IronWolf vs. IronWolf Pro – NAS Hard Drives Compared

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Ironwolf vs IronWolf Pro - NAS Drives Compared - VueVille

For a few years now I have been using WD RED NAS hard drives in my DIY NAS NVR. But these are running 24/7 and its only a matter of time before I need to start replacing them one by one.

So I have been researching the various NAS hard drives from WD, Seagate and other top brands. I looked at WD RED vs. Seagate IronWolf drives recently. That’s when I came across the Ironwolf Pro range.

Let’s take a closer look at how the IronWolf differs from the IronWolf Pro.

IronWolf vs. IronWolf Pro – Features

The biggest difference between the two is this: IronWolf is aimed at Home, SOHO and small business NAS drives with up to 8 drive bays. IronWolf Pro, on the other hand is for businesses and digital artists who need extremely high performance from their NAS servers.

As you can see in the comparison table at the bottom of this post, the larger Ironwolf drives run at 7200 rpm but the smaller capacity ones run at 5900 rpm. But all the IronWolf Pro drives run at 7200 rpm.

Performance

The IronWolf Pro has a much higher rated transfer speed than the IronWolf Pro, as can be seen in the comparison table at the end of this post.

However in real life, which drive is faster will depend on what type of enclosure or rack you are using.

In a smaller enclosure, the IronWolf may pull ahead whereas in larger enclosures or storage racks, the Pro version will have better performance. This can be attributed to the vibration optimizations of the Pro version.

All IronWolf and IronWolf Pro drives utilize write-back caching.

Reliability

The Pro drives also have a higher workload rating of 300 TB/year vs. the Ironwolf’s 180TB/year. But that doesn’t tell us the full story.

While we may not have specific reliability data for the Ironwolf and RED drives, one cloud storage provider regularly publishes drive failure data for all the drives it uses – Backblaze.

Looking at the latest Backblaze data, in general at lower capacities, Seagate seems to have lower reliability. Although do note the sample size is much larger in Seagate’s case for most drive sizes, generally the higher the sample size, the more accurate the data becomes.

BackBlaze Q1 2018 Lifetime Drive Stats - VueVille

Noise

The Ironwolf has a noise level rating of 23-32dB, which is good enough if you are using the NAS in your living room or in your study.

The IronWolf Pro doesn’t have rated noise levels, presumably because the audience that the Pro droves target do not really care much about sound levels.

VueVille Verdict

The IronWolf is our choice for home users. If you are using a storage rack or an enclosure with more than 8 bays, go for the IronWolf Pro.

Where to buy

Comparison Table

IronWolf (6-12 TB)IronWolf (4 TB)IronWolf Pro (12-14 TB)IronWolf Pro (4-10 TB)
24/7 operation
Spindle speed 7200 rpm 5900 rpm 7200 rpm 7200 rpm
Max sustained data transfer rate 210 MB/s 180 MB/s 250 MB/s 214 MB/s
Cache 256 MB 64 MB 256 MB 256 MB (128 MB for 4TB drive)
RAID support All configurations All configurations All configurations All configurations
Enclosure 1-8 bay 1-8 bay Up to 16 bays Up to 16 bays
Workload 180 TB/year 180 TB/year 300 TB/year 300 TB/year
MTBF 1 million hours 1 million hours 1.2 million hours 1.2 million hours
Non-recoverable Read Errors per Bits <1 in 10^15 <1 in 10^14 <1 in 10^15 <1 in 10^15
Load/unload cycles 600,000 600,000 600,000 300,000
Power-on hours per year (24x7) 8760 8760 8760 8760
Vibration sensor (RV)
Average power consumption 7.8 - 8.8 W 4.8 W 7.8 - 8.9 W 6.5 - 8.5 W
Idle power consumption 5.0 - 7.6 W 3.95 W 4.4 - 5.4 W 4.4 - 5.4 W
Standby power consumption 0.6 - 0.8 W 0.5 W 0.8 W 0.6 - 0.8 W
Noise levels 27-32 dB 23 - 25 dB Not available Not available
Warranty 1M hours MTBF 3-year limited warranty 1M hours MTBF 3-year limited warranty 1.2M hours MTBF 4-year limited warranty 1.2M hours MTBF 4-year limited warranty
Seagate Rescue Data Revovery
Price

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