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High capacity hard drive round-up (5TB+6TB)

Psst Mister, fancy buying a 5TB or 6TB hard drive? Going cheap? Well, cheapish anyway. In a perfect world it would be simple to sort out storage for your new PC or laptop by installing a 4TB Samsung 890 SSD at a cost of £99, and once they develop such a drive I shall be sure to buy one myself.

Right now any self-respecting tech enthusiast is booting off a relatively expensive SSD with a hefty hard drive for their movies and other files. Hard drives may sound like yesterday’s technology but you can buy a colossal amount of storage for very little money. For example a 3TB Seagate Barracuda 7,200rpm desktop drive currently costs £75 inc VAT which is cheap enough to make a MacBook Air owner spit tacks.

There are times it seems the industry has rationed storage just to make our lives difficult and expensive. Laptop users are usually limited to a single drive bay while thin and light laptop owners are hampered by fixed flash storage.

These days we all own a smartphone and also wish we had an SD card slot but are instead limited to 16GB or 32GB of flash memory. Did you know you can buy a 64GB Class 10 SanDisk MicroSD card for £30?

The IT industry – that’s Amazon, Apple, Dropbox, Google, HP, Microsoft, Mozy and a thousand other companies – are keen to charge you for cloud storage. There’s no denying the Cloud is convenient, provided you have superb Wi-Fi or a brilliant mobile data tariff, but it is expensive. For example Dropbox will charge you £399 a year for 500GB of storage.

That’s a lot of money to store a few Blu-ray rips. In fact it makes better sense to store your files on your own NAS where they are safe from the prying eyes of Amazon, Google and the NSA, which means you’re going to need a hefty hard drive or two. Or three or four.

Up to the end of 2013 the largest drive you could economically buy was 4TB in size and 3TB rapidly established itself as the best value and most popular capacity.

We know that 8TB development drives are in circulation but right now the largest drives on the market are 5TB and 6TB in capacity.

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We have three drives lined up here; the 6TB Seagate Enterprise v4 costs £430, the 5TB Toshiba Nearline Enterprise costs £270 and the 6TB Western Digital Red £210 – so that is a total of 17TB of storage for £900.

System Seagate Enterprise v4 6TB Toshiba Nearline Enterprise 5TB
Western Digital Red 6TB
Model Code ST6000NM0024 MC04ACA500E WD60EFRX
Capacity 6TB 5TB 6TB
Firmware SN02 FP1A NASware 3.0
Price £420 £270 £210
Type Of Drive 3.5 inch SATA 3.5 inch SATA 3.5 inch SATA
Formatting 512E 512E 512E
Sustained data transfer speed 216MB/sec 205MB/sec 175MB/sec
Formatted Capacity 5.59TB 4.66TB 5.59TB
Cost Per GB 7.5p 5.8p 3.8p
Rotational speed 7,200 rpm 7,200 rpm Intellipower – 5,700 rpm
Drive configuration six platters/twelve heads Five platters/ten heads Five platters/ten heads
Platter density 1TB 1TB 1.2TB
Cache 128MB 128MB 64MB
Interface Sata 6Gbps Sata 6Gbps Sata 6Gbps
Other capacities 2TB, 4TB, 5TB 2TB, 3TB, 4TB 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 5TB
Utilities Seatools 1.2
Instant Secure Erase
Warranty Five Years Five Years Three Years

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