Seagate 20TB IronWolf NAS and EXOS X20 Review
Published: 11th May 2022 | Source: Seagate | Price: |
We're not going to pretend that the average user will require a 20TB HDD, least of all that most of you will need a NAS full of them in a RAID array. Even if you're making movies in 4K it will be a long while before you fill up either of the two Seagate drives we have here, let alone many of them.
However, when you're dealing with huge storage for mission critical functions then reliability stands miles above transfer rates. If we can use a metaphor here, the average container ship is slower than a speedboat, but because the container ship goes at 25-30 knots 24/7 instead of 100 knots in short bursts, it ends up being about the same on average. Which is why it's significantly cheaper to transfer stuff around the world by cargo ship, and not significantly slower. Network storage is much the same idea. If you've got enough of them in a RAID array you can have data moved at decent speeds, but moved all day every day. Certainly when compared to the fragility and heat generated by a solid state option, you can understand why everyone who wants enormous storage capacity still runs 3.5" HHDs such as the Seagate pairing.
The two models here have slightly different target audiences. The IronWolf is the NAS version of a drive we've already looked at, and is for those of you with a 2 or 4 bay NAS - although it supports up to 24 bays - and the 300 TB/y and 1.2 million hour Mean Time Before Failure represent this. Far beyond the usage that most people will demand of it. The Exos X20 on the other hand is an Enterprise drive for people with the kind of voracious, endless, data appetite that would put a hummingbird to shame. It has nearly twice the workload limit, up to 550 TB/y, and twice the MTBF - 2.5 million hours - plus the ability to be run in an array of unlimited size. The kind of array that Google or Netflix would have on hand. However, if you were planning to use just one of these as a behemoth within your system then the Seagate Exos also has a significantly faster write speed than the IronWolf, so might be just as popular for desktop users looking to offload all their gaming footage to a single drive.
Two different takes upon a similar formula leave the Seagate IronWolf NAS 20TB and Exos X20 as challengers for the long term, bulk storage crowns. Clearly you have to have a specialist use case to need such a storage solution, but if you do then the Seagate will leave you sated and thus they win our OC3D Enthusiast Award.