HGST Deskstar NAS 4TB Review (Page 1 of 11)

By: Jonathan Kwan
June 20, 2014

Since this is the first time we here at APH Networks are covering something with the name "Deskstar" attached to it, I have no choice but to go over a bit of history. Back in 1994, IBM launched their Deskstar line of hard drives. This name became infamous to consumers and professionals alike at the turn of the millennium, thanks to the Deskstar 75GXP, which consisted of six models ranging from 15GB to 75GB notoriously known for their unusually high failure rate. In fact, it was so bad, the name "Deathstar" stuck ever since. Two years later, in 2003, Hitachi bought IBM's hard drive division, and since then, they have continued selling under the same name with the Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST) brand. When Hitachi sold the division to Western Digital a couple of years ago, the Deskstar product line has consistently been hailed by many as some of the highest performance and most reliable hard drives in the storage market. Today, this is no different. With the rising popularity of dedicated network attached storage systems in home and business environments, companies such as HGST, Western Digital, and Seagate took notice. Last week, we have reviewed the Western Digital Red WD40EFRX 4TB, a model designed for low power consumption and competitive performance for a reasonable price. The Seagate NAS HDD ST4000VN000 4TB we are covering in the coming weeks attacks the same problem with a different approach; delivering reasonable power consumption and acceptable performance at the lowest price. This, then, leaves the Deskstar NAS 4TB in a category all by itself. By being the only 7,200RPM drive of the group, the HGST promises pure speed without a whole lot of concern for power consumption. But how do all these factors quantify out on the charts against the competition? With many pages of benchmarking, we have all the results and the answers.

Our review unit of the HGST Deskstar NAS 4TB came in a surprisingly large FedEx branded shipping box from the company's public relations firm located in Seattle, Washington. Making some hops along some cities on the west coast, the hard drive soon arrived on our doorstep via the International Economy service here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. As it has always been in the past, FedEx has done a great job in making sure everything arrived in excellent condition for our review today. With competing drives from Western Digital and Seagate here at APH Networks, we dug through all the bubble wrap inside, got straight to the meat, and began to take photos.

As pointed out by one of our readers in the forums, the HGST Deskstar NAS 4TB is the only hard drive we are reviewing as part of this three-part series that arrived in a retail box. For those who are used to buying hard drives at your favorite online or local retailer, a vast majority of hard drives come in OEM packaging, which usually means nothing more than a simple anti-static bag. With that in mind, they have done an excellent job in designing what many consumers will see for the first time. Prominently displayed across the front is the "Deskstar NAS" branding, followed by the line, "High Performance Hard Drive for Desktop NAS Systems". Under that is a photo of a dissected hard drive; a shot that no one will really see in real life. At the top is a sticker that highlights all the essential information about the hard drive -- its 4TB capacity, 7,200RPM rotation speed, 64MB cache, and SATA 6Gb/s interface. The 7,200RPM figure is reiterated proudly again at the bottom left corner, as you can see in our photo above. Normally, manufacturers do not highlight spindle speed for their NAS models, because in order to conserve power, they are usually 5,400RPM to 5,900RPM. HGST is especially out loud about the fact this is a 7,200RPM drive, and what can I say -- this is a performance oriented drive.

Before we move on, let us take a look at the specifications of the HGST Deskstar NAS 4TB, as obtained from the manufacturer's website:

Interface: SATA 6Gb/s
Capacity (GB): 4TB
Max. areal density (Gbits/sq. in): 446
Data buffer (MB): 64MB
Rotational speed: 7200 RPM
Media transfer rate (Mbits/s, max): 1638
Interface transfer rate (MB/s, max): 600
Error rate (non-recoverable, bits read): 1 in 10^14
Load/unload cycles (at 40° C): 600,000
Availability (hrs/day x days/wk): 24x7
MTBF (M hours): 1.0
Requirement: +5 VDC (+/-5%), +(12 VDC is +10-%/-8%)
Startup current (A, max.): (1.2A, max +5V, 2A @ +12V)
Idle (W, avg.) 4TB: 6.9
Physical size
z-height (mm): 26.1
Dimensions (width x depth, mm): 101.6 (+/-0.25) x 147
Weight (g, max.) 4TB: 690g
Environmental (operating)
Ambient temperature: 5 to 60c
Relative humidity (non-condensing): 8% to 90%
Shock (half-sine wave, G): 70
Vibration (G RMS 5 to 500 Hz): 0.67 (XYZ)
Environmental (non-operating)
Ambient temperature: -40 to 70c
Relative humidity (non-condensing): 5% to 95%
Shock (half-sine wave, G (2ms)): 300
Vibration, random (G RMS 2 to 200 Hz): 1.04 (XYZ)

Despite being packaged in a retail box, this does not mean the HGST Deskstar NAS 4TB comes with excess waste. In fact, everything you do not need can be thrown into the recycle bin. Out of the box, you will receive the hard drive itself wrapped in an antistatic bag clipped between two plastic brackets. This is no different than how Western Digital ships their hard drives for warranty returns. You will also receive a bag of screws, and several pieces of literature most experienced users will not bother reading, haha.

Page Index
1. Introduction and Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Installation, Test System
3. Benchmark: AIDA64 Disk Benchmark
4. Benchmark: ATTO Disk Benchmark
5. Benchmark: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0
6. Benchmark: HD Tach
7. Benchmark: HD Tune Pro 4.60
8. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 8.0
9. Benchmark: PCMark 7
10. NAS Performance, Power Consumption
11. Conclusion