on June 26, 2013
I purchased 10 4tb drives from amazon and they are being used in a RAID 6 with an Areca raid card. The features that make this drive great for a NAS also make it great for a normal RAID. Out of the 10 drives I purchased, none were DOA! The packaging was great from amazon as always. If you buy your drives from a different supplier, good luck!
One thing Seagate seems to be trying to hide is the fact that the 4tb model's spindle speed is only 5900RPM, but don't think too much of this. For a NAS, it really doesn't matter one bit because the limiting factor for speed is normally your method of downloading data off the NAS (AKA, an ethernet 10/100/1000 port only goes up to 120MB/s). For a regular raid, it will impact performance a bit.
Read/write benchmarks from HDTune Pro:
Read: Min: 79MB/s; Max: 175 MB/s; Average: 140MB/s;
Write: Min: 74MB/s; Max: 172 MB/s; Average: 135MB/s;
Access Time: 17.3ms
The drives are running at between 32 degrees celsius and 45 degrees celsius in my case after being under full load for the past 10 hours. It's completely dependent on how much airflow you have on your drives.
What is a NAS?
NAS = Network Attached Storage. Basically, it's a box of hard drives that you can access over your network or use as any external hard drive via USB/eSATA. What makes a NAS different than a normal external drive is a few things. The main reason is because you can normally setup a RAID on a NAS so if a hard drive dies on you, you don't lose a single bit of data! Different raid versions offer different levels of redundancy. If you have a RAID with redundancy setup and a drive dies, all you need to do is buy another drive of the same make/model/(and hopefully firmware version), put it in the NAS, and you can rebuild that hard drive's data based off of the data on the other drives in your NAS. The amount of data redundancy is completely up to you. You're the one buying the NAS and picking what type of RAID you want in it. Most NAS's support Raid 0 (no redundancy), 1(drives are mirrored), and 5(contains 1 drive worth of parity data so you can lose any 1 drive without data loss). If you need more information on RAID types check wikipedia:[...]RAID or reply to my review with your question. The other advantage of having a NAS over a normal external is that limitless people on your network can use it at the same time.
Why is this drive better for a NAS or a normal RAID?
A NAS drive is better built drive with more advance firmware. It's essentially a cross between a desktop hard drive and an enterprise hard drive for the home user.
1) NAS drives are designed to be online 24/7 where as desktop hard drives are only supposed to be on for a fraction of that time. Your NAS will be online 24/7.
2) NAS drives are more tolerant of vibrations
3) NAS drives use less energy (aka, doesn't get as hot). Seeing as your drives will be in a little box with poor airflow, this is a very good thing.
4) A NAS drive's firmware has more has some enterprise drive features. Seagate calls this "NASWorks".
4a) The main reason you want the better firmware for a NAS or any raid for that matter is because it supports TLER (time limited error recovery). This limits the time the hard drive can take to try and recover data to 7 seconds where as a desktop drive could take much longer. When this happened to me on a RAID of drives without TLER, the entire raid hung for 20-30 seconds. It would normally recover, but it eventually kicked the problem hard drive out of the raid. If that drive had TLER/NASWorks, the hard drive would have attempted to get that data for a max of 7 seconds before asking the raid controller for help. The raid controller would know that chunk of data is on other hard drives as well and so it can attempt to rebuild the problem section. Instead of the drive being kicked out of the raid, it would have recovered on its own and a full drive rebuild could have been completely avoided.
Why not use enterprise drives instead?
This comes down to the money. An enterprise drive will likely run you twice as much money as a NAS drive and most people wouldn't even see much of a gain from it. Enterprise drives are built for extremely heavy use. If you are running virtual machines, hosting websites, and/or constantly using your NAS, enterprise drives might be worth the money. For the bulk of us just using a NAS for a file share, it really isn't needed. Even if a few NAS drives end up failing down the road, replacing them would be cheaper than if you originally bought all enterprise drives.
Why a 5 bay limit?
I sent Seagate an email about this one because I couldn't find any information about it online. They said it was mainly because most NAS systems wouldn't support multiple backup drives. You really wouldn't want to use a RAID 5 (lets you lose any 1 drive and recover) with more than 5 2-4tb drives because of the amount of read/write cycles that happen when you have to rebuild a hard drive. You have a much higher chance of a second drive failing during a rebuild. Basically, go beyond the 5 bay limit at your own risk. If your NAS or raid controller supports RAID 6(lets you lose any two drives and recover) or RAID 10 (stripped and mirrored) AND YOU USE ONE OF THESE ARRAY TYPES, the 5-bay limit can be ignored. Seagate tech's exact words: "There shouldn't be any limitation that prevents you to use more while attached to a regular [raid] controller in a different type of raid."
Will this work in my old external enclosure?
