Seagate Barracuda Pro 10TB Review—The Fastest Hard Drive Ever

Part of Seagate’s new “Guardian Series,” the BarraCuda Pro is the world’s highest capacity desktop hard disk drive (HDD) topping out at a whopping 10TB. The 3.5” HDD builds off of Seagate’s past innovation to being this ultra-high capacity HDD to market. The capacity isn’t the only selling point for this drive, with 7200 RPM Seagate says that the large cache size and MTC Technology technology allow the BarraCuda Pro 10TB hard drive to have impressive performance levels. They are talking about 220 MB/s maximum and a power draw of up to just 6.8 Watts. The drive has decent endurance as well for a desktop HDD at 300TB per year or 820GB per day workload rate with 24×7 usage.

Since this is an ultra-high capacity HDD it is great seeing that Seagate placed a best in class 5-year limited warranty on the drive for peace of mind. You should still back up all your data and with massive 10TB drives now readily available it is more important than ever to do so.

Seagate confirmed that the BarraCuda Pro 10TB is filled with helium to reduce flutter, platter thickness and motor power. At one time we were told it would be too expensive to put helium in mass produced consumer drives, but it looks like things have changed (before HAMR technology came out!)

Seagate BarraCuda 10TB Specifications
Model Number ST10000DM0004
Interface SATA 6 Gbps
Sector Size / AF 4096
Rotational Speed 7200 RPM
Cache 256 MB (Multi-segmented)
Rated Load / Unload Cycles 300 K
Non-Recoverable Read Errors / Bits Read < 1 in 1014
MTBF 1 M
Rated Workload ~ 300 TB/yr
Operating Temperature Range 0 to 60 C
Physical Parameters 14.7 x 10.19 x 2.61 cm; 650 g
Warranty 5 years
Price (in USD, as-on-date) $535

The Seagate BarraCuda Pro 10TB drive (model number ST10000DM0004) uses a standard connection interface, so you have the SATA power connector on the left and data port on the right. This drive is 26.11mm in thickness, so it is pretty chunky. Most Seagate hard drives that are 1TB or smaller are just 19.99mm in thickness, so if you’ve never used a high capacity drive you might be shocked with how thick it is!

This 10TB drive is truly vast and stupendously fast (for a hard drive), and is also miserly on the power consumption. All in all, it’s the best consumer 3.5-inch internal hard drive we’ve ever tested by a…

Seagate’s 3.5-inch, 7,200rpm, SATA 6Gbps Barracuda Pro not only delivers a stunning 10TB of storage, it laid down some rather astounding transfer rates: 240MBps in both directions of our 20GB copy tests. At first, we didn’t quite believe what we were seeing, but several repeats and throwing even larger data sets at the drive convinced us.

Performance

By the numbers, AS SSD rated the drive at 243MBps reading and 229MBps writing. In our 20GB copy tests, which are subject to the vagaries of the Windows 8.1 operating system, that was closer to 250MBps each way with a single large file. Even with a 20GB mix of smaller files and folders, reads and writes, which were nearly identical in pace, dropped only to about 145MBps. (Ah, those seek times.)

While not as fast as an SSD, the Barracuda Pro is closer than anything we’ve seen to date. Note the relative slothfullness of the other internal Barracuda.

How did Seagate do it? We’re not sure, but the CMR (conventional magnetic recording) drive is extremely high-density, and has a whopping 14 platters and 7 read-write heads. Perhaps the company has leveraged some of the algorithms developed over the last few years for SSD controllers and is scattering data equally about the platters. Combined with 7,200rpm and its 256MB cache, that could do the trick. Whatever Seagate’s done, we like it.

We also brought HD Tach out of retirement, and it seemed to say that the Barracuda Pro retains its speed across the entirety of its capacity. That’s unusual; hard drives tend to write faster on the outside of the platters where sectors whip by at a faster pace than on the inner portions of the disc. More fodder for speculation.

Could it be true? HD Tach is old-school, but it seemed fine with the Barracuda Pro 10TB and indicates that unlike most hard drives, it’s a consistent performer across the entirety of the drive.

The Barracuda Pro also draws a mere (in HDD terms) 6.8 watts when operating. That’s very low for a hard drive, and far lower than, say, the five 2TB drives you’d need to get the same amount of capacity.

The ramifications of capacity

10TB is a lot of data. I have a hard time filling up my lone WD 4TB drive and there is a lot of multimedia on there. A lot. The Barracuda Pro is the equal of two of those, plus a 2TB drive. Unless you download a lot of stuff and never dump any of it, 10TB is massive overkill.

Not that you wouldn’t take a 10TB drive over a 4TB drive if they were handed out for free. But you do need to consider that you’re putting all your eggs in one basket. If the drive goes bad, still a very common occurrence, you’re SOL (surely outta luck). Unless, of course, you back up regularly, or are willing to pony up a substantial amount of coin for a pair of the $500 Barracuda Pros to mirror each other. Mirroring has saved my bacon many a time when backup schemes go wrong.

Seagate’s new Barracuda Pro 10TB hard drive.

All this adds up to a warning not to overbuy, especially if you’re already running an SSD, which you should be if you like fast data transfers. The Barracuda Pro’s speed is seductive, but a pair of 2TB drives (rather slow ones) can be had for $100 and a pair of average 4TB drives, around $250. That’s a lot more affordable. You can also mimic some of the performance (and increased vulnerability) of the Barracuda Pro by running two drives in RAID 0 (striped) rather than a mirrored RAID 1.

Warranty

The 10TB Barracuda Pro is warrantied for five years at 220TB worth of writes per year, or 1100TB over the warranted lifespan. The SSD folks call this TBW (terabytes written), and Seagate’s promise far outstrips the amount of data likely to be written to the drive. Then again, there are moving parts here. The warranty is limited, and includes only replacement, not data recovery. You’ll need to purchase Seagate’s Rescue service for that, at $10 for one year or $15 for two years. Why not the full five years? I can’t say, but most of my drives that have gone bad have lasted more than two years. Just saying.

Conclusion

This is an absolutely fantastic hard drive. But 10TB is massive overkill for the average consumer. And data redundancy in the form of a $1,000 mirrored RAID pair is very pricey.

Warnings aside. To heck with it—if the powers that be let me keep this drive, I’d replace my 4TB with it in a heartbeat. Keeping it routinely backed up, of course.

Note: This article was edited on 08/27/2016 to reflect different data provided by the vendor after publishing. CMR instead of SMR, and 220TB per year as opposed to 180TB.


Review originally written by Jon L. Jacobi