Best drives for raid: Best NAS hard drive of 2023

Best NAS hard drive of 2023

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Welcome to our pick of the best NAS hard drives. A large, fast, dependable hard drive is essential if you have a network-attached storage device.

No matter how much you spend on a NAS device, if the hard drive (or, more commonly now, SSD) in it isn’t up to scratch, you could be facing wasted money and, worse, lost or damaged files.

So, how do you pick the best NAS drive for your needs? First of all, you need to think about what you need. Is speed the most important thing? Or would you rather have the largest capacity you can afford to save all your documents?

How about a mega cache – or vibration protection? These are just some considerations when checking out the best NAS hard drives.

To help you choose, our pick of the best NAS hard drive for small business and home office environments can be found below. And with our built-in price comparison tool, you can shop safely, knowing you’re getting the best price.

Check out our best NAS devices and our best cloud storage and best cloud backup providers to complement your 1-2-3 backup strategy.

Backup your NAS drive with cloud storage
IDrive, the cloud backup veteran, delivers tons of storage online for an incredibly small outlay. 10TB for $3.98 for the first year is unmatched till now and so is the support for unlimited devices and the extensive file versioning system available.

The best NAS hard drives

Seagate IronWolf Pro 20TB (Image credit: Seagate Technology LLC)

1. Seagate IronWolf Pro 20TB

Oodles of storage for the network


Interface: SATA 6Gbps

Capacity: 4 — 20TB

Cache: 256MB

RPM: 7200

Today’s Best Deals

Reasons to buy


High storage capacity


Modest price increase for 20TB version

Reasons to avoid

300TB/y workload

Amazingly, cramming ten 2TB platters and 20 heads into a 3. 5-inch drive package is possible. But Seagate achieved this using CMR technology and replacing the atmosphere inside the drive with Helium.

On the plus side of this equation, the new IronWolf Pro 20TB is 2TB bigger than the 18TB model, about 25MB/s faster at reading and writing, and it’s more power-efficient. All these advantages come at a price that is only marginally more than the 18TB option. So it’s a no-brainer for commercial and enterprise NAS to support the needs of creative professionals and large businesses, indeed?

The blot on this landscape is the yearly workload limit of 300TB, which could quickly be eaten by regular integrity testing, not to mention actual use. With data center drives offering 550TB workload limits at a very similar price and nearly identical performance, the IronWolf Pro might not be the best drive for the job, depending on your NAS profile.

Read the full review: Seagate IronWolf Pro 20TB

Western Digital Red NAS Hard Disk Drive (Image credit: Western Digital)


Western Digital Red

A simple hard disk focused on maximising storage space


Interface: SATA 6Gbps

Capacity: 2 – 6TB

Cache: 64MB

RPM: 5400

Warranty: 3 years

Today’s Best Deals

Reasons to buy


Large capacity hard drive


Performs better than rival 4TB models

Reasons to avoid

Average multi-drive small block sequential transfer speeds

It was only a few years ago that Western Digital’s 6TB NAS was the pack leader, offering more storage space than you could get from competing models. While that’s no longer the case, it’s still a unit with capacious storage space. Designed for businesses and consumers, it offers fast performance, especially in multi-drive environments with strong large-block sequential read and write speeds.

WD Gold 4TB Enterprise Class Hard Disk Drive (Image credit: Western Digital)

3. WD Gold 4TB Enterprise Class

The best 12TB NAS hard drive deal around


Interface: SATA 6Gbps

Capacity: 1 – 22TB

Cache: 128MB

RPM: 7200

Today’s Best Deals

Reasons to buy


Excellent performance


Smartly priced

Reasons to avoid

Support is not as robust as rivals’

If your business requires storing large files (or just lots of them), WD’s Gold series stretches to a massive 12TB. And they boast some exciting traits: not least being filled with helium to protect tiny components inside that can become damaged by atmospheric turbulence. It’s on par with Seagate’s 12TB offerings regarding reading and write performance and offers many of its rival drives’ features at no extra cost.