Chances are it won't, but to be sure you'll have to check its spec. A lot of external enclosures and hot swappable external bays have their limits. Most are limited to 2tb each. Some are limited to 3tb each, and very few support going up to a 4tb external drive.
Can I use this as a stand alone drive outside a NAS or raid?
Absolutely. Its spec shows Seagate is more confident this drive will last you longer than one of their desktop drives. This would be a great drive for a non-raid environment.
edit: Bought a 10th drive so I updated the numbers in the first section.
UPDATE: I'm up to 10 drives now and the only issue I have is 1 drive occasionally timing out. It's timed out 4 times in the past 8 months. It hasn't been kicked out of the raid yet, but I do have a backup ready just in case it happens.
on May 3, 2015
This will be a long review but should be worth your time to read if you are considering these drives, or any other brand for that matter.
I ordered these drives for an Oyen Digital 5 bay case which I have already reviewed. These drives arrived in one box with each drive individually packed in a smaller box. The drives had fhe flexible plastic caps on each end and the two small boxes were padded in the bigger box. Both of these drives checked out and have been running just fine for almost 5 months now. They run cool to the touch so I am happy with the temperatures. They are pretty much noiseless work very nicely in a small NAS environment. It would be a no brainer recommending these drives if that were the end of the story. But as Paul Harvey used to say "now for the rest of the story".
Last week I decided it was time to add two more drives to the NAS enclosure. Since I was happy with the ones I had I ordered two more from Amazon. They actually arrived a day late via FedEx but that wasn't a problem. When I was handed the box I could hear the contents sliding around inside. The box itself had no apparent damage so I took it inside and opened it. Inside were the two drives sitting on the bottom of the box with inadequate air bag padding on top. The drives were sealed in the anti static bags.
I opened the first one and there were two warning signs right off the bat. There were two seals one sitting over the other. The label on the drive had pits and scratches in the label. It had all the looks of a used drive. I inserted the drive in a dock and after a few seconds I received the familiar not initialized warning. I told Disk Utility to initialize it which it did. When The process finished the drive mounted instead of noname I got: 801.57GB ST3000VN W6A0 Media. So my 3TB drive was actually an 801GB partition. It was obviously used. Also, the drive failed under initial testing after about an hour and would no longer even be recognized.
On to the second drive. After my experience with the first one I opened it and tried to insert it into the dock. It would not plug into the connectors. I pulled it back out and after closer inspection I could see one corner of the SATA power connector was broken and mashed into the other side preventing it from being plugged in. (Photos attached). So two drives, both unusable.
I went online and logged into my Amazon Account. Went to order and clicked on return for replacement. It was actually simple. I filled in the required info and closed out the browser. About an hour I had a message from Amazon Saying they had ordered two more drives and I had information on printing a return sheet to inclose in the box. They told me UPS would be picking it up the following day and they would have the label for it. The drives were ordered and shipped overnight to arrive the next day. This came as two separate orders from two separate vendors one via UPS the other via FedEx.
The next day the FedEx shipment arrived first. As I was handed the box I could again hear the contents moving around inside. I opened it up and it did have a new look. I started running the drive tests again and again the drive failed under testing. The second drive arrived in the evening and upon opening the box I found it packed as it should be. The small box with the caps on both ends and padded inside the big box. A surface scan of this drive came up clean and the drive is now running inside the enclosure.
My take away from all this is that if you order this, or and drive, inspect the packaging. If the drive is floating in the box make sure and test it thoroughly before relying on it. And remember Amazon has no real control when another company is shipping the item. Be sure to complain about the packaging if it is not as it should be. Amazon acted very responsibly. They answered my request quickly and took appropriate action. I would rate their service 5 stars. I have included photos of the damaged drive and both good and bad packaging.
on July 11, 2014
When I received this drive and opened it, the contents of the box was Model ST4000DM000, Seagate Desktop HD, NOT ST4000VN000, Seagate NAS HD! The outside of the box had the right model number but the sticker on the drive had the other model number. The curious thing is that both stickers had identical serial numbers! I have contacted Amazon and notified them of my situation, so we'll see what their response is. More to follow...
Update: July 20, 2014: I got the replacement in and guess what? THE SAME THING HAPPENED!! They need to verify the contents of the box to ensure that what is in the box is the same as what is on the label!!
on March 3, 2014
Well, it would seem that Seagate has indeed come a long ways.
Goodness knows that I have absolutely had it dealing with WD "Green" drives for which this is a replacement. Considering that I have gone through several of those drives with a 100% failure rate over the last 3 years or so, it got to the point I needed to look for an alternative. Pretty sad too considering that I was using said drives as they were intended, as archival and video storage; meaning that they were infrequently accessed. Don't get me wrong, I still really like WD's top end stuff like their Velociraptor series which I still use as a primary drive. However when it comes to bulk storage, I need something that is going to hold up and not cost a fortune at the same time, hence this drive by Seagate.
