Seagate Ironwolf vs. Barracuda – Hard Drives Compared

One of the common hard drive comparison requests I get is for the Seagate Ironwolf vs. the Seagate Barracuda.

This is 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.

Seagate Ironwolf vs Barracuda Hard Drives Compared - VueVille

Seagate Ironwolf NAS drive vs. Barracuda Internal Hard Drive Comparison

Seagate IronWolf (6-12 TB)Seagate IronWolf (4 TB)Barracuda (3-12 TB)Barracuda (500GB - 2TB)
24/7 operation
Spindle speed 7200 rpm 5900 rpm 5400 rpm 5400 rpm / 7200 rpm
Max sustained data transfer rate 210 MB/s 180 MB/s 190 MB/s 210 MB/s
Cache 256 MB 64 MB 256 MB 64 MB
RAID support All configurations All configurations All configurations All configurations
Enclosure 1-8 bay 1-8 bay Not supported Not supported
Workload 180 TB/year 180 TB/year 55 TB/year 55 TB/year
MTBF 1 million hours 1 million hours Not available Not available
Non-recoverable Read Errors per Bits <1 in 10^15 <1 in 10^14 <1 in 10^15 <1 in 10^14
Load/unload cycles 600,000 600,000 600,000 300,000
Power-on hours per year (24x7) 8760 8760 2400 2400
Vibration sensor
Average power consumption 7.8 - 8.8 W 4.8 W 5.7 - 8.8 W 5.3 W
Idle power consumption 5.0 - 7.6 W 3.95 W 2.5 - 5.4 W 2.5 - 5.4 W
Standby power consumption 0.6 - 0.8 W 0.5 W 0.25 - 0.75 W 0.25 - 0.94 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 2 years limited warranty 2 years limited warranty
Price

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Performance

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%.

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Reliability

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.

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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.

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Wrap-up

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.

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Where to buy

Seagate IronWolf 8TB NAS Drive (ST8000VN0022)

Seagate BarraCuda 4TB HDD (ST4000DM004)

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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!

5 Comments
  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.

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