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Seagate IronWolf vs. IronWolf Pro: Which NAS HDD is best?

When only the best IronWolf will do.

It can become a little confusing when shopping around for NAS hard drives, even if you’ve decided on a manufacturer. Take Seagate, for example. the company offers IronWolf, IronWolf Pro, and Exos hard drives for servers. Taking Exos out of the equation, what’s the difference between IronWolf and IronWolf Pro? This guide will show you exactly that.

Seagate IronWolf or IronWolf Pro?

Seagate technically has four separate families for its best NAS drives. There’s Seagate IronWolf and IronWolf Pro, which I will be explaining right here. But there’s also Exos and SkyHawk for serious enterprise-grade storage and surveillance, respectively.

The Seagate IronWolf family is the most basic range of NAS drives from the brand, ranging between 1TB and 8TB for capacity. These drives can be used in NAS enclosures with up to eight drive bays and make use of the same SMR writing tech used in IronWolf Pro.

SpecsSeagate IronWolfSeagate IronWolf Pro
TechnologyCMRCMR
Bays1-81-24
Capacity1-12TB2-20TB
Speed5,400 RPM (3-6TB)
5,900 RPM (1-3TB)
7,200 RPM (8-12TB)
7,200 RPM
Cache64MB (1-4TB)
256MB (3-12TB)
256MB
Workload180TB/yr300TB/yr
MTBF1 million1 million
Warranty3 years5 years
PriceFrom $60From $83

So what makes IronWolf Pro worth the extra cost? It largely comes down to much higher capacities, going up to a whopping 20TB. Each drive has 256MB of cache and a motor that can spin the platters at 7,200 RPM, resulting in faster data transfer speeds.

Then we’ve got the extended warranty, from three years to five years. Finally, you can install up to 24 IronWolf Pro drives inside a NAS enclosure and have peace of mind that they’re rated for a workload of up to 300TB per year.


Seagate IronWolf

Seagate IronWolf

Seagate’s IronWolf range is brilliant for most NAS applications. You can install up to eight of them inside a NAS and capacities go up to 12TB.

Seagate IronWolf Pro

If you want to install more than eight NAS drives or need higher capacities, you’ll want to upgrade to the more advanced Seagate IronWolf Pro.


Seagate Exos

Seagate Exos

Seagate Exos is reserved for enterprise and serious data applications where only the best storage hardware will do. Like IronWolf Pro, capacities top out at 20TB.

Seagate SkyHawk

Seagate SkyHawk is all about surveillance. If you’re wanting to set up some home or office security with cameras, grab some of these drives for your NAS.

By Richard Edmonds

I've been covering the tech industry for more than a decade and have tinkered with NAS for just as long. Follow my ramblings and more right here on NAS Master!

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