New Seagate 22TB HDD could become ‘cheapest’ large capacity hard drive by Christmas

An Ironwolf hard drive
(Image credit: Seagate)

Seagate launched another 22TB hard disk drive for the enterprise market. The IronWolf Pro (ST22000NT001) has 10 platters and uses CMR (conventional magnetic recording) rather than the controversial SMR to reach that capacity. It has a 256MB cache and a 7200RPM rotational speed, which means that it is likely to be one of the fastest HDD around.

What’s perhaps more important to our readers though is that it is optimized for NAS (network attached storage) devices with a five year warranty, a 550TB/year workload rating, a bunch of proprietary features and a mean time before failure of 2.5M hours. Seagate’s marketing literature mentions “AgileArray with dual-plane balancing, time-limited error recovery (TLER), and rotational vibration (RV) sensors to deliver top RAID performance in multi-bay environments”

Add a complimentary three-year rescue data recovery service, to shield you from a potentially catastrophic device failure and you have a pretty compelling product for anyone looking to store large amounts of data of any sort. Just make sure you have a solid backup plan, either using one of the best cloud backup providers or one of the best backup software.

What seals the deal is the price: at less than $363 (or $16.50 per TB), it is already the cheapest large capacity drive (above 20TB) on the market despite an MSRP of $600 and we wouldn’t be surprised if its price falls further come Christmas or Black Friday. You can also buy it right now (opens in new tab) (which shows that there’s ample stock)

The cheapest 22TB Western Digital drive is the WD Purple Pro surveillance HDD (opens in new tab)at $438, which has a 20% premium. Interestingly, if you want an external hard drive of this capacity, the WD Elements desktop external hard drive is significantly cheaper at $380 at Amazon (opens in new tab).

No 30TB drives yet

Since May 2022, Western Digital has the largest hard disk drive on the market, the 26TB Ultrastar DC HC670, one which is only available for data center clients because it is host-managed drive that is not drop-in replacements for CMR HDDs (more on that in our interview with WD’s Ravi Pendekanti, SVP of HDD Product Management).

Seagate however has confirmed that it wants to launch a 30TB hard disk drive by July 2023 for select customers, likely to be based on HAMR technology. Toshiba, the third hard disk drive vendor, has plans to launch a 30TB model in 2024; how likely that is to happen could also depend on a relatively unknown company called Resonac, a Japanese company that produces the platters that go into hard disk drives.

Resonac supplied the 2.6TB platters that WD used in the HC670 (10 of them per disk drive) and will produce models with a capacity of at least 3TB by the end of the year (based on a 2022 press release). Improvement in storage capacity for hard disk drives goes at a snail pace because the low hanging fruits are all gone. Other than the capacity of the platter, the only other variable that can be used is the number of platters per drive.

The introduction of helium almost a decade ago helped move the needle from eight, to nine and then 10 with the next step being 11. Beyond that, it’s all down to how storage density or how many bits can be crammed per square inch; the industry standard is currently around 1Tb per square inch.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.