Seagate has many top-of-the-line storage devices in the market today. From outstanding internal hard drives to flagship external storage devices, Seagate has long held the crown for being one of the top names in the computer storage industry.
Now, two of the most common devices used in professional environments are Seagate's Exos and Seagate IronWolf Pro. However, the headache begins for users when they try to pick the better option. So, which one is the winner, Seagate Exos vs. IronWolf Pro? Let's find out.
Before we start comparing the two devices, let's talk about each one of them. Seagate advertises both these devices as ideal for a productive environment. That's why both these series offer high numbers of storage, such as 4, 8, or 16 terabytes.
However, some of the IronWolf Pro does come in 2TB, but they're rarely seen because of their low production. This indicates that Seagate has only targeted these series towards productivity usage, such as:
- Small businesses
- NAS storages
This should tell you the ideal usage of these two storage devices. But before we determine a winner in Seagate Exos vs. IronWolf Pro, let's give you a brief overview of each:
Seagate Exos is the first device in this comparison and one of the latest in flagship internal storage by Seagate. The company aims to make this its primary enterprise solution for storage, and that's why it has poured all the high-grade features into it, such as:
- Swift read and write speeds
- High reliability based on premium quality parts
- Low latency in reads and writes
- Providing large amounts of storage in one drive
That's why Seagate aims this drive to be bought by data centers, NAS users, servers, and workstations, as well as small and big companies.
"Better than the IronWolf Pro 20TB due to an increased workload, this is the 20TB drive that is more worthy of investment. However, the 550TB per year workload isn't a huge number when you consider how much of that could be taken by drive integrity tests."
IronWolf Pro is the previous top-of-the-line and reliable enterprise-grade HDD made by Seagate. Initially, Seagate wanted it to be only a NAS-exclusive storage, but it quickly became a favorite in professional settings.
Therefore, it also posed some of the same abilities as the latest Exos line, including:
- Very high read and write speeds
- Quick RPMs that ensured low latency
- Starting from 2TB to 32TB to provide ample headroom
- Data recovery and software support
These factors have made IronWolf Pro a very popular device among professionals. That's why this drive has long been the primary go-to option for data centers, central storage, servers, NAS, etc.
"Initially, an extra 2TB over the 18TB model seems a modest improvement, but for those with ten drives, or more arrays, this extra space might represent a more significant overall performance increase. But the workload per year values are disappointingly low."
Now that we know the basics of both devices, we'll compare them by their key aspects. In this section, we're exploring eight important differences for a fair comparison of Seagate Exos vs. IronWolf Pro. So, let's jump into them.
The first and perhaps the most important thing to compare between the two devices are their specs. However, to make it easier for you, we have picked out the most relevant specs according to workplace usage. Here they are for each of the two devices:
|Seagate Exos||IronWolf Pro|
|Capacity||Ranging from 2-20 TB||Ranging from 2TB to 20TB|
|Form Factor||Standard 3.5 Inch Drive||Standard 3.5 Inch Drive|
|Cache Size||256MB - 512MB||256MB|
|Interface||SATA 6GB/S||SATA 6GB/S|
|MBTF||Around 2.5m hours (estimated)||Around 1.2m hours (estimated)|
As you can see, the two devices are the same in only size and storage capacity. In other specs, the Exos series is clearly ahead in terms of speed, cache, RPM, and MBTF.
Workload optimization is also known as the transfers that a disk drive can handle in a 12-month period. Therefore, workload per year is another thing to consider when choosing the right hard drive, and here's how both of these square up:
Seagate Exos: The workload of 550TB/year
IronWolf Pro: The workload of 300TB/year
Once again, workload optimization proves that Seagate Exos is almost double when compared with Seagate IronWolf Pro.
Spindle Speed is one of the key factors in determining the speed of a drive. However, a high-spinning magnetic disk doesn't always mean good health. Now, the base models of both IronWolf Pro and Exos run at 7200 RPM.
However, Seagate Exos does exceed 15000 RPM. While that does give it better speed, it also makes it a bit more prone to heat and breakage. However, so far, there aren't any recorded cases of Seagate Exos breaking because of the high RPMs.
The interface is one of the few aspects where both of these hard drives cap out. Now, that's more of a drawback of the interface rather than these hard drives. Considering the fact that Serial ATA (SATA) only supports up to 6GB/s. Therefore, both the Seagate Exos and IronWolf Pro have the interface of SATA 6GB/S.
The capacity options on both hard drives depend on their models. However, this is another aspect where they are both very similar. Here are the storage options available in both Exos and IronWolf Pro:
Seagate Exos: 4, 8, 10, 14, 16, 18, and 20TB variants
IronWolf Pro: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20TB variants
While IronWolf Pro does have more variants, it also indicates its older nature, as back when it was initially released, 2TB was the base for professional hard drives.
NAS optimization is when a hard drive is optimized for plug-and-play operations in a NAS server/system. This allows the NAS to detect it right away and put it to use. That's why both the Seagate Exos and IronWolf Pro are properly optimized for NAS storage solutions—with Exos being the faster one of the two.
Once again, both the Seagate Exos and Seagate IronWolf Pro offer Bay Support. But, being the faster of the two, Exos does have better chances of speed and reliability. Besides that, Seagate mentioned that they have tested Exos in multi-bay environments, making it more suitable for bay servers.
The final aspect of comparing is the prices. Now, there is a difference in prices, and you can see that here:
|Seagate Exos||IronWolf Pro|
As you can see, considering the speed and long-term benefits, Exos does sound like the better option. However, for someone needing 4TB of storage or such, the IronWolf Pro is in the better price range. But, all things considered, the price point winner is Seagate Exos as well.
If you have any further questions, you'll find them answered here:
1. Which is better IronWolf or Exos?
In terms of speed, Exos is definitely the better option, considering Seagate released it in place of their primary enterprise-level HDDs called IronWolf. Moreover, their prices are more or less the same on platforms like Amazon. Therefore, Exos is definitely the better option.
2. Are Exos drives good for NAS?
Yes, they are. Their ideal support for NAS is the reason Seagate Exos drives are popular. Considering they are speedy and support a SATA 6GB/S interface with updated bay support, they are ideal drives for any NAS storage or server solution.
3. Is Seagate Exos suitable for NAS?
Yes, it is. Seagate has provided special support for NAS in their latest enterprise-grade devices, which are Exos series, including Exos S and Exos X. Therefore, anyone looking for a long-term NAS solution will find this option to be the idea.
4. Is Seagate Exos X16 good for NAS?
Seagate Exos X16 is top-of-the-line hard drives made for enterprise usage, so their uses in NAS are very common. In simple words, yes, Seagate Exos x16 is a good option for NAS storage, servers, etc.
These are the key differences and similarities between Seagate Exos and IronWolf Pro. Both of these hard drive options are great for people looking for a lot of capacity and long-term solutions. While the newer competitor is definitely the better option, the older IronWolf Pro still holds on its own.
However, the clear winner in all the comparisons was Seagate Exos. Therefore, if you wish for a long-term solution, then Seagate Exos is definitely the one you should go with.
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Melissa is a sophisticated editor for EaseUS in tech blog writing. She is proficient in writing articles related to screen recording, video editing, and PDF file conversion. Also, she's starting to write blogs about data recovery, disk partitioning, data backup, etc.
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