WD Red Pro WD6003FFBX 6TB (Image credit: Western Digital)

4. WD Red Pro WD6003FFBX 6TB

Comes packed with useful features


Interface: SATA 6Gbps

Capacity: 2 – 22TB

Cache: 256MB

RPM: 7200

Today’s Best Deals

Reasons to buy


Great performance


Highly reliable

Reasons to avoid

10TB drive is quite loud

WD’s Red Pro continues the company’s mantra of offering affordable and reliable storage that reduces the total cost of ownership. It packs 3D Active Balance Plugs tech, which is said to improve the over-drive performance and reliability significantly. That’s in addition to NASware tech, designed to improve reliability and system performance, reduce downtime and simplify the integration process while offering robust data protection.

Seagate EXOS 20TB (Image credit: Seagate Inc.)

5. Seagate EXOS 20TB

An Enterprise-class 20TB NAS drive


Interface: 6Gbps SATA / 12GB/s SAS

Capacity: 18TB, 20TB

Cache: 256MB

RPM: 7200

Today’s Best Deals

Reasons to buy




550TB/y workload

Reasons to avoid

Regular integrity tests could exceed workload

Another Seagate drive with ten 2TB platters in the classic 3.5-inch form factor to sit alongside the new IronWolf Pro 20TB. The only significant difference on the outside is that the EXOS comes in a SAS flavor in addition to a conventional SATA variety model.

The EXOS drive beats the IronWolf Pro with a workload limit of 550TB, a significant improvement over the 300TB of its brother mechanism. These are the same workload limits as the Western Digital UltraStar DC HC560 20TB and WD Gold 20TB.

Tuned for data center use, the EXOS 20TB is designed for high-capacity servers, enterprise NAS systems, and bulk storage. While the cost is higher than the 18TB models, it is slightly faster and offers enhanced rack space efficiency. Until the rumored microwave-assisted switching (MAS-MAMR) drives come along, the EXOS 20TB is as big a hard drive as you can buy.

Read the full review: Seagate EXOS 20TB

Frequently Asked Questions

What is bits per cell?

From SSD and memory specialist Silicon Power, Anthony Spence answers this question.

Flash memory cells are the basic building blocks of NAND Flash. Data is stored as bits in the cells, the bits represent an electrical charge contained within the cell that can be readily switched on and off by means of an electrical charge. Adding bits to the cell increases the number of states a cell can have, thereby exponentially increasing its capacity.

Additionally, the number of bits a cell contains serves as one of the primary ways to classify NAND Flash:

Single-Level Cell (SLC): They can only store one bit per cell and take up to two levels of charge. SLC NAND offers the highest performance, reliability and endurance (up to 100K P/E (program/erase) cycles). However, the memory density is the lowest among the variants and the price per GB is considerably higher than the other types. SLC is only available in 2D format and mostly used in enterprise setups.

Multi-Level Cell (MLC): MLC takes up to 2-bits per cell and four levels of charge. Available both in 2D and 3D variants, MLC offers good performance, reliability and endurance at a cheaper price than SLC. 3D NAND variants can reach P/E cycles in the range of 30K.

Triple-Level Cell (TLC): TLC stores 3-bits per cell for up to eight levels of charge. Commonly used for consumer grade products, TLC has a lower performance, reliability and endurance to the previous two. However a cheaper price and higher memory density make up for the drop in performance. The 3D variant can reach up to 3K P/E cycles.

Quadruple-Level Cell (QLC): Similarly to TLC, QLC is also commonly found in consumer grade products. 5) levels, PLC is expected to knock down HDD’s last line of defense, namely high storage capacity at affordable prices. PLC will ease the production of high capacity low cost SSDs; however the drawbacks in terms of endurance, speed and reliability found in QLC will still persist.

What are the benefits of using a NAS hard drive?

There are several benefits to using a NAS hard drive, including the ability to access and share stored data from any device on the same network, automatic data backup, and improved data security. NAS hard drives also offer the convenience of being able to access stored data remotely, as long as you have an internet connection.

How do I choose the best NAS hard drive?

When selecting a NAS hard drive, it is important to consider the capacity, speed, and connectivity options that best meet your needs. Larger capacity hard drives can store more data, while faster hard drives can improve data transfer speeds. It is also important to consider the connectivity options, such as whether the hard drive supports Ethernet or WiFi, as well as the type of data interface (e. g. USB, SATA).

Can I use a NAS hard drive as a primary storage device?

