Seagate has quietly added two enterprise-grade HDDs to its Enterprise Capacity lineup of hard drives. While the 'Enterprise' name has recently implied high-density products, the new 3.5” drives only store one or two terabytes of data and are aimed at businesses seeking for high reliability, 512 bytes sector size, but not a lot of storage space.

In the recent years, we observed two main trends on the market of HDDs: the number of drives sold has been decreasing because of strong competition from SSDs, but their average capacities have been increasing because of new technologies (e.g., helium, SMR, the evolution of PMR, etc.). Enterprises and operators of cloud data-centers are the primary consumers of high-capacity hard drives because such drives help them to reduce their footprint and optimize power consumption. Since such HDDs are used in multi-drive RAID environments and are subject to heat and vibrations, they are based on special platforms that ensure their long-term reliability (by using a motor attached to both top and bottom covers, dual-plane balance control, improved heads, special firmware and so on). Because such drives offer higher capacity, they are harder to make and test. Also, on top of a longer typically-business style warranty, they naturally cost more than desktop-class HDDs. Meanwhile, due to overall benefits they bring, cloud service providers and enterprises are willing to pay a premium for such HDDs. As it appears, there are also customers who need hard drives with improved reliability and performance, but who are not interested in very high capacities or the latest technologies.

The new Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDDs with 1 and 2 TB capacities are based on the latest PMR platters and feature a native 512-byte block size, which is a requirement of some legacy applications. The HDDs have a 7200 RPM spindle speed, 128 MB cache and a SATA 6 Gbps interface. When it comes to performance, Seagate declares 194 MB/s max sustainable transfer rate, 4.16 ms average latency and up to 7 W power consumption. The 1 and 2 TB versions of the Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDDs are rated for 24/7 operation, up to 550 TB/year TBW and offer all the enterprise-grade features that the higher capacity models, including on-the-fly error-correction algorithms, PowerChoice technology (enables data-center managers to lower power consumption of HDDs during idle time), RAID rebuild feature and so on.

Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5" HDDs v5.1
  Seagate Enterprise 3.5
Seagate Enterprise 3.5
Capacity 1 TB 2 TB
RPM 7200 RPM
Interface SATA 6 Gbps
DRAM Cache 128 MB
Maximum Sustained Transfer Rate 194 MB/s
Average Latency 4.16 ms
Rated Workload Equivalent of 550 TB of Writes per Year
Acoustics Idle 2.2 bels (typ)
2.4 bels (max)
Seek 2.6 bels (typ)
2.8 bels (max)
Power Rating Idle 4.7 W
Operating 7 W
MTBF 2.0 million hours
Warranty 5 Years

Seagate did not announce exact pricing of its Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDDs with 1 and 2 TB capacities. It is logical to expect such drives to cost less than higher capacity models, but do not expect them to cost like desktop HDDs because we are talking about models with enterprise features, which are physically different to other hard drives. Seagate targets very specific SMB and enterprise customers with its entry-level Enterprise Capacity 3.5, so, pricing per-GB will not be a bargain. Meanwhile, the HDDs are covered with Seagate’s five-year warranty and have MTBF rating of two million hours.

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Sources: Seagate, The Register.

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  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, January 19, 2017 - link

    First the Nintendo Switch, now 1TB HDDs. Looks like 2017 is the year of retro technologies. Let's hope that ryzen doesnt fall into that category.
  • Scabies - Thursday, January 19, 2017 - link

    But retro AMD was a serious contender. "Retro" Ryzen is what we're all hoping for.
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, January 19, 2017 - link

  • alyarb - Friday, January 20, 2017 - link

    ohhhhhhh! i membeh!
  • XZerg - Thursday, January 19, 2017 - link

    1TB and 2TB mechanical drives in 2017? this just does not make sense and that too for Enterprise. The main issue is why create a product line for providing a "cheaper" drive when you can make larger capacity drives with negligible cost compared to the cost necessary to support that extra product line? Why get 100 1TB when I could get 30 5TB drives for the same cost? So it is aimed at those who just need a handful of drives, 3-4. For Enterprise, i understand the one time cost isn't that big a concern, especially when it is matter for ~ $100.

    what am i missing the point of these drives?
  • DanNeely - Thursday, January 19, 2017 - link

    Legacy use in old systems that need 512b sectors instead of the 4k that everyone else has gone to a few years ago. I suspect that this comes down to it being cheaper to make a new revision of these off of current parts (and 1 or 2 1gb platters) than to keep producing a 5 or 6 year old design with a full stack of low capacity platters to support a very low volume product line.
  • Samus - Friday, January 20, 2017 - link

    Something tells me these are just revamped WD RE4's. Specs are eerily similar.
  • Samus - Saturday, January 21, 2017 - link

    lol I didn't even look at the manufacturer, just the specs. Obviously they can't be WD RE's.
  • jordanclock - Thursday, January 19, 2017 - link

    Enterprise usually is more expensive to justify better support expectations and longer life. This is not about being a value proposition in terms of storage space.
  • Arnulf - Thursday, January 19, 2017 - link

    1 TB does not, but 2 TB (2.2 TB) is the limit for some older systems, as is the 512 B sector format.

    If these were 50% more expensive than consumer HDDs of identical capacity I'd actually go for the 2 TB model.

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