Seagate Ironwolf Pro vs Synology HAT5300 – NAS Drive Guide

Choosing Between Synology HAT5300 and Seagate Ironwolf Pro NAS Hard Drives

Choosing the right hard drive media for your NAS system used to be so simple! The choice when populating your NAS could be narrowed down to Seagate Ironwolf, WD Red and Toshiba N300. Then enterprise drives were growing in popularity with WD Gold, Seagate EXOS and Ultrastar in the mix, followed by dedicated NAS based SSDs! Recently Synology launched their very own range of SATA enterprise hard drives for use in their NAS systems. Although a brand that is more heavily associated with the development and services of network-attached storage hardware enclosures, it has long been expected that the brand would want to provide a more complete solution to accompany their already existing range of servers, network cards, and more. However, for many years, users have been utilising Seagate hard drives in their Synology NAS systems and now that the popular NAS brand has started releasing their own hard drive media, many users may wonder which one they should choose to populate their servers with. So today I want to compare the Seagate Ironwolf Pro hard drive series with the Synology HAT5300 range, based on their own reported specifications, and although many buyers will consider the Synology HAT5300 far more comparable to the Seagate EXOS series (as the Synology HAT5300 is a Toshiba Enterprise drive with Synology firmware) both the HAT5300 and Seagate Ironwolf Pro are seemingly targeted at high-performance NAS users. So, let’ take a look at the pros and cons of using each brand in your NAS drive in 2021.

Disclaimer!!! – As mentioned on YouTube and on other articles, I am still personally trying to remain on the fence about the new Synology range of Hard Drives until I have them in the test area and truly hit them hard with tasks. They certainly seem, in the right system, to be hugely advantageous, but I want to keep a much broader position when looking at how these drives compare, with as little bias as I can (on a platform that is heavy NAS oriented, that’s a fun game!). I want to look at these drives as far removed from the system that might be installed in as I can (removing wider issues of system compatibility, support and deployment), but that will always have to play a part. This guide utilises performance benchmarks provided by their respective brand pages and later in 2021 we will be doing more direct physical comparisons and testing. This NAS hard drive comparison guide serves as a means of finding the right storage media architecture for your needs, factoring price, performance, endurance, service and power consumption. But stay tuned for our more in-depth video comparisons and articles with popular performance benchmark tools soon.

Synology HAT5300 and Seagate Ironwolf Pro NAS Hard Drives – Price

The cost of any kind of hard drive media, regardless of its utility, is always going to have an impact on the purchasing decision when populating your NAS. Yes, we are looking at business-class storage here and therefore you are looking for hardware that is generally going to have to cost for (for long term use, construction, larger storage array, etc) but nevertheless, the minute you are looking at fully populating larger scale devices, such as the Synology RS4021xs+ and UC3200, you are going to be spending more on the storage media than you have on the server itself! Below is how the Synology HAT5300 and Seagate Ironwolf Pro ranges compare in price at 8, 12 and 16TB:

 

 

 

 

Capacity HAT5300-8T (8TB) HAT5300-12T (12TB) HAT5300-16T (16TB) ST8000NE001 8TB ST12000NE0008 12TB ST16000NE000 16TB
Price £205+ ex.VAT

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£310+ ex.VAT

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£400+ ex.VAT

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£185+ ex.VAT

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£285+ ex.VAT

Check Amazon

£355+ ex.VAT

Check Amazon

So, in terms of price, these Seagate Ironwolf Pro and Synology HAT5300 have more of a disparity in price compared with that of the WD Red and Synology HAT5300 we did last week, and individually, the Seagate drives are consistently the lower price of the two. However, unless you are buying them in tremendous bulk for multiple servers at once, you are not really going to feel much of an impact on the wallet between them both. The similarity in price continues through all three capacities shown, with a slight increase at the price per TB on Synology HAT5300 NAS hard drives. Additionally, it is worth remembering that the Seagate Ironwolf Pro drives are available in considerably more capacities than the HAT5300, as well as scaling up to 18TB. Of course, we are looking at PRICE, not VALUE, which is a whole other matter – ie, what exactly you get for your money. This is an area of division between the Seagate Ironwolf Pro and Synology HAT5300 that will only get more noticeable throughout this guide. On to performance.