While NAS hard drives can be used as a primary storage device, they are typically used as an additional storage option or for file sharing. They may not be suitable for use as a primary storage device for larger files or for high-performance applications, as they may not have the same level of speed and performance as a local hard drive.

Can I use my NAS hard drive for backup purposes?

Yes, many NAS hard drives offer automatic backup capabilities, allowing you to easily and securely store important data as a backup. Some NAS hard drives also offer cloud backup options, allowing you to store data

Round up of today’s best deals

Seagate IronWolf Pro 20TB



See all prices

Western Digital Red 6TB



See all prices

WD Gold 8TB



See all prices

WD Red Pro WD6003FFBX 6TB

$179. 99


See all prices

Seagate EXOS 20TB




See all prices

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Collin is the B2B Hardware Editor for TechRadar Pro. He has been in journalism for years, with experience in small and large markets, including Gearadical, DailyBeast, FutureNet, and more.

Collin is an experienced individual who has an abundance of knowledge when it comes to all things professional hardware. He is the go-to subject matter expert for TechRadar Pro and focuses on standing desks, office chairs, business laptops, «pro» monitors, and other similar topics. With his in-depth understanding of these areas, Collin can provide invaluable insights and advice to readers looking to make informed decisions about their hardware investments.

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What is the Best RAID for NAS Devices in 2023?

In this article, we’re going to look at what is the best RAID For NAS devices.

One of the main reasons to set up a NAS is to be able to utilize RAID. RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks and allows individual disks to work together to create a large pool. After configuring a RAID array, you will have multiple hard drives working together with the potential for redundancy (depending on which RAID type you selected).

We will look at some common RAID types below with the goal of explaining what is the best RAID for NAS devices from a consumer and general perspective, without diving too deep into the technical specifications of RAID.

  • What is the Best RAID for NAS Devices?

    • RAID 0

    • RAID 1

    • RAID 5

    • RAID 6

    • RAID 10

  • Conclusion: What is the Best RAID for NAS Devices?

What is the Best RAID for NAS Devices?

Before we look at what is the best RAID for NAS devices below, I want to be clear that the explanations are my opinion and it’s best to understand your options, then select the best RAID type based on the requirements.

Before we move on and look at what is the best RAID for NAS devices, RAID is not a backup! Make sure that you take proper backups or you run the risk of data loss!


RAID 0 is something that (in my opinion) should never be used for NAS devices. RAID 0 works by splitting data across multiple drives, which means that you’ll get the total drive space allotted, but you will not have redundancy. This means that if any hard drive fails, you will lose all of your data.

From an actual NAS perspective, RAID 0 is normally allowed, but generally ill-advised. If you’re setting up a NAS, it’s best to have some form of redundancy, which is why I recommend you use one of the RAID types below. There are performance benefits to RAID 0, but overall, the lack of redundancy is why I don’t recommend it for most.


RAID 1 mirrors data, which means that when data is written to the first hard drive, it’s also written to the second hard drive. This ensures that redundancy exists and that if one hard drive fails, the other will still contain the data. You should use two equally sized hard disks with RAID 1, or the smaller disks size will be used (meaning if you use a 4TB and 6TB drive, you’ll only have 4TB of usable space).

From a NAS perspective, RAID 1 is beneficial if you have a NAS device with two bays. If you have more, RAID 1 generally isn’t used as you’ll be able to utilize more hard drive space with another RAID type.


RAID 5 is the RAID type that most users will use and is generally a great option for NAS devices with less than five drive bays. If you have a NAS device with six drive bays, you can certainly use RAID 5, but you might also benefit from RAID 6 which we’ll look at below.

RAID 5 works by saving one hard drive for redundancy, meaning that one hard drive can fail at any time without data loss. If a hard drive fails, you can replace it and the RAID array will rebuild the new drive. After the drive rebuilds, you will be able to have any hard drive fail again without data loss. If two hard drives fail at the same time, you will lose all data.

RAID 5 is a great option for most consumer NAS devices, but you must ensure that you use the same sized hard drive or the smallest disk size will be used (three 6TB hard drives and one 4TB hard drive will result in 12TB of usable space and 4TB saved for redundancy).

Screenshot from the Synology RAID Calculator


RAID 6 is extremely similar to RAID 5, but you will have two total hard drives that can fail before data loss rather than one. Generally, RAID 6 is a waste for NAS devices that have less than six drive bays as you’ll be allocating too many hard drives for redundancy.