All things considered, I'm actually impressed with this drive. For one thing, even though my understanding is that it is supposed to only run at 5800 RPM, it actually is noticeably faster and more responsive than the "Green" drive it replaced. Currently have Acronis Drive Monitor installed in my machine and thus far the feedback that software has offered has shown absolutely flawless operation thus far. If Seagate continues to keep up this level of quality, I would have no problem going back as a customer or recommending these drives to my clients.
on January 8, 2015
Up to this point I have used the WD Red NAS drives with no failures and complete satisfaction. I have wanted to try the Seagate option for a while and I finally had the opportunity recently. After configuration and installation the drives are performing just as one would expect. This is after an extended test session I put them through before installation due to the horrendous packaging that the drives were shipped in. I was expecting them to be DOA as there was no, zero, zilch, drive protection in the packaging. The drives were thrown into a box with my other items and left to fend for themselves. I almost didn't even power them up because I assumed it was a waste of time. I am including a picture in my review of the box in a "just opened state". My rating and review is for the product, not the packaging. Amazon should have an additional area to rate the customer experience other than the product. This causes too many negative product reviews that have nothing to do with the quality of product.
The drives are fine. Exactly what I expect from a NAS drive. The speed, vibration, temperatures, etc. have been covered elsewhere and my results are inline with those reviews. The longevity of my particular drives will always be in question based on the poor packaging. Amazingly 3 out of 3 are running today. Tomorrow it could be different. If I have an early failure I'll update this review. As it is, I'm surprised at the abuse that the drives have apparently endured. I wouldn't expect this normally and surly the overall lifespan has been effected by the abuse in shipping.
on January 18, 2014
I have been extensively testing this drive in a Freenas 9 ZFS RAID 10 scenario. It has posted better results than WD RED Series 4TB drives under every test. Including but not limited to, Intel NASPT, Iometer and a few others. The drive spins at 5900 rpm. Very quiet and runs cool. No issues to be reported on my end. Server went live with these drives in it and seems to be holding up better than my expectations. For those who are interested, I can provide various benchmark numbers and more detailed system specs.
on January 11, 2014
Good packaging, and arrived very quickly. Boxed inside OEM style cardboard boxes with plastic holders on each end of the hard disk, just like an OEM box. Bought 2, both work perfectly out of the box. On other sites, I noticed these Seagates have the best reviews for entry level NAS/RAID drives.
These drives are absolutely totally silent when idle, you can't hear anything, and you literally can't tell you have 2 of these running in an open computer case, now that's quiet! I will just say, I don't know how they make something this smooth and quiet. Even if you place your hand on top of this drive, you can't feel it spinning.
On reading the hard drives makes some noise while seeking, but overall they are just as quiet as my old Samsung 5400 RPM drive.
My old WD Blue 500GB vibrates so much and is so loud that it seems like a primitive piece of junk in comparison to these Seagate NAS drives, and it's been running fine for 5 years. These Seagate drives are exceptionally refined.
Installed both, no DOA, they work great. I've copied about 500 GB of information and haven't had any issues whatsoever in Raid 1 with an Adaptec 3405 hardware raid card.
This drive is a NAS drive, otherwise known as a raid drive. You need to use NAS drives for all RAID controllers, Raid 0, Raid 1 or Raid 5, etc. Because regular drives don't have a 7 second timeout limit on error recovery, called TLER, "time limited error recovery."
Raid drives have a 7 second timeout limit on disk errors. If you use a non-raid desktop drive which could go beyond 7 seconds while repairing a data error, a RAID controller can mark the disk as totally defective, and disconnect it from your raid array.
Generally people who use non RAID/NAS drives complain about losing entire raid arrays simply because of the way desktop drives handle errors. Look up the failure rate for non-raid drives used in a raid. It's disturbing. It is because normal hard disks don't have TLER enabled.
Now, TLER is simply a firmware setting, but at the time of this writing, it is not something you can change on desktop hard disks. In order to get TLER, you must spend more money on a NAS/RAID drive.
As an example, WD Greens will not work in a raid properly, because those drives do not have TLER. When used in a raid array they have been known to crash.
Furthermore you don't want to use a NAS/RAID drive without a raid controller. Because raid hard disks notify the raid controller of disk data errors, instead of trying to repair the data on their own like conventional desktop drives.
Desktop drives are good at handling errors because they can sit and grind away for 1 minute if necessary, repairing the disk, while a raid drive will time out, and force the controller to repair the bad data.
For best results, use a hardware raid controller with a NAS/RAID drive, and use desktop drives for software raid, or fake raid, or non-raid.
I purchased a used Adaptec 3405 Hardware raid card for $60 with a cable, and bought 2 of these drives for RAID 1 (mirror.) This combination required absolutely no software drivers, no software installation, just plug and play.
