Seagate fires NASty volley of 12TB spinners with lifebelt for fried data

BarraCuda Pro and IronWolves get a capacity jump

Seagate has fired out three 12TB drives, punting one at the desktop, two at the NAS market, and clobbering WDC on capacity in both areas.

The desktop BarraCuda Pro comes in 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12TB versions, previously maxing out at 10TB. Seagate says it has double the space of its nearest competitor, the 6TB WDC Blue. We understand the thing is helium-filled at the 10 and 12TB levels and air-filled below that.

We think the 10 and 12TB versions employ eight platters with the others relying on six, but have asked Seagate to clarify. The 12TB IronWolves use eight and weighs the same at 705g.

BarraCuda Pro weight stats indicate platter/head count differences:

  • 705g – 10/12TB
  • 650g – 8TB
  • 780g – 6TB
  • 680g – 4TB
  • 550g – 2TB

Why the 6TB version is heavier than the 8TB version is unclear, unless, perhaps, the 8TB is also helium-filled and so has lighter platters.

Seagate doesn't provide a lid-off image so we can't count the platters.


These BarraCudas spin at 7,200rpm, have a 6Gbit/s SATA interface, and a 256MB cache apart from the 2 and 4TB versions, which have a 128MB one. The sustained data transfer rate varies with capacity; it's 250MB/sec at 12TB, 220MB/sec at 4, 6, 8 and 10TB, but 195MB/sec at 2TB.

They have a five-year warranty, a 300TB/year workload limit and support 8,760 power-on hours/year (24x7 operation).


At 12TB the IronWolf and IronWolf Pro are claimed by Seagate to offer the highest capacity, reliability, performance and system scalability in the industry. WDC's Red and Red Pro NAS drives top out at 10TB.


There are eight visible platters in this lid-off image of the IronWolf

IronWolf is a 1 to 8-bay NAS drive with 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12TB capacity points. It spins at 7,200rpm in the 6, 8, 10 and 12TB capacity points and a slower 5,900rpm below that. We understand the 10 and 12TB versions are helium-filled (as are the equivalent IronWolf Pro drives).

The sustained data transfer rates vary by capacity; 250MB/sec at 12TB, 210MB/sec at 6, 8 and 10TB, 180MB/sec at 4, 3, 2, and 1TB. There are two sizes of cache; 256MB for the 6 to 12TB models and 64MB below that.

It supports a 180TB/year workload, has a 1 million hours mean time before failure (MTBF) rating, and a three-year warranty, contrasting poorly with BarraCuda Pro's five-year warranty and 300TB/year workload support.

IronWolf Pro

IronWolf Pro is a more reliable and hard-working drive, coming in 12, 10, 8, 6, 4 and 2TB versions. It is for 1 to 16-bay NAS enclosures, has 300TB/year workload support, a 1.2 million hours MTBF, and a 5-year warranty, making IronWolf look a bit shabby in this department.

The spin speed is 7,200rpm at all capacity points. The cache is 256MB for the 6 to 12TB range and 128MB below that. As with IronWolf the transfer speed varies with capacity; 250MB/sec at 12TB, 214MB//sec at 4, 6, 8, and 10TB, and 195MB/sec at 2TB.

Both lines support Seagate's IronWolf Health Management (IHM) software. This operates on Synology DiskStation NAS, Asustor NAS, and QNAP NAS systems. It displays actionable prevention, intervention or recovery options for the user, and will be available within the next quarter with NAS partners.

Seagate Rescue Data Recovery services are available (two-year plan included) to recover data off a dead drive and Seagate claims a 90 per cent success rate.

The 12TB versions of IronWolf, IronWolf Pro and BarraCuda Pro are now shipping to customers worldwide. ®

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