Front of the Seagate IronWolf 16 TB

Seagate IronWolf 16 TB review: Impressive NAS storage at a cost

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I heard you needed more storage space! Enter the incredible 16 TB Seagate IronWolf. This is no longer the largest capacity drive on offer from Seagate, but it’s still one of the more expensive HDDs. Designed for NAS enclosures, this is the series of drives to buy for continuous usage without spending too much on the premium IronWolf Pro.

I always recommend using the best NAS drives for an enclosure or server with data storage in mind. Desktop-class consumer drives will work inside a NAS, but they’re not designed for continuous operation, nor do they have advanced protections like vibration dampening. If you plan to spend considerable money on storage, it’s best to get it right the first time.

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The Seagate IronWolf 16 TB HDD is massive. Inside this chamber are 8 platters and 16 heads. Using CMR for handling data, Seagate utilized every millimeter of space inside this enclosure. As a Seagate IronWolf drive, various features make this a more reliable way of storing data on your NAS enclosure.

Seagate IronWolf 16 TB

A heavy HDD for lots of data

Seagate IronWolf 16 TB
Seagate IronWolf 16 TB. (Source: Seagate)

Seagate’s IronWolf 16 TB drive is designed for NAS servers with plenty of capacity to store anything. You shouldn’t run out of space with 16,000 GB to work with.

TechnologyCMR
Size16 TB (16,000 GB)
InterfaceSATA III
Form factor3.5-inch
Workload180 TB/yr
Cache256 MB
Max bays8
Speed7,200 RPM
Transfer rate~255 MB/s
Warranty3 years
  • Fantastic performance
  • Great capacity for storing data
  • Good value for $ per GB
  • Massive size and hefty weight
  • Pricey

Price and availability

This 16 TB Seagate IronWolf is no affordable hard drive. With an MSRP of $470, it’s a pricey drive but well worth it if you have a lot of data to store. Like all other NAS drives, the price per GB isn’t terrible, coming in at $0.03 for the MSRP. You can find this drive at a discount, making it a more enticing option for servers.

Performance

To see how good this NAS HDD is, I installed two 16 TB Seagate IronWolf drives inside a Synology DiskStation DS224+ and TerraMaster F4-424 Pro with Intel processors and enough RAM to handle heavier workloads. The F4-424 Pro has two 2.5GbE network links for higher bandwidth.

A test bench was also used, running Windows 11 with an AMD Ryzen 9 7900, 32 GB of DDR5 RAM, and the OS running from a PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD. With conventional magnetic recording (CMR) and AgileArray, this IronWolf should have no problem running inside a populated NAS enclosure with RAID. IOPS performance should be excellent too.

A 180 TB/yr workload rating is set for these higher-capacity IronWolf drives. Vibration protection and a better tolerance for multi-bay enclosures make this expensive drive worth considering for larger NAS. Finally, there’s IronWolf Health Management (IHM) and a three-year warranty.

CrystalDiskMarkSeagate IronWolf 16 TB
Read231 MB/s
Write224 MB/s

Performance is as expected from a SATA III drive. The 16 TB Seagate IronWolf can sustain 231 MB/s and 224 MB/s for read and write speeds. This is ample for most NAS enclosures with 1GbE or 2.5GbE networking and should fully saturate the available network links. With faster ports and CPUs, additional SSD caching can improve performance.

Temperature and power

The Seagate IronWolf 16 TB produces considerable heat due to having multiple heads and platters. The power consumption is also higher versus other (lower capacity) drives. Does this matter inside a NAS enclosure? Not at all. Most enclosures have ample cooling and power shouldn’t be a concern.

Power consumption during read-and-write operations can be anywhere up to just shy of 10 watts. The drive will happily idle at less than 4 watts with standby measuring just north of 1 watt. Power drain shouldn’t be an issue with a few of these 16 TB drives installed.

Competition

Seagate’s primary competition for NAS drives is Western Digital Red. The two brands have a NAS line of drives with similar features, vibration protection, and performance. Western Digital has an equivalent 16 TB Red NAS HDD, though there’s no wrong answer between Red and IronWolf.

Should you buy the 16 TB Seagate IronWolf?

I recommend buying the Seagate IronWolf if you have a lot of data to store. NAS enclosures should be running some form of RAID, where high-capacity drives such as this come into play. By using 16 TB Seagate IronWolf drives, you’ll be saving as much space as possible.

The upfront cost is high, especially compared to other drive capacities and cloud storage subscriptions, but the price per GB is pretty good and in line with what I’d recommend for home NAS. The same premium Seagate NAS drive features are present here.

It’s one of the best family of drives for safely and reliably storing data on a NAS enclosure. A capacity of 16 TB allows you to store much more data before needing an expansion unit.

Seagate IronWolf 16 TB

Seagate IronWolf 16 TB
Seagate IronWolf 16 TB. (Source: Seagate)

Seagate’s IronWolf 16 TB drive is a fantastic addition to your NAS enclosure. With a few of these installed, you’ll have access to a high-capacity storage solution … at a price.

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