Synology HAT5300 and Seagate Ironwolf Pro NAS Hard Drives – Hardware and Performance

As you might expect from storage media that is designed to be in operation 24×7, especially business servers, these drives have been designed with a high level of performance and durability in mind. Now, as we are working with data sheets in this article (more hands-on content coming as units become available) we are comparing the manufacturer’s specification sheets and where they differ. Obviously, this means that different hardware environments may well result in different performance (ie file types, server hardware, block size, # of users). Even at a casual glance, the build of these drives are near enough identical, with an margin of improvement on the Synology HAT5300:

 

 

 

 

Capacity HAT5300-8T (8TB) HAT5300-12T (12TB) HAT5300-16T (16TB) ST8000NE001 8TB ST12000NE0008 12TB ST16000NE000 16TB
Form Factor 3.5″ 3.5″
Available Capacity 8TB/12TB/16TB 1TB-18TB
Interface SATA 6Gb/s SATA 6Gb/s
Sector Size 512e 512e
Rotational Speed 7,200 rpm 7,200 rpm
Cache Size 256MB 512MB 256MB 256MB 256MB
Speed 230MB/s 242MB/s 262MB/s 240MB/s 240MB/s 255MB/s

The RPM is 7200 on both drives, they are both CMR drives that arrive with between 256MB of cache (though it should be noted the Synolog HAT5300-16T features 512MB), both share the same sector size and both are ONLY available in SATA currently (with Synology outlining their naming convention may be giving way to a HAS5300 SAS hard drive, whereas Seagate provides Enterprise Class and EXOS for SAS use). The reported highest performance is rated a fraction higher on the Synology HAT5300 12TB and 16TB, with the Seagate Ironwolf Pro 8TB taking a small lead. Both drives are designed with larger RAID array systems in mind (8 drives and above) and therefore individual drive performance is rather unhelpful in the grand scheme of things. Synology has been talking in detail about the SUSTAINED performance of their HAT5300 series (generally being comparable with Data Center class drives and the Toshiba MG series that they are using), which ultimately means that the HAT5300 SHOULD provide a more consistent and sustained performance compared with the Seagate Ironwolf Pro series. But again, this will be confirmed/debunked when we have them in the test rig. Although I have not addressed MTBF/MTTF here, as it has fast become a less reliable means of measuring failure), it can at least be noted that the MTTF was almost twice the length in hours on the HAT5300 than on the Seagate Ironwolf Pro NAS drive.

Synology HAT5300 and Seagate Ironwolf Pro NAS Hard Drives – Endurance and Durability

Now, THIS is an area where the divide between each drive becomes more noticeable, with a lot of the disparity being the result of comparing a data center esc drive with a large scale NAS drive. Each drive seemingly brings its own advantages and disadvantages to the forefront in the specs. Below I have highlighted the key differences in green which you should be paying attention to:

 

 

 

 

Capacity HAT5300-8T (8TB) HAT5300-12T (12TB) HAT5300-16T (16TB) ST8000NE001 8TB ST12000NE0008 12TB ST16000NE000 16TB
Workload Rating 550TB 300TB
Warranty 5 Years (ONLY for use in their own NAS Systems) 5 Years
Active Idle 6.38W 4.25W 4.00W 7.06W 5W 5W
Random Read / Write (4KB Q1) (Typ.) 9.10 W 7.83 W 7.63 W 9.2W 7.8W 7.6W
Acoustics, Seek (typical) 20/34 dB(A) 20/34 dB(A) 20/34 dB(A) 23/32 db(A) 23/28 db(A) 22/32 db(A)