However, six-bay devices are generally the tipping point where you might want to start considering RAID 6. There is a slight performance hit for write operations with RAID 6 due to the extra parity calculations, but not enough for it to impact your decision on its usage.

Screenshot from the Synology RAID Calculator

If you have a NAS device that has at least eight drive bays, you should certainly be using at least RAID 6. At that point, RAID 10 (which we will look at below) is an option as well, but RAID 6 is the starting point.


RAID 10 is also known as RAID 1+0, as it combines the benefits of both. This means that you get the best of both worlds in terms of performance and redundancy. The downside of RAID 10 is that it requires at least four hard disks and also cuts the total storage space in half. Therefore, if you have eight drive bays and fill the entire NAS with hard drives, you will only have half (four total) of the drives as usable storage space.

RAID 10 is an option for people who are using NAS devices with eight or more drive bays. Technically, you can use it if you have fewer drive bays as well, but at a certain point, it just becomes overkill and RAID 5 or 6 becomes a better option.

Conclusion: What is the Best RAID for NAS Devices?

On an overall level, RAID 5 is generally the best RAID for NAS devices. This is because it provides redundancy while also allowing you to utilize most of your hard drives for storage space. RAID 6 is also an option that’s widely used, but you have to ensure that you have enough storage space from your hard drives (and drive bays) before committing to it. With RAID 5, you’ll have one drive that can fail without data loss, and with RAID 6, you’ll have two.

When looking at what is the best RAID for NAS devices, the only RAID type I’d suggest that you don’t use is RAID 0. There are performance benefits to it, but the risk of data loss is too high due to the lack of redundancy. Please keep in mind that RAID IS NOT A BACKUP and you want to ensure that you’re always backing up your important data.

Thanks for checking out the article on what is the best RAID For NAS devices. If you have any questions on what is the best RAID for NAS devices, please leave them in the comments!

Why Special RAID Ready Hard Drives are Recommended for RAID

Network storages are quite popular today and the question is: “Which disks should they work on?”

There is an opinion that RAID arrays are much more reliable than a single disk. But is it so in practice? Let’s try to figure it out in this article.

Using a RAID array

Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) means redundant array of independent disks. In other words, this is a virtualization method that connects a certain number of disks into one volume with improved final characteristics.

RAID transforms several drives into a single powerful device. It is not only suitable for storing information with a backup option, but can also function as a high-fault tolerance system disk.

But in the work of RAID-arrays there are not only pluses, but also minuses. Its system is quite complex, which requires additional equipment. Accordingly, its acquisition is an extra cost. But here it is worth noting that the losses incurred in case of loss of important data due to a drive failure can be much higher than the cost of maintaining RAID.

Note that this technology may not be used everywhere. In order for it to carry out its work, a necessary condition is software and hardware support. In particular, the BIOS must have the “SATA Configuration: RAID” setting. If it is missing, only an additional expansion board will help, i.e. controller.

An additional device in the form of a special controller is required if RAID is not supported by the software method.

Thus, a RAID array is based on several basic foundations that allow it to function stably.

Operating conditions RAID Ready

In order to understand how a RAID array is suitable for a RAID Ready disk, it is necessary to consider the conditions for their operation.

Speaking about such a factor as vibrations, we note that hard drives do not like them very much. In fact, they themselves are its sources. Therefore, if several drives are located in one place, then their vibrations will affect each other’s operation. There are some vibration mitigation measures in RAID Ready drives.

Drives for RAID are more precisely balanced. This allows you to reduce the vibration to a minimum value resulting from the imbalance of the disks. In addition, special vibration sensors are installed on RAID disks. They transmit information to the HDD controller and, based on it, it changes the operating mode of the drive in order to reduce the vibration level.

Temperature reading

The HDD drive during operation is capable of heating up to 65 degrees, and sometimes even higher. For the operation of one disk, this is not critical. But when several drives function tightly together in a small case and without air-permeable gaps, certain failures due to thermal deformation can occur. Overheating in this case is highly discouraged.

RAID Ready hard drives use a certain power-saving technology that reduces heat generation. They can also change their power consumption according to the load. If the drive overheats, the NAS controller will turn off the drive and immediately issue an error notification. The disk will not be damaged in this case.

