NAS HDD review: 18 models compared

Which NAS HDD should you get?



Despite the upswing of the cloud and increasingly cheaper SSDs, the most convenient and most affordable way to store large amounts of data is still a hard disk drive. In this article we take a look at 18 models meant for use in a NAS.

Hard drives might not be the cutting edge in terms of computer technology; for now there is not a cheaper way to store data. Nowadays there are a lot of affordable consumer models that offer an enormous capacity of 10 TB. If you want to store a lot of data locally, you cannot ignore this option.

A useful way to realize this is to use the hard drives in a network attached storage, or NAS. This has a lot of advantages compared to placing your drives in a system. For example, with a NAS every computer in the network can access the data. The rest of the functionality depends on if you purchase a cheap and ‘bare’ NAS purely for storage, or if you purchase a more expensive model with more features. The more expensive NAS-devices can download on their own and allow you to access your data through the internet (or with the use of certain smartphone-apps).

HGST Deskstar NAS 4TB
It is wise to place hard drives in a NAS that are specifically developed for this purpose.

There are NAS-devices that are 1-bay, 2-bay or 4-bay (and more, but these are less common), where every bay can hold a hard drive. Most people purchase a NAS with at least two bays, in part because this makes RAID possible. With hard drives RAID 1 and RAID 5 are most commonly used, in order to increase the reliability. A lot of people use it as backup, but that is not something we advise. The primary purpose of RAID 1 and 5 is to allow people to access their data as quickly as possible and to minimize the loss of productivity. It is not a backup. There are certainly times when a RAID 5-array fails, meaning you lose all data. It is best to create a backup on a different system – and for extremely important data, at another physical location.

NAS-devices do have the disadvantage of being rather expensive more often than not. Sometimes the NAS costs more than the drives you put in it, especially if you purchase a NAS with a lot of features and a high throughput. That said, the throughput is usually limited by the network connection to a maximum of about 125 MB/sec, unless both your NAS as well as your system support teaming. This is something to bear in mind when looking at the benchmark results. A lot of hard drives will not reach their maximum speeds in a NAS because of these bottlenecks.

The limited added value of speed also goes for a PC. At the moment, data that can use a high speed (operating systems and programs) are placed on an SSD. Even the fastest hard drive is not a worthy alternative compared to an SSD when it comes to this. With large-scale storage a higher speed is of course great, but not crucial.  

Also read these hard disk/ssd articles on Hardware.Info

The Hardware.Info website uses cookies.