Seagate Exos X20 and IronWolf Pro 20TB Expand Retail 20TB HDD Options

Seagate has updated its flagship capacity options for the HDD retail market with the announcement of the availability of two new hard drives today: Exos X20 and IronWolf Pro 20TB. These two models join the recently launched Western Digital WD Gold 20TB and Ultrastar HC560 to complete the 20TB hard drives currently available for retail purchase.

The Exos X20 comes with 12Gbps SATA and SAS interface options and includes SED (Self Encrypting Drive) models, while IronWolf Pro is SATA only (similar to previous generations). The Exos X20 has a workload capacity of 550TB / year, while the IronWolf Pro version has a capacity of 300TB / year. The following table provides a detailed comparative summary of the different specifications of the two new units and how they stack up against Western Digital’s offerings. Only the Exos X20 and Ultrastar HC560 SATA options are being considered for this purpose. The two model numbers corresponding to these are for SED and non-SED (standard) options.

20TB Retail HDD 2021 – Comparative Specs
Exos X20 20TB
IronWolf Pro 20TB
Digital west
WD Gold 20 TB
Digital west
Ultrastar HC560
ST20000NM000D (SED)
ST20000NE000WD201KRYZWUH722020ALE6L1 (SED)
Recording technologyConventional magnetic recording
Conventional Magnetic Recording with Power Assist
DRAM cache256 MB512 MB
Helium fillingYes
Sequential data transfer rate
285 MB / s269 ​​MB / s
MTBF2.5 M1.2 M2.5 M
Nominal annual workload550 TB300 TB550 TB
AcousticsInactive28 dB20 dB
Look for30 dB32 dB36 dB
Power consumptionRandom read / write9.4 W / 8.9 W (100R / 100W @ QD16)9.4 W / 8.9 W (100R / 100W @ QD16)7 W
(50R / 50W @ QD1)
Inactive5.5 W5.4 W6 W
Warranty5 years5 years
(3 years DRS)
5 years
Prices$ 670$ 650$ 680$ 700

The IronWolf Pro model also has a 1W standby / sleep power consumption rating which could be useful on NAS drives that are subject to constant 24/7 traffic. Idle acoustics are on the higher end for Seagate models, but the search numbers make up for it. Unfortunately, we don’t have a way to compare the power consumption numbers based on the datasheets, as the workloads used for characterization are different between the two vendors. With that said, the idle numbers lean towards the Seagate models again.

It should be noted here that the list price premium for the WD models can be explained by the use of OptiNAND technology in the WD Gold and Ultrastar HC560. We contacted Seagate about the use of HAMR in the new models and surprisingly, Seagate indicated that the two new hard drives that are being introduced to the retail market today do not use heat-assisted magnetic recording.

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