Job specifics

Today, HDD controllers can optimize the operation of its mechanisms in accordance with the operating mode of the associated peripherals. Note that the specifics of work in the desktop and NAS are different. Therefore, the optimal solution for the first case will not be entirely efficient for the second.

In particular, it refers to the parking of the block of heads, which must be in a certain position. Otherwise, the read operation will not be performed. In this case, there may be a negative impact on the operation of the NAS. In turn, RAID disks usually do not park their heads during operation (in some cases this happens with the help of a controller).

The same goes for stopping the disk. Most often this is found in drives that are built into laptops. If the device is idle, the drive will completely stop (to save power). When work on it starts again, the drive starts up for a relatively long time.

Such delays reduce the overall read / write speed. This is the loss of the NAS of its main advantage.

Summing up

Thus, using RAID Ready hard drives is much more practical. They exclude the occurrence of any errors in the operation of the equipment and do not contribute to a decrease in the read / write speed.

Installing conventional drives in the system can lead to certain problematic situations, and sometimes to damage to the drives themselves. This usually occurs with a large array.

Analyzing the effect of RAID Ready, we can highlight a number of their advantages, which were discussed in this article. Therefore, their use in network storages is not in vain recommended by most users.

top HDDs for computers and laptops

The best hard drive is far from SSD in terms of data transfer speed, but there is a reason why these devices still exist and are popular.

And these reasons come down to two things: the price and the amount of memory. Not only are the devices more affordable, they also provide the extra storage needed for file backups, especially for users who work with large amounts of data.

There are a few things to consider when buying the best hard drive. Do you want to increase the memory on your console? If so, a 2.5″ drive or perhaps an external hard drive might be ideal. On the other hand, you might have one of the best gaming PCs but no room for a video game library. In this case, a 3.5-inch 7200 rpm drive should be looked at as it might be one of the best hard drives out there.

Our article will help with this, especially if you are new to buying internal components, in particular hard drives. Thus, we have collected the best of them.

WD Purple

Interface: SATA 6Gb/s | Capacity: 2-4TB | Buffer size: 256 MB | Rotation speed: 5400 rpm

The manufacturer positions WD Purple hard drives as an option for video surveillance systems and other scenarios that require high reliability in 24/7 operation.

At the same time, no one will stop you from using the HDD in your home PC as a file storage. However, we would not recommend installing games on this disk, especially modern ones: due to the low speed, you will encounter long downloads and slow loading of objects.

Seagate Exos X20

  • Interface: SATA 6Gb/s | Capacity: 20TB | Buffer size: 256 MB | Rotation speed: 7200 rpm

The Seagate Exos X20 is a great choice if you need a lot of storage, with 20 TB of storage capacity for everything from home photo and video archives to your favorite video game distributions. The model is intended for installation in servers, but it can also be placed in a home PC if required.

Toshiba P300

  • Interface: SATA 6Gb/s | Capacity: 4-6TB | Buffer size: 128 MB | Rotation speed: 5400 rpm

A large capacity hard disk that can store a huge amount of data. A shock sensor is also installed here, which allows you to avoid damage to information during mechanical action: the shock resistance of the device during operation is 70G. However, it has a slow rotational speed and a limited buffer, so you shouldn’t use it for high performance tasks like video games.

WD Red Plus

  • Interface: SATA 6Gb/s | Capacity: 8-12TB | Buffer size: 256 MB | Rotation speed: 7200 rpm

The WD Red Plus range is designed for use in NAS systems: these hard drives provide the storage solution for your business or home office. You can also install the HDD in a regular PC: due to its low operating temperature, low noise level and large volume, this device will be a good option for a RAID array.

WD Black

  • Interface: SATA 6Gb/s | Capacity: 6-10TB | Buffer size: 128 MB | Rotation speed: 7200 rpm

The WD Black series of desktop PCs is marketed as a gaming series, delivering better performance with fast performance and large buffer space. The model supports a number of technologies, such as StableTrac, which reduces the impact of vibration generated by PC components, and platter stabilization, which improves the positioning of heads when reading and writing data.

Of course, this HDD can’t match the speed of SSDs, but if you need a fast, large capacity hard drive, WD Black will satisfy your needs.

