Seagate completely rebranded their HDD lineup in 2016 by having each of their specific function drives reintroduced as one of the Guardian Series. BarraCuda drives for everyday computing, SkyHawk drives for surveillance systems and finally the IronWolf for network attached storage (NAS) systems.
Today what we have in our labs is the Seagate IronWolf 4TB NAS HDD, in fact, 2 units of them so that we could perform a real-world test in our Synology DS216j 2-bay NAS.

(Seagate IronWolf 4TB NAS HDD is retailed at RM 699.)

Seagate IronWolf Specifications

Overview

The drive itself has conventional design without anything fancy on it.

Top view

Bottom view

Label

Connector & PCB

Test 1: Use as Internal Drive

Testing Methodology

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-3470
  • Cooler: DeepCool Lucifer V2
  • Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-M
  • Memory: G-Skill Ripjaws X DDR3-1600 4GB x 2
  • OS Drive: PLEXTOR PX-256M6M
  • PSU: Seasonic G-550
  • Case: Silverstone TJ-08e
  • OS: Windows 10
The Seagate IronWolf drive is connected to the test rig as above through the motherboard’s SATA III 6Gbps connector. Tests conducted include synthetic benchmark via CrystalDiskMark and real world usage via the transfer of a 4 GB file between the PLEXTOR SSD and Seagate IronWolf HDD.

Synthetic Benchmark

Synthetic Benchmark – CrystalDiskMark standard

Synthetic Benchmark – CrystalDiskMark 0Fill


Real World Usage

Read from HDD

Write to HDD

We are getting the expected real life read and write speed from the IronWolf drive. The sequential read and write speeds are matching with the product specifications. For a 5,900 rpm drive, the transfer speed is quite fast.

If you ever decide to install the IronWolf as your PC’s secondary storage, it should work relatively fine. However, do take note that BarraCuda drives are more suitable for PC environment because it is more optimised for everyday computing, lower price and faster read/write speed.

Next, we will talk about how it performs when installed in a NAS.

Test 2: Use as NAS drive

Testing Methodology

Seagate IronWolf in Synology DS216j

  • Router: D-Link DIR-850L Wireless AC1200 Dual-Band Gigabit Cloud Router
    • Gigabit LAN to both NAS and Computer
  • NAS: Synology DiskStation DS216j
    • Seagate IronWolf 4TB x 2
    • RAID 0
  • PC: ASUS ROG G752VS
    • Intel Core i7-7700HQ
    • Samsung DDR4-2400 CL17 8GB x 2
    • Samsung SM951 NVMe 256GB M.2 PCIe 3.0
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
Both of the Seagate IronWolf 4TB drives are installed into the Synology DiskStation DS216j NAS box and configured in RAID0. We then tested the setup by transferring files over the Gigabit LAN network.

Real World Usage

Read from NAS

Write to NAS

Theoretically, Gigabit LAN’s transfer speed is capped at 125 MBps. Since there are different kinds of overhead on a network, getting the read/write speed of 100~110 MBps over the network means both the drives and network is performing without any hiccups.

Final Words

Seagate IronWolf 4TB

At this point, some of you might be asking why do we need a NAS drive as they are slower than regular desktop HDDs and yet the transfer speed is ultimately bottlenecked by the network’s speed. On the surface, it might seem true because speed is something that we can measure and compare. In fact, we have to factor in several other concerns, for example, 24/7 performance, RAID optimisation and power management.
In our home NAS scenario, since we’re using one of the entry level 2-bay NAS box, the RAID optimisation from the NAS drives might not contribute much to the use case. However, the 24/7 availability and power management certainly have their place here. After almost two weeks of day to day usage, I am very pleased with the overall performance of the Seagate IronWolf HDDs. Based on my observation, even when the drives are at full load, the noise level has been pretty much inaudible.
If you’re in the market for a NAS drive either for home or small office usage, I’m sure that the Seagate IronWolf drives are capable of delivering the performance and reliability to ensure your data are well kept.

More info at Seagate’s website.

Pros:

  • Fast transfer speed for a 5900 rpm drive
  • Quiet operation
  • Great NAS features

Cons:

  • More expensive than regular hard drives

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