Seagate Exos X or IronWolf?

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The Exos is basically an enterprise grade drive. Ironwolf is designed to be optimal for NAS use. At the end of the day, I would just compare the spec sheets.


Exos: 270Mb/s max sustained transfer rate, 2.5 million hrs MTBF, 5 year warranty.

Ironwolf Pro: 240Mb/s max sustained transfer rate, 1.2 million hrs MTBF, 5 year warranty.

Ironwolf: 210Mb/s max sustained transfer rate, 1 million hrs MTBF, 3 year warranty.


All are 7200rpm, unless you are looking at the smaller (6TB or less) non-Pro Ironwolf drives.


To be fair, I have one server with Ironwolf drives (a mix of 4TB and 6TB 5400rpm models) and another with all Exos and the 7200rpm speed is definitely noticable over the slower Ironwolf disks I have, but reliability wise I've had no issues with either.


Ultimately, if the Exos are cheaper for the same capacity, then there is no reason not to get them.

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Over the years I have migrated from WD to Seagate. Within Seagate from Ironwolf/Ironwolf Pro to EXOS. The reasons were in the beginning better pricing and speeds. I found that when I started out with 3TB drives on an experimental basis with WD Red drives that they were just not as performant as Seagate drives which were of a similar cost. As I learnt to better handle UNRAID and it started to mature substantially, its deployment in my environment also increased; in the beginning it essentially was a glorified homelab, however now it was becoming mission critical. The move to Seagate followed a thorough evaluation of drives and I decided to go with 8TB IronWolf drives (ST8000VN004). Unfortunately for me, those particular drives were plagued  by constant issues, with drives seemingly uncontrollably and randomly dropping offline.


This wasted a lot of time for me and pushed me to upgrade to 12TB drives (ST12000VN0008) just to escape the hellhole that was having to RMA drives constantly, to the point where I got to first name basis with the local Seagate rep, and waiting to rebuild the array and associated down time. [Just a brief note: this appears to be a predominant issue related to certain(?) LSI contollers. Once I moved to drives to a backup server without LSI they have been working fine].


The 12TB drives Ironwolf fared a lot better, however I must have gotten onto a bad batch and I was experiencing hardware failures at a much higher rate than expected. Drives would last anywhere from a couple days to a couple months. You may be familiar with the bathtub curve. Here I was with a semi stable system that was really not fulfilling its needs, while also needing to expand the storage one more time as our operational needs grew. That is when the 8 drive limit came into play... should one go lower, cheaper capacity over more drives or not....


I started experimenting with Ironwolf Pro and Exos drives and found that the difference in $/TB in my location was generally minimal; so it came down to features. Ironwolf Pro is marketed as a Prosumer drive for a NAS of up to 24 drives, with slightly worse performance across the board compared to EXOS. In the end I settled for the EXOS x16 16TB drives (ST16000NM001G). I have not experienced any drive failures in over a year of 24x7 operation (other than a DOA, but that may happen). I agree with @KingfisherUK, the  higher speeds are a welcome bonus. Additionally, where I am, there are way better deals available for EXOS drives and often they show up in large quantities on commercial IT sites for low prices, reduced by as much as 50% of RRP. These sites are definitely not geared towards the regular home consumer.


At the end of the day it comes down to budget and if you can save the money, go for it.



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11 hours ago, GMAsterAU said:

At the end of the day it comes down to budget and if you can save the money, go for it.

There are certain risks associated with those sites selling at low prices (uncertain warranty, unknown stock history etc)

But the savings might be well worth the risk as long as the buyer understands exactly what he/she is dealing with.

Edited by Lolight
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13 hours ago, Lolight said:

There are certain risks associated with those sites selling at low prices (uncertain warranty, unknown stock history etc)

But the savings might be well worth the risk as long as the buyer understands exactly what he/she is dealing with.

You are totally right. I assumed that due diligence was implied with any purchase, especially with mission critical hardware. (The sellers I am referring to I have had very good experiences with and they often specify that this is local stock under local warranty, see below).


I have another story to share on this note actually. In Australia we are in a bit of a funny position where not few American companies sell stock under Australian company names/divisions of their mother corps, however items get shipped from overseas or from OEM stock. One of those is Newegg. They have localisation in Australia and once I found an amazing deal for some hardware. Ordered it and found that I had to return some of the items. I was instructed by Newegg to contact the manufacturer as I was outside the US. So I did, turns out that the warranty on the items sold was restricted due to the products not intended for the Australian market. After asking further I was told that there is no physical, or spec difference. Just certain serial numbers are destined for certain locations. What they offered me to do was to give me a discount on a repair/return of a product that was faulty out of the box, even though under Australian law they have to provide me with a refund/exchange. So I went back to Newegg who after much debate (I did not expect having to argue with a customer rep about whether I was entitled to an RMA few days after the items arrived...) agreed to a refund under their international refund policy. Turns out that the warranty period they offer is way less than the manufacturer warranty that I do not have access to was I to purchase the item in Australia locally.


Long story short, make sure not only that the sellers are reputable, but also where the item comes from (thinking of Amazon here in particular, even though I personally never had an issue with warranty returns via Amazon).

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