Seagate Enterprise Class v4 6TB Hard Drive ST6000NM Review

On First Page2. Performance

Seagate Enterprise 6TB Hard Drive Review

Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD v4 (6TB) Review
(ST6000NM / ST6000NM0024)

In recent times “enthusiast” storage has all been about SSDs. They offer great speeds and as we have progressed from generation to generation capacity has been on the rise with prices constantly falling. Now new models generally have a 900GB-1TB model, making them comparable with many mechanical 2.5″ drives on that front.

When it comes to storage though, 1TB doesn’t tend to cut it in a desktop, server or network storage scenario. HD videos and our general digital media can fill up that capacity pretty quickly so the solution is higher capacity drives with the sweet spot being around 3TB at the moment (price/capacity wise) and 4TB drives being pretty affordable too.

Recently Seagate began really pushing the high end of the storage market again with the launch of their Enterprise Capacity 3.5 v4 range. With models at 5TB and 6TB we can create some pretty spectacular storage systems but they are more than just that. Seagate have also tuned them for high performance… so massive capacity and speeds quoted over 200MB/s read/write from a single mechanical drive? Today we have the 6TB version attached to our system, let’s see if it can live up to the claims.

The Seagate 6TB

 

Seagate 6TB HDD topSeagate 6TB HDD base

Our drive arrived in a transparent plastic container so there isn’t much point in showing that… instead let’s move right on to the drive itself. No surprises here really, the Enterprise Capacity range looks and feels like a standard hard drive. We get the metal cover on top, black metal body and a green PCB on the base and it measures 26.1×101.85x147mm weighing 780g. Visible on this drive are the SATA3 power/data connectors with SAS models also available.

Capacity

As noted earlier this is the 6TB version of the drive and in Windows that means a formatted capacity of 5.45TB. This is a 7200RPM drive with 128MB of cache and Seagate rate it for 216MB/s with average latency of 4.16ms. Power draw? That’s 6.9w idle, 11.27w random read.

This drive is powered by dual processors, features ramp load tech, supports self-encrypting AES-256/FIPS 140-2 and Seagate include sensors for humidity and temperature while providing a 5-year warranty. This is backed by some impressive reliability specifications of 550TB a year (10x a desktop HDD) and MTBF of 1.4m hours. Also worthy of note is that the Enterprise Capacity 3.5 drives offer models which support Seagate Instant Secure Erase as well as traditional Secure Erase.

Seagate Tools

Seagate Instant Secure Erase allows us to quickly make the data on the drive unreadable by changing the drive encryption key. Also available for the drive is SeaTools which allows us to monitor and maintain our drive over time.

View performance figures here

Conclusion
When thinking about the build quality of a “traditional” hard drive, there isnt a lot to say about the differences from major manufacturers. Yes some may prefer to get a drive from a particular manufacturing plant based on past experience but overall as long as we have a decent metal casing etc everything should be reasonably stable. This is of course an enterprise class drive so we know that it has been built to withstand much higher use over longer periods than “desktop” models… time will tell if Seagate have sucessfully packed 6TB of storage into a reliable 3.5″ form factor but we see no reason to be concerned.

In terms of performance/use, aspects which are much easier to pin down, the drive very much impresses. It is reasonably quiet, we would certainly suggest using it in a system with anti-vibration dampeners to minimise any potential for noise but it shouldn’t be distracting in normal environments and even on an open test bench we could barely hear it. Temperatures are also kept in check, the drive was noticably cooler than our 4TB comparison drive (desktop class) but most importantly the speeds we achieved on the Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD V4 were fantastic. The average desktop drive sits anywhere between 140mb and 170mb but with the new 6TB Seagate we were seeing speeds over 200MB/s right across the drive capacity. On the odd occasion it would drop to 180MB but that was very rare. This is one of the few mechanical drives where file transfers don’t feel slow for those who usually use SSDs.

Synology DiskStation Manager

Of course with Enterprise branding and such a high capacity the drive isnt really intended for desktop use… even if it does work very well there. This is a drive which is meant to maximise storage in a server/network storage environment. In our case that meant firing it in a home server and a NAS with the Windows OS handling the drive just fine (Server 2008 R2 based OS). Really no different to using a 4TB model. For the NAS we went with the excellent Synology based option and found that although the 6TB drive isnt in the official supported list (5TB versions are) the 6TB ST6000NM0024 worked without issue. Our full capacity was available to us, the install worked flawlessly and transfer speeds were at the limit of the NAS rather than the drive. Ideal… and we see no reason why this wouldn’t work with 2 drives for 12TB of storage in a 2-bay model. Or 6TB of storage with a mirror for backup.

That brings us to pricing. New, high capacity drives are never cheap. The first 4TB generation models as an example were noticeably more expensive than they are now. This drive then has the premium attached for being an enterprise class model with the higher reliability that brings… and the higher capacity cost too. So at £450 for one drive it really is a purchase which will only be for a limited set of users. For those who need 6TB of high quality storage in one 3.5″ device though, the Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD V4 is a perfect solution.

View performance figures here
Diamond Award
Where to buy…
UK Store BroadbandBuyer.co.uk – £451.75

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