Storage is a tricky problem, and one we encounter frequently in all aspects of our lives. We’ve dealt with it when we’re figuring out which container to use for storing leftovers, or picking out an adequately sized suitcase for travel, and even shopping for the perfect pair of jeans to fit our extra-large phones. Each of these tasks requires some thought and foresight that affects what we choose to be our vessel. Therefore, why not apply it when we buy storage drives? A generic hard drive might be sufficient for everything across the board, but think about how silly it would be if you stored soup in a take-out container. Can you? Sure, but is that the most effective solution? Probably not. Just like soup containers, hard drives aren’t created to be equal, so let’s go over a few and what they can do for you.
The Barracuda is your all-around, entry-level performance drive. It comes in capacities ranging from 500GB to 4TB and can achieve average read and write speeds of 156 MB/s, depending on the model. It features advanced power modes to help save energy without sacrificing performance, making it ideal for desktops, all-in-one PCs, home servers, and entry-level direct-attached storage devices (DAS). With a 2.5” or 3.5” form factor and SATA 6 Gb/s connectivity, the Barracuda is a sure fit for almost any desktop or laptop. Moreover, the 2– and 3TB models feature self-encrypting drive (SED) hardware-based data security that will keep your data protected, should your system be compromised.
Like most things, the “pro” in the name denotes that this product is a better version of the “non-pro” model, and that’s absolutely correct. This next step up is designed for creative professionals, yet is still capable of serving the previously mentioned applications of the above model. The difference though, is its larger capacity, cache size, and data–transfer rate. Furthermore, it features Multi-Tier Caching (MTC) technology, which optimizes data flow and storage across multiple storage media. Creative professionals deal with photos, videos, and other types of files that can easily take up large amounts of storage space. Therefore, the Barracuda Pro is available in 6–, 8–, and 10TB configurations, but only in a 3.5" form factor. With a drive speed of 7200 rpm, it can reach a maximum sustained data rate of 220 MB/s, ideal for quickly moving or accessing files.
Using a different take on the Barracuda line, the FireCuda is an entirely different beast, since it is a hybrid drive, which blends SSD technology with a HDD platform for the best of both worlds. Currently, the FireCuda comes in 1- or 2TB models and is targeted toward gamers, creative professionals, and PC enthusiasts. An SSD is constructed without any moving parts and can thus endure more and perform faster than a traditional hard drive. On the other hand, standard hard drives have a lower price-per-GB ratio, making them more budget friendly for storing a great deal of data. By combining the two, the FireCuda offers the quick boot and load times users crave, as well as the capacity for storing their games, movies, and much more. Serious gamers, power users, and people who hate waiting, in general, should still opt for solid-state drives instead.
The IronWolf, available in 1– to 10TB models, is a drive made for network attached storage (NAS) systems to handle the demands of a simple home media-streaming server to a full enterprise storage system. This drive is not only tough, ready, and scalable, but also packed with features to assist and simplify your RAID or NAS setups. It features AgileArray, which helps to optimize RAID performance and maintain drive balance and power management, RV sensors that allow for better vibration tolerance, as well as multi-user technology, up to a 180TB-per-year workload rate, for easily sharing and accessing data. Additionally, as a dedicated NAS drive the IronWolf is designed to handle 24/7 operation, so you can access your data anytime, remotely or on site. The IronWolf Pro, which will be available in the fall, supports up to a 300TB-per-year workload rate and comes with a five-year warranty.
Seagate has been building surveillance drives for ten years, and the SkyHawk is the company's 7th-generation surveillance storage solution. Similar to the IronWolf, the SkyHawk is also available in 1- to 10TB models and is designed to run 24/7, because it’s tailored for surveillance devices such as: network video recorders (NVR), embedded surveillance DVRs (SDVR), hybrid surveillance DVRs, and surveillance DVRs. Built with tarnish-resistant components, the SkyHawk can withstand challenging environments without compromising performance. It also uses less power, which in turn generates less heat and reduces the chances of failure. To further improve the drive’s lifespan, it has rotational vibration sensors that allow it to maintain its performance in RAID and multi-drive systems. Furthermore, it comes enhanced with ImagePerfect firmware to help minimize dropped frames and down time with a workload rating three times that of a desktop drive, enabling it to record up to 90% of the time while supporting up to 64 high-definition cameras.
When picking out a drive, it’s worth having a purpose in mind. Some drives are great for all-around use and some are better, if not tailored for a specific application. In the same way you wouldn’t keep soup in a paper container, don’t use standard desktop drives for NAS solutions. Use the right tools for the right job.
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