WD BLACK P10 Game Drive

  • Interface: USB 3.2 | Capacity: 2-5TB

Modern games weigh a lot, because of this, the memory in the console drive is clogged very quickly. As with laptops, finding a good 2.5-inch hard drive for your game console can be a challenge. And then external storages come to the rescue.

If you take into account only the price and the amount of memory, in the WD BLACK P10 Game Drive lineup, every customer will find his ideal option. It is worth noting that the drive is connected via USB 3.2, and demonstrates higher speed than internal hard drives.

Seagate BarraCuda

  • Interface: SATA 6Gb/s | Capacity: 2-3TB | Buffer size: 64 MB | Rotation speed: 7200 rpm

Seagate’s Barracuda HDD line-up shows what the best hard drive in every sense should be. The 2TB model combines excellent performance and affordability. The high data density and platter rotation speed of 7200 revolutions per minute will ensure the speed of the computer.

WD Blue Desktop

  • Interface: SATA 6Gb/s | Capacity : 500 GB — 6 TB | Buffer size: 64 MB | Rotation speed: 5400 – 7200 rpm

Western Digital’s WD Blue range offers great value for money. With a wide choice of memory options from 500GB to a capacious 6TB, WD Blue is a great option for just about any type of PC.

The most solid are drives with a higher capacity — they provide much more space per ruble spent. In addition, 7200 rpm models are also available, with a slight increase in price.

Seagate Firecuda Desktop

  • Interface: SATA 6Gb/s | Capacity: 1TB — 2TB + 8GB | Buffer size: 64 MB | Rotation speed: 7200 rpm

Solid state drives are incredibly popular, and it’s easy to see why. But if you need a lot of storage and good speed, but at the same time for not very big money, hybrid hard drives are a great option.

The SeaGate FireCuda is the best hybrid hard drive on the market. It holds up to 2TB of data, and the 8GB solid-state cache recognizes which data is used most so the user can quickly access it. The increase in speed is even better when you consider that this drive is spinning at 7200 rpm. With a 5 year warranty and affordable price, it’s easy to see why the Firecuda is one of the best hard drives you can buy today.

Seagate FireCuda Mobile

  • Interface: SATA 6Gb/s | Capacity: 500 GB — 2 TB + 8 GB | Buffer size: 64 MB | Rotation speed: 5400 rpm

Upgrading the memory on a laptop can be quite a tedious process. There aren’t many truly impressive 2.5″ hard drives on the market, as higher speeds mean a serious premium. However, the Seagate FireCuda 2. 5-inch hybrid drive strikes a good balance.

The device offers an easy way to increase the memory on your laptop and also increase the speed with 8 GB of flash memory. A five-year warranty on the drive will also help ensure its longevity.

Toshiba X300

  • Interface: SATA 6Gb/s | Capacity: 4-8TB | Buffer size: 128 MB | Rotation speed: 7200 rpm

Notebooks from Toshiba are not as popular as they used to be, but the company has not lost its prestige in the field of computer technology. The Toshiba X300 is a roomy and fast model, offering the best price/capacity ratio without sacrificing performance.

The disc features a large cache and high platter rotation speed. However, there is one serious drawback: the warranty is only 2 years (usually 3-5 years of warranty service are given for goods from this category).

WD VelociRaptor

  • Interface: SATA 6Gb/s | Capacity: 250GB — 1TB | Buffer size: 64 MB | Rotation speed: 10000 rpm

What matters most to gamers? Of course, the speed of the system. But to get the most out of your computer, you don’t have to buy a solid state drive. In the family of conventional hard drives, there is a curious specimen — WD VelociRaptor. It is notable for the speed of rotation of the plates — 10 thousand revolutions per minute. The maximum storage capacity is 1 TB. Not as much as we would like, but you can create a decent-sized game library on it. Quick launch of applications is guaranteed thanks to the high rotation speed of the plates.

The disc is very expensive. If you want more capacity at a lower price, consider the Seagate FireCuda as an alternative.

Seagate IronWolf

  • Interface: SATA 6Gb/s | Capacity: 6-12TB | Buffer size: 256 MB | Rotation speed: 7200 rpm

This product is a premium product. Seagate IronWolf is suitable for use in NAS systems, and therefore it is so expensive (however, a standard HDD with the same capacity would not cost much less).