Seagate Iron Wolf Pro optimised for NAS

Seagate Iron Wolf Pro
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Seagate Iron Wolf Pro is a class of hard disk drives used exclusively in NAS (network attached storage) devices.

Without getting too technical normal hard (spinning) disks attach via a SATA 6 interface (6Gbps or 750MBps) to a motherboard. Take in to account processing overheads, two-way traffic on the ‘bus’ and the very best SATA 6 drives will achieve around 500MBps sequential read/write speeds. Let’s just say that the average hard disk does not need a very sophisticated controller or a huge cache as the CPU/Memory does most of the work.

So, what happens when you attach a normal hard disk to a NAS which has a 1Gbps (125MBps) LAN ethernet interface. Note that some NAS have dual Ethernet (2Gbps) and some have 10Gbps interfaces. Obviously, the NAS has a bottleneck! The answer is lousy performance and shorter life (and data is gold).

NAS drives must be smarter to deliver good performance.

These drives have larger cache memory that allows data to be ‘dumped’ into and out of the drive and make maximum use of the LAN speed.

Seagate Iron Wolf Pro

Second, they have more intelligence to do things like elevator seek – it means the drive magnetic heads read sequential data from the stacked drive platters at the same time. The also have command queuing to enable them to complete a task more effectively – getting from A-Z without detours. These drives can sustain 250MBps read/write if your LAN supports it.

That intelligence also allows the drive to reorganise its data when not in use to make it easier to get sequentially.

Special features of the Seagate Iron Wolf Pro

Seagate Iron Wolf Pro
  • Website here
  • Each drive Iron Wolf Pro knows it is in a NAS and can balance loads over other drives in a RAID array. It is important to use the same drives in a RAID.
  • Vibration from other drives or the NAS environment is a drive killer. Iron Wolf Pro have a RV sensor to protect them
  • Helium-filled to reduce drag
  • Higher workload. Iron Wolf Pro is rated at 300TB/year and 24/7/365 work without a break. They are capable of 1.2M hours use with a 5-year warranty.
  • Two years of Seagate Rescue. It quotes a 95% success rate with protection from accidents or mechanical damage.
  • 7200RPM, 256MB cache
  • IHM (IronWolf Health Management) interfaces with NAS boxes from Synology, Thecus, and AsusStor

We could not test the drives using the usual disk performance software, so we set up a 20GB folder and copied over the 1Gbps LAN (maximum 125MBps).

Reading to the PC took 115 seconds. Another NAS drive took 2.5 times as long. Writing to the drive took a similar time and three times as long.

We could copy and paste the 20GB folder to the same drive (in a RAID array) in about 75 seconds compared with 2.5 times longer on an older NAS drive.

Price (from – note these are the Pro version

  • 2TB $218.98
  • 4TB 298.99
  • 6TB $357.99
  • 8TB $399
  • 12TB $695
  • 14TB $945

GadgetGuy’s take: Big, fast and reliable

We have been using NAS drives for many years. To simply install 2 x Seagate Iron Wolf 14TB Pro and get performance increases of 2.5-3 times over two-year-old NAS drives is amazing.

Seagate has also added SSD to its NAS storage drives.

Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
14TB is huge but best used in RAID1 for safety