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4TB conventional magnetic recording (CMR) drive

I am curious which 4TB non-7200rpm CMR drive would you buy with your own money at this point in time?

Of particular interest to me is whether or not the extra bucks are worth it for a NAS or Surveillance drive? (they have small premiums over a 'regular' drive). Is there any tangible benefit from buying these drives that improves performance or reliability over a 'regular' drive, or is it just a bit of marketing segmentation for higher profits?


Things I don't want to pay for

* Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) drives (random write performance is extremely poor, I am told)

* Solid State Drives (SSDs)  (too expensive)

* 7200rpm drives (too expensive)



The drive will be used for loading apps and games on Windows and Linux as a 'normal' user (nothing hardcore and definitely no 24-hour usage or anything out-of-the-ordinary). I have been mostly happy with spinning-platter drives up to this point. I just need more storage. I appreciate your advice!

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3 minutes ago, unsorted said:

whether or not the extra bucks are worth it for a NAS or Surveillance drive?

Those extra bucks are basically for them not to be SMR nowadays, so I guess yes.

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The nas/enterprise hdds are designes to work in a nas/server case (many hdds vibrating together), so they are much tougher, should last much longer and should work 24/7. If you run 2 or 3 i don't think there is a problem with going with consumer grade stuff. But if you have more then 5/6 or you really care about the data, I think you should go with the nas variant. My opinion is that the money you spent on them is worth it!

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Toshiba S300

Toshiba Surveillance

WD Red Plus (NAS)

WD Purple (Surveillance)


Everything else seems to be 7200 or SMR.

There are also some "consumer" drives, but eh... Nah. I trust the companies that their NAS and Surveillance drives are actually better than their consumer drives.

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The only CMR drives I have come across nowadays - not including NAS drives, more on that later - are the WD Black (7200RPM, very expensive) and Toshiba X300 (7200RPM, not much more expensive that the other options).

I couldn't find 100% concrete evidence the X300 is CMR, but the thing I did find was Toshiba's list of SMR drives, which the X300 did not appear on: https://toshiba.semicon-storage.com/ap-en/company/news/news-topics/2020/04/storage-20200428-1.html


As for NAS drives, many of those are CMR. The one exception I can name of the top of my head - obviously - is the WD Red. For CMR on WD's side, you will see the WD Red Plus or Red Pro, on Seagate's side there is the Ironwolf and Ironwolf Pro.

The reason I have heard in the past - but haven't been able to confirm - as to why not to get NAS drives for PC use is the way a NAS or Windows responds to drives.

When a drive is malfunctioning, in a NAS the drive will attempt to repair itself, while on a desktop the drive should be repaired by the desktop. A NAS drive will try to attempt to repair itself, while the desktop is trying to reach it, making the desktop

think the drive is dead.

Again, I haven't been able to verify this; but that was the reason I heard in the past why not to get a NAS drive for desktop use.*


On the other hand, usually NAS drives have some logic built in to make them more resistant to vibrations around them, obviously mostly intended for scenarios where you are installing multiple drives next to each other (such as in a NAS).

Otherwise, a NAS and desktop drive should be identical in use.

25 minutes ago, unsorted said:

I am curious which 4TB non-7200rpm CMR drive would you buy with your own money at this point in time?

It has been a bit since I researched this topic, but when I did I found the Toshiba X300 to be the most logical solution.

It's 7200RPM, but still reasonably priced.


*EDIT: doing a little bit more of research and I found this:


WD calls this feature TLER, Wikipedia's information seems to be, um... quite ancient, in technology terms though :P

I couldn't find any information on TLER in desktop use, from a reputable source. Only forum members with answers; which of course isn't the best source for accurate information.

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If you're on a budget and are only looking for 5400RPM drives shucking WD Elemental disks is probably your least expensive option. These are usually white label WD Red NAS drives.


As for the features the specific classes of drives offer. For a home gamer most of the time you won't see any appreciable difference in performance. Basically what a lot of the different lines of server drives address are vibration, write endurance, IOPS, latency, and firmware tweaks to aid certain use case applications. These differences can make or break businesses but for a DIY guy it doesn't usually change the behavior of the system by an appreciable amount unless you're doing something highly read/write intensive.

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Thanks for the Toshiba X300 mention. https://www.toshiba-storage.com/products/toshiba-internal-hard-drives-x300/

It is actually not as expensive as WD and Seagate's CMR drives spinning at 7200rpm.  I consider it reasonably-priced locally. I would like confirmation that it's CMR though. I could send a message to Toshiba. You would think this info would be easier to find.


Regarding NAS drives and other 'speciial' drives, if there is a site that benchmarks currently-selling drives and has benchmarked some 4TB CMR models (comparing regular, NAS and Surveillance-marketed drives between 2 or 3 drive makers), this would basically settle the issue for me. Reliability statistics would be much harder to get, but at least I could see performance. Maybe a good idea for a video?


I also hope that NAS and Surveillance drives have no issues with the heads being parked daily, and the normal ON/OFF cycles of a regular computer. But again, I am not sure.


Thanks to all that responded so far.









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