Following up on paul excellent cord cutting series it seems an appropriate time to mention storage. Normally we look at Solid State Drives which are both fast and silent due to their lack of moving parts. However one place where they… fall flat is capacity unfortunately. To that end we have the BarraCuda Pro in a staggering 10Tb capacity from Seagate to review. We’ll be looking at the drive as a standalone device first. We’ll be looking at it in conjunction with a second drive in some simple raid configurations later on.

Getting a look at the BarraCuda Pro

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The drive shipped in bulk packaging and not retail so I can’t comment on the retail package. The bulk packaging was such that it was properly protected in shipping however. An electrostatic bag was included to protect any of the exposed components on the printed circuit board.  In hand it feels absolutely massive, it appears to have been machined from a single block of aluminum. The sealing(since it is helium filled) looks quite clean and the printed circuit board has all components facing in. This is an important as it keeps the bottom of the drive clear. This is to avoid issues in hot swap bays one of its target uses. The number of screw holes is far less than I’m used to seeing on a 3.5 inch drive. A little bit of research shows it to be in line with the latest specifications for 3.5 inch drives however.

Taking a look at the specifications reveals few surprises with the BarraCuda pro. A target of High performance desktops all models offer excellent performance characteristics for desktop use as well as SOHO server applications. The two 8Tb models is a bit odd, looking into it the newer revision is a more traditional design enabled thanks to newer higher density platters. A 5 year warranty is a welcome addition on the drives. Finally of important note all drives are rated for 24×7 operation.

Testing Procedure

Our traditional test bench for SSD’s will be used in evaluating the drive as will many of the tests we use in those reviews. The platform is a gigabyte Z77 motherboard equipped with an i5-3470. Intel SATA6 ports are used in testing both as they offer consistently impressive performance regardless of generation as well as being the most commonly available port for most users. The system is running windows 10 Professional and was under no load(AV disabled) for all tests. Testing will consist our standard set of tests which we outlined previously. The Test system was recently upgraded with both a Syba hot swap bay for faster testing as well as a bump to 32Gb of ram courtesy of Ballistix.

ATTO 3.05As usual we’ll start with ATTO. Although lower that we’re used to seeing with SSD’s these are very healthy for a spinning disk. Performance at larger sizes is highest as expected reaching a maximum of 230207 write at a massive 48MB size and 236877 read at a more pedestrian 128KB block size.

Crystal Disk Mark 5.1.2 x64

Performance under high queue depths shows a bit of a decrease likely due to the caching structure of the drive. Standard sequential performance is a healthy 232MB/s read. Writes are a similarly respectable 225MB/s . Both  are well above the 125MB/s limit of a Gigabit ethernet link. Random performance is abysmal compared to what we’re used to seeing for SSDs. However it is still respectable for a hard drive.

Full Drive Sequential access

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Unlike SSD’s which tend to have fairly even performance unless they’re being pushed to extremes(such as our 4k random write test). Hard drives are different however due to their use of rotating magnetic platters. Performance is generally highest at the outside edge where speed is highest. To that end we’ve done a full LBA read and write test(not short tests on a 10TB drive).  Reads are very healthy starting at 225-250 falling off to 140-160 at the innermost tracks. Writes are lower but exhibit a similar pattern starting with 150-170 and falling to 110-130 a much lower drop overall.

Closing thoughts

On its own a 10Tb drive like the BarraCuda Pro is both impressive and terrifying(that’s a lot of data in one place if something goes wrong). For desktop storage there are few choices to equal or exceed its capacity and more are intended for enterprise use. Users with large media libraries or game collections have few other options before scaling to multiple discs. With performance well above the requirements for streaming media the Barracuda Pro is as good as it gets for desktop drives. At 399.99 on amazon this drive is a steal albeit an expensive one if you want a multi disc configuration for increased redundancy (raids 1, 5 and 6) performance (raid 0) or both (raids 10, 50, 60).