10TB HDD review: five models compared

Giants tested



The highest capacity of currently available hard drives is 10 TB, that are suited for those who want to put a single hard drive in their system despite their high price- or if you are using a NAS with a limited amount of bays. In this article we compare five models.

Last year we saw the introduction of the first 10 TB hard drives, about a year-and-a-half after the first 8 TB-models were released. For some time now there is a degree of stagnation on the market for hard drives, because traditional production methods were no longer sufficient in order to increase the storage capacity. However, thanks to new technologies such as Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) and filling the drives with helium it is now possible to release hard drives with more storage.

SMR is primarily used for budget-drives, while the more expensive helium-technology can be found in the higher positioned models. The five models in this test are all helium-drives. We test four Seagate drives and one Western Digital drive. Seagate was the first manufacturer that managed to reach 10 TB, which explains why their line-up is more extensive than that of Western Digital. Aside from these two, HGST also offers a 10 TB drive. Unfortunately we were unable to receive it for our review.

Seagate Barracuda Pro 10TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 3TB
The new and old Barracuda-drive.

Some time ago the entire hard-drive line-up of Seagate received a make-over: they were given a new look and different names – often changed from a more intuitive name to one with their own character. The Seagate Barracuda drives were meant for the desktop market: the name is still there, but with the BarraCuda capitalization. The NAS HDDs are now called IronWolf, which might not make their intended purpose clear at first glance. Last but not least the drives for security cameras are now called SkyHawk.

Aside from that there is a difference between the ‘regular’ drives and the ‘Pro’ drives, that come with a warranty of 3 years and 5 years respectively. The Pros seem to to be physically identical to the Enterprise-drives, which of course come with another firmware for the different consumer applications. The 10TB model for BarraCuda is only available in the Pro-version, while the IronWolf is available in a regular and ‘Pro’ flavour and the SkyHawk is only available in the non-Pro version. We tested the BarraCuda Pro as well as the regular IronWolf and SkyHawk for this review.

Western Digital also has a wide range of products, but only released a 10 TB drive in the Gold-series. The Gold is a slightly more professional drive where WD states that they will support the drive 24 hours a day. As with the Seagate Enterprise Capacity and BarraCuda Pro, Western Digital offers a warranty of 5 years for the Gold.

 Product Price Price per gigabyte
Seagate Barracuda Pro 10TB

449 pounds / 519 euros

£ 0.045 / € 0.052

Seagate Enterprise Capacity 10TB

438 pounds / 507 euros

£ 0.044 / € 0.051

Seagate IronWolf 10TB

391 pounds / 452 euros

£ 0.039 / € 0.045

Seagate SkyHawk 10TB

384 pounds / 444 euros

£ 0.039 / € 0.044

Western Digital Gold 10TB

544 pounds / 632 euros

£ 0.054 / € 0.063

As you can see, the 10TB drives are pretty expensive. Even the cheapest models in this test have a higher price per gigabyte compared with HDDs of 8TB and less. There are also severe price differences between the 10 TB models. The WD Gold is clearly the most expensive one, followed by the Seagate Enterprise and ‘Pro’ drives. The ‘basic’ 10 TB drives are slightly cheaper.

[addendum: on March 1st of this year, WD dropped the price of the WD Gold significantly. At this time, April 4th 2017, it is available for a price that is much more in line with that of the competition in selected shops, particularly in the USA. In the UK, the price still appears to be quite high in most shops in our database.]

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