Seagate Ironwolf 12TB NAS Review

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Aug 5, 2018
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PRODUCT INFO

Ironwolf 12TB

2018
Type HDD
Price 405

Last month we looked at the Seagate Ironwolf 6TB, today Seagate has sent us their higher capacity top of the line Ironwolf 12TB drive, which we will be looking at through the same tests and see the difference that jumping up in capacity makes!

Seagate With Their Entry In The NAS Market With Ironwolf Drives

Seagate’s AgileArray technology is several features that have been designed to provide a better user experience. Here we will list the features:

seagate-barracuda-pro-3Related Seagate Barracuda Pro 12TB HDD Review – Is The Cuda Still Fast?

  • IronWolf Health Management in their compatible NAS systems continuously helps to safeguard the health of your data
  • Drive balance with Rotational Vibration (RV) sensors manages multi-bay vibration for long-term consistent performance and reliability
  • RAID performance optimized that maximizes responsiveness and uptime with NAS-aware Error Recovery Control
  • Advanced power management saves energy and delivers the right power at the right time

Seagate does go above and beyond with things that aren’t listed on the box. For instance, Seagate attaches the spindle to both the top and bottom of the case which will improve stability. The drives also support the ATA-8 streaming command set for increased performance when doing large sequential transfers. This allows the IronWolf to handle a maximum of up to 64 data streams simultaneously.

AgileArray also features optimized power management that provides a faster response time while still reducing power consumption.

First Look At The Seagate Ironwolf 12TB – Unboxing And Closer Look

When Seagate samples HDDs they do not send them in retail boxes, so the packaging here is minimal. We have the standard plastic antistatic bag most HDDs ate shipped in and see for the most part a standard drive built for NAS purposes.

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This drive has slightly different locking positions compared to regular consumer HDDs, check your drive cages and if you have 2 small rounded pieces sticking out of the bottom of the cage to “lock” the drive in place you need to either get rid of them with a file/Dremel or use another drive cage. This was an Issue I ran into with my Phanteks case, though other drive caddies that I had on hand fit just fine.

Testing Setup

Component Model
CPU AMD Ryzen R7 1700 @ 3.4GHz
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB 3200MHz
PSU XFX 1050W
OS Windows 10-64 Bit Spring 2018 Update
Motherboard Asus X370 ROG Hero IV
Case Phanteks Enthoo Luxe

I use a Ryzen test bench for my reviews, since most other websites test with Intel mainstream platforms, I personally think this is useful for all of those users who are using AMD’s Ryzen CPUs and AM4 socket motherboards to get a good idea on what kind of performance they should expect. For this review we didn’t have much on hand that was comparable to this drive, so the main idea here is to show its relative performance to an older higher-end HDD. While it is not necessarily a fair comparison it is a good representation of how much hard drives have come in terms of performance. I was considering adding an SSD as a baseline of high-end performance, but ultimately decided against it, I would like to know what our reader’s thoughts are on this though and would appreciate further input.

Seagate Ironwolf 6TB Performance Benchmarks

Crystal Disk Info 7.5.1

Crystal Disk Info is a wide tool for displaying the characteristics and health of storage devices. It will display temperatures, the number of power on hours, the number of times it has been powered on, and even informing you of the firmware version of the device.

 

ATTO Disk Benchmark

As the industry’s leading provider of high-performance storage & network connectivity products, ATTO has created a widely-accepted Disk Benchmark freeware software to help measure storage system performance. As one of the top tools utilized in the industry, Disk Benchmark identifies performance in hard drives, solid state drives, RAID arrays as well as the host connection to attached storage. Top drive manufacturers, like Hitachi, build and test every drive using the ATTO Disk Benchmark.

The ATTO Disk Benchmark performance measurement tool is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Use ATTO Disk Benchmark to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host bus adapters (HBAs), hard drives and SSD drives and notice that ATTO products will consistently provide the highest level of performance to your storage.

 

Looking at the results here we see the Ironwolf 12TB taking a bit of a lead from the Barracuda once we hit the 4KB sectors the Ironwolf just pulls far ahead of the other drive which is a bit odd since the Barracuda Pro should be the faster drive.

Crystal Disk Mark 6.0

CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software Made by a Japanese coder named Hiyohiyo and is one of the simplest and most frequently used tests for storage due to its simple and easy to understand UI. It measure sequential reads/writes speed,measure random 512KB, 4KB, 4KB (Queue Depth=32) reads/writes speed,select test data (Random, 0Fill, 1Fill)

Here we see a solid showing by the higher capacity Seagate Ironwolf 12TB over its half-sized brother. All results here are solid and we see quite strong 4k performance for our modern hard drives.

PCMark 8 Storage 2.0

The PCMark 8 Storage Benchmark is used to create real-world testing scenarios that many users use on an everyday basis. With 10 traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and as well as Battlefield 3 and World Of Warcraft, the light to heavy common workloads have been represented. This is unlike other tests that it shows off real-world performance between storage devices. The higher the score the better the drive performs, and application tests are measured in seconds. The test has a break in the cycle as well as 3 rounds of testing.

Here we see the overall performance by the Ironwolf actually trumps the Barracuda Pro which was quite surprising to me and beats the 6TB by a similarly tight margin. Again in the full breakdown of the storage test we see all of these drives perform within spitting distance of one another which is a good sign.

HD Tune Pro 5.7

HD Tune Pro is an HDD and SSD utility with many functions, the main one here is benchmarking performance which we do by using its standard sequential read and write tests along with its random read and write tests, which because of the amount of data presented we have split into 4 separate graphs.

HD Tune Pro 5.7 Sequential Benchmark

Here with the exception of the access times which are measured in milliseconds, higher is better for all other tests which are measured in MB/s

 

HD Tune Pro 5.7 Random Benchmark

Here Access make up a majority of the tests which lower is better here with IOPS and sequential speeds being better when higher.

For the Random read, we see a lot more of the same, one of the biggest difference we can see on the rather slow 4k max 4k access time with a much higher average access time on the 64KB portion on our Seagate Ironwolf 12TB. Again we see strong performance out of our newer drives that keep close enough to not a huge performance difference between the drives.

Conclusion

Looking at the Seagate Ironwolf 12TB we see a lot more of what we saw from the other Ironwolf drive we reviewed a few weeks ago except around 3-10% faster. All in all, this is quite the performer for magnetic spinning platers, even beating the Barracuda Pro oddly enough in some of our tests. in the current market state I think these are for their price, a bit much considering you can buy 8 or 10TBs for a much better price per gig with the 10TB’s going for almost $100 less and should perform the exact same.

That being said if you need the maximum amount of storage these are a great option but for most people who need a lot of storage buying the slightly smaller drives will get you a very similar experience for the same price. So with the features Seagate lists for the Ironwolf 12TB as well as the performance we’ve seen here I will give this drive a solid recommendation, just make sure to find the capacity that suits you.

8.5

A solid performer with a hefty price tag, fitting its massive storage capacity.

Performance9.5
Value6.0
Design & Aesthetics7
Features8.5

Pros

  • Great speed
  • Solid feature list

Cons

  • Still mechanical
  • Priced similarly to other drives in its class
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