So, let’s tackle this one step at a time. For a start, let’s look at that workload rating. Also known as TBW (Terabytes Written) per year, the Synology HAT5300 is almost double the figure of the Seagate Ironwolf Pro. A large part of this is the Enterprise/Data Center class build of the Synology NAS hard drive, with this tier of storage always being considerably higher than more NAS only targetted drives as data centers will all too often have more storage full re-write happening (as these servers offload onto archive systems more regularly than NAS backup systems). This is another example of the arguably unfair nature of comparing the HAT5300 drive against the Seagate Ironwolf Pro, but alas one comparison that many (Synology included) will make when it comes to fully populate their systems on Day 1. Both NAS hard drives include 5 years of the manufacturer’s hardware warranty, however, the Synology warranty comes with the caveat that you can ONLY use their drives in their own systems. Now, if you were intending to buy a Synology NAS rackstation/Diskstation anyway, then this is not a problem. However, this clearly becomes an issue if you are looking to purchase HDDs for your 3rd party NAS system (QNAP, Promise, QSAN, etc) as the Enterprise/Data Center class Synology HAT5300 drives are the same price as Large-NAS class Seagate Ironwolf Pro drives – finding that your warranty was not going to be supported in the event of a drive failure. There is an additional factor in the Seagate Ironwolf Pro series of the Rescue Recovery Services included with your drive purchase, but I will touch on that in more detail later.

Next we should address the matter of power consumption and noise. The Synology HAT5300 unsurprisingly (even if you compare the Seagate Ironwolf Pro with the Toshiba MG06/07/08 series that the Synology HAT5300 uses) uses less or near identical power in both idle and active use than the Seagate Ironwolf Pro, to maintain that higher consistent and sustained performance. However, they still managed to do this with a reported lower noise level. The Seagate Ironwolf Pro series is not the quietest of drives, but in many regards, this can be overlooked in this comparison, as both of these drives are largely targetted at NAS server systems of 8/12/16/24-Bay SATA storage – environments whereby the noise of the storage enclosure (likely with 3 tier cooling systems and redundant PSUs) will make noise far surpassing that of the drives inside. Ultimately the endurance of the HAT5300 wins overall and if the reported sustained performance is as good as they promise, then these will be the ultimate winning factor between the Synology HAT5300 and Seagate Ironwolf Pro NAS hard drives.

Synology HAT5300 and Seagate Ironwolf Pro NAS Hard Drives – Services and Extras

Moving slightly away from the specifications and data sheets, we can look at what both brands bring to the table AROUND these drives in terms of services and product support. It is important to factor in that Synology does not actually manufacture the HAT5300 in the way they produce their NAS systems, with the drives being manufactured by Toshiba in their Enterprise Storage MG series, with a Synology tailored Firmware applied. So, although some have questioned the trust you can have in an HDD from a brand with comparatively low history in the field, you have to factor the Toshiba hardware – making for a much more level comparison on that score. In fact, if you look at the latest Backblaze figures, this Toshiba MG series has had an exceptionally low failure rate – though there are practically no current generation Seagate Ironwolf Pros in their latest reports to draw a comparison.

Seagate Ironwolf Pro and Rescue Data Recovery Services Included

One very unique added extra with the Seagate Ironwolf Pro NAS drives (and indeed their non-Pro versions) is the inclusion of Seagate Rescue Data Recovery Services included with your drive purchase. This is for 3 years and is included alongside your 5 Year warranty. Anyone that has ever needed to recover data that has been deleted in error, wiped electronically or even a drive that has been physically damaged (within justifabe reasons of course) can use this service in order for professional data recovery service to try and retrieve your data.

This is certainly something that the Synology HAT5300 drive does not offer (or indeed largely any other HDD provider in 2021) and we even got a good change to test out this service over on YouTube when we took a Seagate Ironwolf drive, performed numerous physical damages to it (Physical impact, thrown down a flight of stairs, 5 feet drop, submerged in water), then the Recovery services were able to recover most fo the data. This should NEVER be considered as a viable alternative to traditional backups and RAID, additionally, the larger the RAID system, the likelihood that especially intensive damage might not be recoverable, but it is still a fantastic extra for this drive to arrive with, especially given the costs of even light level recovery, through to forensic professional services.

Seagate Ironwolf NAS Drive health Management

Another on-board extra that the Seagate Ironwolf Pro series of drives arrives with, is the Seagate Ironwolf Health Management (IWHM) that can be accessed from the NAS GUI (on the majority of NAS brands). This serves as a more analytical and legible alternative to S.M.A.R.T for drive scheduled checks. Analyizing a large number of tell-tale warning signs regarding a drive degreading, it is a relatively small additional extra, but better to have as many tools monitoring your drive health as possible.

