Seagate IronWolf ST12000VN0007 12TB Review (Page 2 of 11)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Test System

As always, with our storage reviews, before we move on to the benchmark results, let us briefly discuss the physical attributes of this hard disk drive first. The IronWolf ST12000VN0007 12TB is your quintessential 3.5" hard drive from Seagate; the top of the drive is bare metal with a dull silver finish and a large label placed across the middle. That said, the label has been updated to reflect Seagate's latest product branding, and the addition of color graphics make everything all the better. It is also nice to see the return of unique names, including IronWolf for NAS HDDs, FireCuda for SSHDs, BarraCuda for desktop HDDs, and SkyHawk for surveillance applications. The IronWolf we are reviewing today weighs in at 705g each, or about 1.55lbs. This is exactly the same as the BarraCuda Pro ST12000DM0007 12TB and IronWolf Pro ST12000NE0007 12TB according to the latest specifications sheet, both of which are equipped with relatively thin platters. On the label, you will spot information like its 12TB drive capacity, model name, serial number, model number, part number, firmware revision, manufacturing date, bunch of regulatory logos, and that it is a product of Thailand. The Seagate IronWolf series come with a three-year limited warranty.

Turning the Seagate IronWolf ST12000VN0007 12TB around, and you will see a green printed circuit board that interfaces between its SATA 6Gb/s interface and the physical mechanical components. Mechanically, the Seagate IronWolfST12000VN0007 12TB is a 7,200RPM drive with eight high density platters inside. The drive is helium filled for reduced resistance, which means more platters can be stacked in the same amount of space along with reduced power consumption. With these high-density platters using traditional perpendicular magnetic recording technology as opposed to performance-penalizing technologies like shingled magnetic recording, this should translate to great performance in our benchmarks. You will see 10.9TB in Windows. The rated power consumption is 0.8W standby, 5.0W idle, and 7.8W active operating power, which is really good. It is rated the same as the 10TB model and consumes less than the 8TB model, which is excellent.

As far as electronic components are concerned, the Seagate IronWolf ST12000VN0007 12TB features an Avago DS01 drive controller. To control the motor, a SMOOTH branded chip labeled 780RY V5 gets the job done. A massive Samsung K4B2G1646F-BCK0 DDR3-1600 256MB IC acts as part of the multi-segmented cache for the drive, as shown in our photo above.

Before we delve into the benchmarking, I would like to spend a little bit of time discussing the unique characteristics of the Seagate IronWolf ST12000VN0007 12TB NAS drive. What makes a NAS drive, a NAS drive? From a hardware perspective, usually, it will feature optimized consumption. Since file servers are designed to be turned on 24/7, reduced power consumption can make a significant difference on your power bill, especially if you have many drives. Reliability enhancements are also made with what Seagate calls AgileArray. AgileArray dual-plane balancing refers to the disk being physically balanced properly to reduce excessive vibration and noise in a multi-drive configuration, such as your network attached storage system. The IronWolf 12TB also comes with rotational vibration sensors to mitigate vibrations from other hard drives in a network attached storage environment. Thanks to its improved vibration tolerance, the ST12000VN0007 will play nice even if you have up to eight drives running concurrently in the same system. Its mean time before failure (MTBF) is rated at 1,000,000 hours, with a 180TB per year workload rate limit. Compared to the IronWolf Pro, the Pro version supports up to sixteen concurrent drives, MTBF rated at 1,200,000 hours, and 300TB per year workload rate limit.

As with all NAS drives, the Seagate IronWolf is ERC enabled. If a drive is not ERC enabled, it may be dropped out of a RAID array unexpectedly down the road. ERC stands for 'Error Recovery Control', which is Seagate's name for a feature that limits a hard drive's error recovery time to seven seconds (Western Digital calls it TLER; HGST calls it CCTL). According to Seagate, desktop hard drives may enter deep recovery mode, and could take twenty seconds or longer to deal with a bad sector. During this time, the hard drive will not respond. Because of this, RAID controllers may mark the drive as unreliable, because it has failed to respond within a set period of time.

For small NAS environments, most people probably will not need hardcore enterprise grade drives, which are usually quite expensive. TLER and related RAID array configuration problems are more crucial with demanding business environments than a home or SOHO NAS setup with just two or three drives. Linux software RAID that your network attached storage system implements is much more lenient with consumer desktop drives. Personally, I have run RAID 5 arrays in my QNAP systems from 2010 to 2014 using regular disks with absolutely no problems at all. However, drives like the Seagate IronWolf ST12000VN0007 are specifically tested for compatibility, designed for reliability in this operating environment, and comes ERC enabled from the factory to ensure you will not experience related issues down the road. With a price comparable to desktop drives, the Seagate IronWolf series is simply a no-brainer if you are looking to fill up your file server.

Our test configuration is as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K @ 4.6GHz
CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-D15S
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
RAM: Patriot Viper 3 Low Profile PC3-17000 4x8GB
Graphics: Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 960 4GB
Chassis: Fractal Design Define R5
Storage: OCZ Vector 180 240GB; Crucial MX200 500GB
Power: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 1200W
Sound: Auzentech X-Fi Bravura
Optical Drive: LiteOn iHAS224-06 24X DVD Writer
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

Compared Hardware:
- Seagate IronWolf ST12000VN0007 12TB (Hard Drive)
- HGST Deskstar NAS 4TB (Hard Drive)
- Seagate BarraCuda Pro ST10000DM0004 10TB (Hard Drive)
- Seagate BarraCuda Pro ST10000DM0004 12TB (Hard Drive)
- Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD V.5 ST8000NM0055 8TB (Hard Drive)
- Seagate IronWolf ST10000VN0004 10TB (Hard Drive)
- Seagate IronWolf Pro ST12000NE0007 12TB (Hard Drive)
- Seagate NAS HDD ST4000VN000 4TB (Hard Drive)
- Seagate NAS HDD ST8000VN0002 8TB (Hard Drive)
- Western Digital Black WD6001FZWX 6TB (Hard Drive)
- Western Digital Red WD100EFAX 10TB (Hard Drive)
- Western Digital Red WD40EFRX 4TB (Hard Drive)
- Western Digital Red WD60EFRX 6TB (Hard Drive)
- Western Digital Red WD80EFZX 8TB (Hard Drive)
- Western Digital Red Pro WD4001FFSX 4TB (Hard Drive)
- Western Digital Red Pro WD6001FFWX 6TB (Hard Drive)

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look, 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 9.0
9. Benchmark: PCMark 7
10. NAS Performance, Power Consumption
11. Conclusion