HDD Benchmarks Hierarchy 2024: A Comprehensive Ranking of Tested Hard Drives

In the ever-evolving landscape of storage solutions, hard disk drives (HDDs) continue to play a crucial role in offering high-capacity storage options. Our HDD benchmarks hierarchy provides an in-depth look at the performance of various HDDs that we've rigorously tested over the past couple of years. These rankings are designed to assist users in making informed decisions when it comes to choosing the right HDD for their needs. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the hierarchy, discuss the key factors that impact HDD performance, and highlight some standout models that offer exceptional value.

Jan 12, 2024 - 20:52
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HDD Benchmarks Hierarchy 2024: A Comprehensive Ranking of Tested Hard Drives

The Importance of Storage Hierarchy

A Complementary Resource

Our HDD benchmarks hierarchy serves as a valuable companion to our guides on the best hard drives and solid-state drives (SSDs). While SSDs have revolutionized speed and responsiveness in modern computing, HDDs remain relevant as secondary storage options, particularly for those seeking high-capacity storage at an affordable price point. In an era where storage demands are ever-increasing, having access to a comprehensive ranking of HDDs is essential for making informed purchasing decisions.

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Continual Evaluation and Testing

Keeping Up with Technology

To ensure the relevance and accuracy of our HDD benchmarks hierarchy, we maintain a rigorous testing regimen. We regularly review and evaluate new HDD models, updating our rankings accordingly. Our test environment consists of a high-performance setup, featuring a Core i9-12900K system running Windows 11 22H2, equipped with 32GB of DDR4 memory. If you represent an HDD manufacturer and do not find a particular model in our list, please feel free to reach out, and we'll explore the possibility of including it in our testing lineup.

Diverse Range of Capacities and Spindle Speeds

Tailoring to Diverse Needs

Our HDD benchmarks hierarchy encompasses a diverse range of capacities, ensuring that users can find options that match their specific storage requirements. The tested HDDs span from 6TB to 22TB in capacity, with spindle speeds ranging from 5400 RPM to 7200 RPM. While our current presentation features all the models in a single table, we plan to categorize and separate them by capacity as we continue to expand our testing repertoire.

Performance and Value: The Twin Pillars

Balancing Act

In the world of HDDs, performance and value are the twin pillars that drive purchasing decisions. While high-performing HDDs tend to be larger models, size alone is not the sole determinant of performance. In some cases, lower-capacity drives can outshine their higher-capacity counterparts, as demonstrated by the Toshiba X300 Pro 12TB and 20TB models. However, while performance is a critical factor, pricing often takes precedence.

Price per Terabyte: A Crucial Metric

Unraveling Value

For users seeking the best value in terms of price per terabyte (TB), two standout options emerge from our rankings: the Seagate BarraCuda 8TB and the Seagate Exos X20 20TB. While the 8TB model offers a slightly better value at the time of writing, the 20TB variant presents an irresistible proposition. Not only does it more than double the raw capacity, but it also boasts a higher 7200 RPM rotational speed, making it an attractive choice for those with substantial storage needs.

The Impact of SMR Technology

Shingled Magnetic Recording

It's essential to consider the underlying technologies that influence HDD performance. The Seagate Barracuda 8TB, with its appealing price per TB, happens to be the slowest drive in our tests. This is attributed, in part, to its 5400 RPM spindle speed and the use of Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) technology. While SMR enhances areal density by packing more bits per square millimeter, it can lead to slower write speeds as the drive fills up. As we progress into higher capacities, we can anticipate the adoption of SMR-type technologies in the 30TB and beyond range.

The Reigning Champion: Seagate Exos E20

Performance Meets Value

Among the tested HDDs, the Seagate Exos E20 stands out as the fastest drive overall. Its exceptional performance, characterized by high sequential throughput and improved random IO, positions it as a top-tier choice. Notably, it also claims the title of the second-best value overall when factors beyond performance are considered. This combination of performance and value makes the Exos E20 an attractive option for users seeking the best of both worlds.

Stay Informed: Monitor Price Fluctuations

Dynamic Pricing Landscape

While our rankings provide valuable insights, it's important to recognize that prices in the storage market are subject to frequent fluctuations. A simple price reduction could swiftly elevate a lower-ranked HDD to the forefront in terms of value. Therefore, we recommend keeping an eye on similar capacity HDDs and monitoring price changes before finalizing your purchase decision.

Conclusion

Our HDD benchmarks hierarchy for 2024 serves as an invaluable resource for anyone navigating the complex landscape of storage solutions. HDDs continue to offer a compelling option for high-capacity storage needs, and our rankings are designed to assist users in identifying the best options based on performance and value. As technology evolves and storage demands grow, the ability to make informed decisions becomes paramount. Whether you prioritize performance or seek the best value, our hierarchy empowers you to choose the HDD that aligns with your specific requirements. Stay tuned for updates as we continue to expand our testing and provide you with the latest insights into the world of HDDs.