To create an array you do it before the computer boots up, by accessing the Adaptec 3405 raid card bios. This doesn't require any drivers, so you don't need a floppy disk drive, or internet, or a CD Rom. After configuration of a hardware raid card, Linux OS or Windows OS sees the raid array as one single drive.
If you are using fake raid, which is the raid built in on your motherboard, you will need to install drivers to get the fake raid to work.
Hardware raid is the easiest, fastest thing I've ever seen, and for $60 to have a hardware raid card, it seems pointless to use the built in motherboard "fake raid" which is a software raid.
With hardware raid 1 (mirror), if a drive starts making noises or indicates an error, you simply pull it out and replace it with any new one of the same capacity, doesn't have to be the exact brand or model of the original. The hardware raid will automatically start rebuilding the new drive.
With the hardware raid, I experimented by unplugging one of the drives from the hardware raid card, and plugging it into my motherboard SATA port. The disk reads just like a conventional hard disk, the hardware raid card does not render a hard disk unreadable. In the event that a raid card dies, if using Raid 1, you can just remove a drive and plug it into any onboard SATA port, then you have your data back.
on December 21, 2015
For background, I am an enterprise IT storage professional (32 years).
Some fatherly advice: Learn from my early mistakes. Standard desktop drives do not hold up when used in a RAID configuration, in a NAS, a DVR or a surveillance system. And on the desktop they aren't much better. Published MTBF estimates mean nothing. They just don't. I have had MANY desktop (i.e., consumer) quality drives fail over the years but I wouldn't pony up the bucks to buy enterprise-branded drives (3x the cost of a desktop drive, or more).
Then NAS became a consumer item and the cost of RAID-ready and NAS-ready branded drives brought the cost of these down to a reasonable level. Out of the 17 NAS/RAID drives I have purchased in the last three years, one failed. I was losing 1 out of 3 (over a three year period) before going to the more robust drives. I don't know what the difference is, but THERE IS A DIFFERENCE.
I like the Seagate brand and have had good luck with their drives. They have consistently outlasted WD drives. The Hitachi's have held up well, too. These 4TB drives are a real bargain.
So a couple of lessons here:
1. Buy NAS/RAID/DVR labeled drives, even for desktop use if you care about your data and can't tolerate a restore or downtime. Spend the money. I'm cheap as hell, and now I SPEND THE MONEY even for desktop use.
2. COOLING IS CRITICAL. You really need an auxiliary fan on NAS/RAID/DVR drives if used in tandem. They generate a lot of heat and that's what kills them.
3. When a drive starts acting weird--makes noise (clicking especially), REPLACE IT IMMEDIATELY. Hopefully it's still in warranty.
4. Finally, re-cycle your drives every 24 months if they see heavy use, especially if they are going out of warranty soon. I look up all serial numbers and label each drive with three dates: purchase date, scheduled replacement date, and warranty expiration date. Makes managing them later much easier.
One last thing. This brand of drive has a very good RMA process and for that alone, it's worth sticking with them. WD is HORRIBLE and Hitachi not much better. And no, I'm not beholden to this brand--I'm just passing along some VERY hard earned lessons.
on November 9, 2015
I received this drive on Saturday, well pack with some other items. Saturday night I installed it. Upon powering on, there was a grinding noise. Worked on it all day Sunday. The BIOS of my workstation recognizes the drive (so the electronics are working), but the OS and RAID software would not (meaning the platters are not spinning). Ran SeaTools and received error messages on short and long tests. It's Monday and I have my RMA paperwork in my hand with the replacement in the mail. I usually use WD Green, but wanted to try Seagate. I will update this review when I receive the new drive and it works (?). Setting the rating at three stars. Fool me once...
UPDATE 11/23/15: Fool me twice... I received the replacement on time and connected it. Worked overnight being mirrored. Next day the server crashed and would not boot. Disconnected the hard drive (it is not the boot drive) and the server booted. I checked the logs and the drive died at 17% rebuilding. This time I sent the disk back and asked for a refund. I am buying a Western Digital instead. Lowering the rating to one star.
on January 30, 2016
Total disaster. I ordered 4 x 4TB Seagate NAS HDD for a new Drobo Gen 3 direct attached storage. 1 of the 4 HDDs was DOA. Amazon sent a replacement. That also was DOA. Shortly after packaging up the replacement drive to send back, another of the original 4 HDDs died! (The Drobo was not used, so other than formatting and file system creation, these drives were empty and idle). Three out of five of these units were either DOA or died within 1 week. A 60% failure rate. I am not risking my data on these!
My background: 25+ years as a sysadmin of large and small computing labs. Linux, Windows & MacOS systems. Installed, configured and supported many large and small NAS and DAS storage arrays from multiple vendors, including several from Drobo.