail off the shelf internal drives, by all means, whatever is affordable will do the job. I would not worry too much since you are mirroring and the idea that both drives will fail together or corrupt together is so minute that spending a lot more for better drives really doesn't drive that percentage chance anywhere meaningful. You could do fine with some Seagate Baracudas, or WD NAS class drives. Redundancy is worth a lot more than just better drives. All enterprise class drives will fail eventually. But several mirrored drives will outlast that even. I would target an enterprise class drive for something that needs to write, re-write, delete, write, re-write, expand, etc, like an operating system drive or a working environment drive. Drives that will simply be written to one time for the data set, occupy those sectors indefinitely, and simply add new data each time, and 99% of its life it's merely read-from can be virtually any drive that turns on, and safe with redundancy.

For critical storage, burn your most important documents, images, etc, to archival class optical media. It's the most affordable and will last beyond our life time (Bluray archival, DVD archival, M-Disc, etc).

Very best,
 

Herlock

Junior Member
Sep 29, 2020
5
3
36
MalVeaux, you make an excellent point on desktop grade HDDs being a good solution for my almost completely static data storage purposes, especially since I am mirroring the data, and yes, I do use optical drive backup for the most critical data I cannot afford to ever lose, by using ultra-cheap 25GB bluray blanks, which I can get these days for about $22 for a 50-disk stack. Years ago, I built a FreeNAS server with parity memory, and of course, the ZFS F/S to avoid bit rot, but, getting on in years, I am simplifying my life, and these days I just have the aforementioned desktop, a Lenovo T480 (running Manjaro KDE as well) for whenever I travel, and that's about it for me. I am keeping it simple these days, and will look to somewhat lesser grade drives for my solution, as per your recommendation. And yes, in the last I have shucked a couple of external WD drives, and lucked out in that I didn't even need to cover pin 3 to have my desktop BIOS see the drives, but, for the 12TB deal, will be looking at HDDs, which are no longer that expensive.

Thanks!!
 
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MalVeauX

Senior member
Dec 19, 2008
391
30
91
MalVeaux, you make an excellent point on desktop grade HDDs being a good solution for my almost completely static data storage purposes, especially since I am mirroring the data, and yes, I do use optical drive backup for the most critical data I cannot afford to ever lose, by using ultra-cheap 25GB bluray blanks, which I can get these days for about $22 for a 50-disk stack. Years ago, I built a FreeNAS server with parity memory, and of course, the ZFS F/S to avoid bit rot, but, getting on in years, I am simplifying my life, and these days I just have the aforementioned desktop, a Lenovo T480 (running Manjaro KDE as well) for whenever I travel, and that's about it for me. I am keeping it simple these days, and will look to somewhat lesser grade drives for my solution, as per your recommendation. And yes, in the last I have shucked a couple of external WD drives, and lucked out in that I didn't even need to cover pin 3 to have my desktop BIOS see the drives, but, for the 12TB deal, will be looking at HDDs, which are no longer that expensive.

Thanks!!
You are set sir, enjoy the golden years! I can only dream of being retired one day I fear.

Note, if you get especially paranoid, you can setup mirrors with more than 2 drives (you could go 3+) if you ever felt the need.

We are at a weird crossroads with storage devices right now. SSD is dominating and completely erasing HDD from the sub-4TB market. The HDD market to even be relevant at this point has to push to higher capacity (and clearly the HDD performance push is dead, instead, reliability is far more critical, so most drives are slower 5400~5900rpm instead of 7200rpm, and virtually nothing is pushing 10k+ like they used to attempt since SSD destroyed that completely). We will see higher and higher capacity HDD in the near future, as the SSD creeps into the 2TB, 4TB zones. We can only benefit at this point thankfully, by either having bigger capacity or even better SSD capacity, either way, a big win for us.

Very best,
 

Herlock

Junior Member
Sep 29, 2020
5
3
36
You are set sir, enjoy the golden years! I can only dream of being retired one day I fear.

Note, if you get especially paranoid, you can setup mirrors with more than 2 drives (you could go 3+) if you ever felt the need.

We are at a weird crossroads with storage devices right now. SSD is dominating and completely erasing HDD from the sub-4TB market. The HDD market to even be relevant at this point has to push to higher capacity (and clearly the HDD performance push is dead, instead, reliability is far more critical, so most drives are slower 5400~5900rpm instead of 7200rpm, and virtually nothing is pushing 10k+ like they used to attempt since SSD destroyed that completely). We will see higher and higher capacity HDD in the near future, as the SSD creeps into the 2TB, 4TB zones. We can only benefit at this point thankfully, by either having bigger capacity or even better SSD capacity, either way, a big win for us.

Very best,
Yes, we are indeed at an interesting inflection point regarding storage technology. Just a few weeks ago, Linux Tech Tips had a video on his YouTube channel showing off a 100TB SSD, currently priced at a whopping $40,000!!!!!! But, as we know, these prices are going in only one direction, and that is down. That being said, for my particular purposes, 6GB SATA transfers on HDDs is more than I need, so, I am happy with this solution.

And, believe me, you'll get there too (retirement). I remember when I started working in my early 20s right out of college, it felt like I would never get there, but, it happens for most of us, if we only keep our heads on straight for long enough. Best of luck to you!
 
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