Seagate IronWolf Pro 20 TB ST20000NT001 Review

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Considering its NAS HDD and subsequent rebranding to Ironwolf in 2015/2016, Seagate and their Ironwolf line of hard drives have quickly become a cornerstone of the NAS scene in a very short period of time. Although the company first released Seagate IronWolf Pro 20 TB ST20000NT001 at the beginning of 2022, they have since gained ground on their main competitor, the WD Red series.

Currently, they are in the process of revising a number of these drives and introducing a new, higher durability STX0000NT001 series to complement that which already exists, the STX000NE001. These more recent Prosumer/large-scale storage array NAS hard drives come with workload ratings that are nearly twice as high, MTBF ratings that are more than twice as high, and yet deliver the same high claimed performance levels.

After all of this, why the abrupt change? A decrease in durability returns may be aided by hardware shortages or by consumers’ rising worries about greater capacities having the same workload rating as lesser capacities.  

Your reviewer today had one of those times when the magnitude of a technology progress they have seen throughout their adult life leaves them speechless.

Because the hard drive under consideration has a theoretical storage capacity of 20TB while he recalls purchasing his first hard drive in the late 1980s with a 32MB capacity.

That makes it 666,666 times bigger, an incredible factor of growth that also sounds a little bit diabolical.

Although magnetic recording on spinning metal disks may be nearing its practical limits, we can’t say that this technology’s potential hasn’t been completely realized.

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Is the Seagate IronWolf Pro 20 TB ST20000NT001 considerably different from its 18TB predecessor, other from the addition of 2TB in storage?

Seagate IronWolf Pro 20 TB ST20000NT001 Overview & General Information

The new 20TB capacity point offers several advantages, particularly in large-scale, multi-user commercial and enterprise NAS setups for creative professionals and SMB use cases. The new Seagate disks will also enable organizations to scale up as their data demands increase and reduce the physical footprint of these servers.

The new high-capacity IronWolf Pro has the same dependability characteristics as the 18TB model, including a 1.2-million-hour MTBF rating and a 300TB workload per year for intense client use cases. Additionally, it has built-in RV sensors, which are basically accelerometers installed on the HDD PCBA and that output an amount proportional to acceleration, vibration, and shock. It enables drives like the IronWolf Pro to dynamically assess external forces, providing crucial information that may be utilized to adjust for and make up for these environmental changes.

The Seagate IronWolf Pro 20 TB ST20000NT001 is described as having a maximum sustained transfer rate of 285MB/s. Comparing this to the IronWolf 18TB model, which had a 260MB/s setting, there is a substantial improvement. Having said that, our testing in this study will highlight more reachable performance statistics since they are best-case figures.

There are a few observable variations despite the power usage being relatively identical to the 18TB capacity variant. The 20TB model, for instance, has a little higher average idle power (5.5W vs. 5.2W), but its average output has fallen by 0.3W. Its standby mode is also configured at 1.0W (as opposed to 1.25W for the 18TB), which may result in higher overall power efficiency.

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In order to maintain peak system health, IronWolf Health Management (IHM) plays a significant role. You will be able to see drive health and usage indications like temperature, shock, vibration, sporadic connections, and signal integrity better with it. Users may then act in response to this knowledge to guarantee that their data is always safe and secure.

The Seagate IronWolf Pro 20 TB ST20000NT001 is covered by a 5-year guarantee and three years of free access to the company’s comprehensive Rescue Data Recovery Services for additional peace of mind. The latter will help users restore data when a disk has been accidentally damaged or corrupted. According to Seagate, their recovery services are 95% successful.

Seagate IronWolf Pro 20 TB ST20000NT001 Specifications

Standard Model NumberST20000NE000
InterfaceSATA 6Gb/s
Drive Bays SupportedUp to 24‐bay
Recording TechnologyCMR
Drive Design (Air or Helium)Helium
Workload Rate Limit (TB/yr)300
Rotational Vibration (RV) SensorsYes
Cache (MB)256
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours)1.2M
Reliability Rating @ Full 24×7 Operation (AFR)0.73%
Non‐recoverable Read Errors per Bits Read, Max1 per 10E15
Power‐On Hours (per year)8760
Sector Size (Bytes per Logical Sector)512E
Rescue Data Recovery Services (years) 33
Limited Warranty (years)5
Spindle Speed (RPM)7200
Interface Access Speed (Gb/s)6.0, 3.0, 1.5

Seagate IronWolf Pro 20 TB ST20000NT001 Performance

The Seagate IronWolf Pro 20 TB ST20000NT001 outperformed the 18TB in most tests, averaging more than 285MB/s while reading and writing sequentially. That is a nearly 10% improvement or about the same margin as the capacity increase.

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We also saw an increase in IOPs compared to the previous version for both reading and writing.

But to be honest, you should spend your money on SSDs rather than hard drives if you want remarkable IOPs.

One unexpected finding was that the 20TB drive used less power and produced less heat than we had anticipated given the performance gains.

Strangely, the 20TB consumes somewhat more power while not in use than the 18TB, 5.5W vs. 5.2W, but crucially, when operating, it consumes less power. Its standby power level is likewise lower on the 20TB, dropping from 8W on the 18TB to 7.7W.

The fact that they are more power-efficient is a nice thing, and this should be reflected in the cooling needed for an array that employs them, however we are uncertain precisely how many of these drives you may need to use to convert this isn’t a huge cost victory.

Seagate IronWolf Pro 20 TB ST20000NT001 Conclusion

In addition to just being larger, the Seagate IronWolf Pro 20 TB ST20000NT001 provides some compelling reasons to select it over the 18TB model and lesser capacities in each series.

We would, however, take into account other solutions that aren’t exclusively for the commercial and business NAS sectors based only on the workload of 300TB/y, which is pretty modest.

Better headline speed is always good, but it’s far more important to avoid having your RAID array consume itself. Additionally, on the market today, data center methods may deliver higher annual workloads and almost same performance for a relatively comparable cost.

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On this basis, we would choose the Seagate EXOS 20TB above the Seagate IronWolf Pro 20 TB ST20000NT001 due to its 550TB/year workload rating and 2.5M-hr MTBF.

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Seagate IronWolf Pro 20 TB ST20000NT001
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