Synology HAT5300 and Easily Firmware Management

Both drives have their tailored internal firmware and controllers that cover vibration, power use, handing or sporadic idle-to-active spin up, but one thing Synology does bring to the table here is the ability to update the drive firmware DIRECTLY from the NAS GUI, Diskstation Manager (DSM). This is a bigger deal than some might think as it allows you to action 2 things much, much easier on the HAT5300 than the Seagate Ironwolf Pro Drives:

  • You can update the firmware of your drives WITHOUT removing them manually and introducing them to a 3rd party client device (PC dock etc) and using HDD brand tools to update the firmware individually, then reintroducing them to the NAS system. This lowers downtime when upgrades are needed, reducing bare-metal interaction and lowers the potential damage that such a hands-on process might cause.
  • If you have drives with differing firmware (typically stated on the drive label) or are introducing further drives to an existing array to increase storage/maintenance, then it is much easier to have uniform firmware across the drives, regardless of when they were produced/injected into the NAS
  • The firmware that is updated is tailored to Synology NAS use and not just general NAS/Server deployment. Even if this provides improvements in the single-digit %, that all adds up over time

These two factors make the HAT5300 a convenient choice for NAS users, regardless of skill level and though updating the firmware will always require the storage system to be made unavailable for a period, an automated NAS software control system to do this will always reduce this downtime.

Synology HAT5300 NAS Drives and Compatibility

Returning to the Synology Hard Drives, it has to be touched on that the compatibility and usage restrictions that Synology are seemingly introducing alongside the release of the HAT5300 (centered around support and unsupported configurations) need to be mentioned on here.

A number of newer generation XS. SA, UC and FS systems are being released with their warranty being unsupported by Synology if the drive media used inside is not their own brand drives (with the exception of a handful of Toshiba or EXOS drives at the time of writing). We already touched on above that the HAT5300 drives have a 5yr warranty that will be unsupported if used in non-Synology systems, but these two factors are ones that likely limit your buying choices in terms of available capacity in 2021 so far (with Seagate Ironwolf Pro being available in 1TB all the way through to 18TB), as well as affecting your server purchase of choice and if you choose to migrate your used drives over to another system if upgrading within the 5yr warranty period.

Synology HAT5300 and Seagate Ironwolf Pro NAS Hard Drives – Conclusion

Right now, the Synology HAT5300 range of NAS hard drives DOES make a compelling early case when Seagate Ironwolf Pro drives, with some very impressive specifications. These advantages, of course, stem from the data centre-class drive arriving at a price point usually associated with large NAS use, something that reflects them well. Additionally, the small but significant advantages of system appropriate and easily controlled drive firmware in the Synology media cannot be overlooked. On the whole, at this early stage, the Synology media compares very well with the Seagate Ironwolf Pro long-standing drive, surprising it in a few key ways too, though it needs to be factored in that the Synology HAT5300 NAS hard drives include a system exclusivity that the Seagate Ironwolf Pro range is not restricted by. I look forward to sharing the hands-on testing soon on YouTube and deep-diving into what these drives bring to the end-user.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Advantages of the Synology HAT5300

  • Data Center Drive at a Lower Price
  • Excellent in-NAS Frimware Control
  • Impressive Durability and Workload
  • Better Like-for-like-Capacity Hardware level

Advantages of the Seagate Ironwolf Pro

  • Much Better Price on all Capacities
  • Wider Range of Capacities Available
  • Inclusive Data Recovery Services
  • Seagate Ironwolf Health Management on-drive
Capacity HAT5300-8T (8TB) HAT5300-12T (12TB) HAT5300-16T (16TB) ST8000NE001 8TB ST12000NE0008 12TB ST16000NE000 16TB
Price £205+ ex.VAT

Check Amazon

£310+ ex.VAT

Check Amazon

£400+ ex.VAT

Check Amazon

£185+ ex.VAT

Check Amazon

£285+ ex.VAT

Check Amazon

£355+ ex.VAT

Check Amazon

 


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