Seagate IronWolf vs. Barracuda – Hard Drives Compared

One of the common hard drive comparison requests I get from my readers is for the Seagate IronWolf vs. the Seagate Barracuda.

This is quite interesting because the IronWolf is a NAS-focused drive and the Barracuda is an internal hard drive for PCs. Both are available in 2.5″ and 3.5″ sizes and a wide range of capacities.

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

Seagate Ironwolf vs Barracuda Hard Drives Compared - VueVille

A quick note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post contains affiliate link(s). An affiliate link means I may earn advertising or referral fees if you make a purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.

Seagate IronWolf NAS drive vs. Barracuda Internal Hard Drive – Comparison Table

FeatureIronWolf (12-18 TB)IronWolf (4-10 TB)Barracuda (2-12 TB)Barracuda (500GB - 1TB)
24/7 operation
RAID supportAll configurations
Recording technologyCMRSMRCMR
Enclosure1-8 baysNot supportedNot supported
Drive designHeliumAir
Spindle speed7200 rpm5400/5900/7200 rpm5400 rpm / 7200 rpm7200 rpm
Cache256 MB64 / 256 MB256 MB32 / 64 MB
Max sustained data transfer rate210 - 240 MB/s180 - 210 MB/s185 - 220 MB/s210 MB/s
Power-on hours per year (24x7)87602400
Workload180 TB/year55 TB/year
MTBF1 million hoursNot available
Load/unload cycles600,000600,00050,000
Non-recoverable Read Errors per Bits<1 in 10^15<1 in 10^14 / <1 in 10^15<1 in 10^14
Vibration sensor (RV)
Data Recovery3 years (Seagate Rescue Data Revovery)
Power Management & Noise
Average power consumption7.3 - 7.8 W4.8 - 10.1 W3.7 - 5.1 W5.3 W
Idle power consumption5.0 - 5.5 W3.4 - 7.8 W2.5 - 3.9 W4.6 W
Standby power consumption1.0 - 1.2 W0.25 - 1 W0.25 - 0.30 W0.94 W
Noise levels28-30 dB23 - 32 dBNot available
Warranty1M hours MTBF
3-year limited warranty
2 years limited warranty2 years limited warranty

Check Amazon

Check Amazon

Check Amazon

Check Amazon


While comparing these drives, we should be mindful that these are very different drives, created for very different applications, and have different price points for the same capacity.

Comparing real-life benchmarks of the Ironwolf 4TB vs. Barracuda 4TB, overall the IronWolf is much faster with an effective speed advantage of 30%.


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

Looking at the latest Backblaze data, we can see that Seagate’s realibility in general is a mixed bag. At lower capacities, they seem to be more reliable than other brands but at higher capacities they have higher failure rates.

BackBlaze Q1 2018 Lifetime Drive Stats - VueVille
Source: BackBlaze

Looking at the specs, the IronWolf has a much higher 27/7 operation workload of 180 TB/year vs the Barracuda’s 55 TB/year. So if your data requirements are within the Barracuda’s rating, you can use it instead of a NAS drive.

However be aware that the Barracuda doesn’t have rotational vibration sensors. Also worth noting is the similar Nonrecoverable Read Errors Rate of both drives.

Noise Levels

Seagate doesn’t say how loud the Barracuda’s get but as they are desktop hard drives you would expect them to be louder than the IronWolf drives.

VueVille Verdict

If you are looking for hard drives to use in a NAS, my advice is to stick with the NAS-specific models such as IronWolf. These have a much higher workload cycle and have features such as rotational vibration sensors to prolong the drive’s life. They also have a higher quality warranty if things do go wrong.

However if all you need is a desktop hard drive, the Seagate Barracuda will probably suffice. Just bear in mind that these drives are SMR from 2TB capacity and above. SMR technology renders these drives poor choices for heavy write applications. So if your application requires sustained write performance, go for CMR-based drives such as the IronWolf, IronWolf Pro, WD Red Plus or WD Red Pro.

Where to Buy

Seagate IronWolf NAS Drive
Seagate BarraCuda HDD
Daniel Ross

Daniel Ross

I am Daniel and VueVille is where I document my DIY smart home journey. I focus on 100% local-processing and local-storage because that’s the only way to secure my family’s safety and privacy. Oh and I don’t like monthly subscriptions!

  1. Thanks for the article. I have an additional question: I have 3x LaCie Porsche Design 8TB 3.5″. 2 of them failed within 2.5 years of use. Internally they have Barracudas. I am suspicious, that the failures could be based on the fact, that they ran on the same platform, that transmitted the vibration of the drives to the other drives. Do you have any information what happens with the drives, when they are worked under such conditions?

    • Yes as noted in the post, the Barracudas are desktop hard drives and are not designed for use in enclosures. That’s why they don’t have rotational vibration sensors which are required to detect and offset vibration.

      • Yes, but they (Barracudas) are sold as external USB drives. So far so good, but the problem occurs, when you have several of them on the same platform/desk and the platform is giving the vibration to the other drives.
        So, for people with the need of using several external disks, that point should be considered.
        I now addressed the problem by buying LaCie d2, they have Seagate Ironwolf Pro drives inside and I’m on the save side.

  2. What do you mean “enclosure not supported” for Barricuda? It’s a drive, what prevents you from putting it in an enclosure?

    • You can put it in an enclosure of course, physically there’s nothing stopping you from doing that. If you put more than 1 drive in a computer, you have multiple spinning disks that cause vibrations and unbalanced forces. Desktop hard drives like the Barracuda are not designed to counteract these vibrations. NAS-focused drives however are designed to withstand these unbalanced forces and hopefully last longer.

    Leave a reply