Data storage requirements have seen an exponential increase over the last several years. Both cloud and local storage requirements continue to be served by hard drives where workloads are either largely sequential or not performance sensitive. While the advancements in storage capacity have primarily served the interests of datacenters (enabling more storage capacity per rack), the products have trickled down to consumers in the form of drives for NAS (network-attached storage) units and pre-installed in external / DAS (direct-attached storage) enclosures. Seagate is the only one of the three hard drive vendors to target the desktop storage market with their highest capacity drives. We looked at the 10TB BarraCuda Pro drive last year, and the 12TB follow-up was launched last month.


The Seagate BarraCuda Pro 12TB is a 7200RPM SATAIII (6 Gbps) hard drive with a 256MB multi-segmented DRAM cache. It features eight PMR platters with a 923 Gb/in2 areal density in a sealed enclosure filled with helium. According to Seagate, it typically draws around 7.8W, making it one of the most power efficient high-capacity 3.5" hard drives in the market. It targets creative professionals with high-performance desktops, home servers and/or direct-attached storage units. It is meant for 24x7 usage (unlike traditional desktop-class hard drives) and carries a workload rating of 300TB/year, backed by a 5-year warranty. It also comes with a bundled data-recovery service (available for 2 years from date of purchase). The various aspects of the drive are summarized in the table below.

Seagate BarraCuda Pro 12TB Specifications
Model Number ST12000DM0007
Interface SATA 6 Gbps
Sector Size / AF 4096
Rotational Speed 7200 RPM
Cache 256 MB (Multi-segmented)
Rated Load / Unload Cycles 300 K
Non-Recoverable Read Errors / Bits Read < 1 in 1015
MTBF 1M hours
Rated Workload ~ 300 TB/yr
Operating Temperature Range 0 to 60 C
Physical Parameters 14.7 x 10.19 x 2.61 cm; 705 g
Warranty 5 years
Street Price (in USD, as-on-date) $500

Note that the weight has increased compared to the 10TB drive introduced last year. While the 10TB version had seven platters, the 12TB one bumps it up to eight.

A high-level overview of the various supported SATA features is provided by HD Tune Pro, and shows support for common mechanical features such as NCQ.

The main focus of our evaluation is the performance of the HDD as an internal disk drive in a PC. The other suggested use-case for the BarraCuda Pro is in direct-attached storage devices. The evaluation in these two modes was done with the help of our direct-attached storage testbed.

The internal drive scenario was tested by connecting the drive to one of the SATA ports off the PCH, while the Akitio Thunder3 Duo Pro was used for evaluating the performance in a DAS. The Thunder3 Duo Pro was connected to one of our testbed's Thunderbolt 3 Type-C port. The controller itself connects to the Z170 PCH via a PCIe 3.0 x4 link.

AnandTech DAS Testbed Configuration
Motherboard GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 TH ATX
CPU Intel Core i5-6600K
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws 4 F4-2133C15-8GRR
32 GB ( 4x 8GB)
DDR4-2133 @ 15-15-15-35
OS Drive Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 NVMe 256 GB
SATA Devices Corsair Neutron XT SSD 480 GB
Intel SSD 730 Series 480 GB
Add-on Card None
Chassis Cooler Master HAF XB EVO
PSU Cooler Master V750 750 W
OS Windows 10 Pro x64
Thanks to Cooler Master, GIGABYTE, G.Skill and Intel for the build components

The full details of the reasoning behind choosing the above build components can be found here.


Performance - Internal Storage Mode


View All Comments

  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    I find it amusing that people are STILL saying this. When drives hit 500GB, 1TB, you name it, the same comment. Over, and over.

    You have a backup. Always have a backup.
  • blackcrayon - Thursday, November 16, 2017 - link

    Exactly. Just double the price of every one of these drives in your head. You need two for backup. Reply
  • jordanclock - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    Then don't buy just one. Or have a backup pool of 12+TB.

    This isn't even a valid talking point. It's just a contrarian interjection.
  • wumpus - Thursday, November 16, 2017 - link

    Which is the whole problem of a 12TB drive with a low TB/$ value. Buy arrays of 3TB drives when you need that type of storage. It isn't a notebook drive, there is no reason to limit the number of drives you are using.

    Obviously once the number of drives get unwieldy, you will look into 12TB drives. But you will also be looking into tape at those sizes.
  • Beaver M. - Sunday, November 19, 2017 - link

    At least for a NAS you will have to buy a 4+ bay one, which is so expensive that you will pay pretty much the same as for just a 2-bay system and 2 12 TB ones but wont have higher chance of failure. Reply
  • zanon - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    Seriously, since when has mere data size had much if any relation to data value? All of our business (and my personal) financial, tax and investment data is under 10 gigs for example, but losing it would be far worse then a terabyte of data that could (albeit with a lot of time cost) be regenerated. Of course, even that time cost would translate to a lot of lost money and pain, which is why we have backups and also redundancy (since in general it's preferable to not even suffer any downtime).

    The only major effect of larger drives when it comes to data is that of course they take longer to resilver (this one might be 10-12 hours at 80% capacity), and thus depending on someone's willingness/ability/time cost to deal with downtime in case of multiple failures they may want to switch up their RAID systems to have a higher level of redundancy. That's just an economic decision though and doesn't negate the need for backups as well, preferably offsite.
  • wumpus - Thursday, November 16, 2017 - link

    Backing up 10G should give you plenty of options, and I'd recommend a belt and suspenders approach. Probably just multiple encrypted USB sticks and online storage (make sure they don't object to you pre-encrypting the data before sending it to them, most companies like that assume that they will take unencrypted data for de-duping purposes. This data obviously shouldn't be on servers unencrypted).

    Just make sure you have some means (presumably SHA256 based) of verifying your USB sticks.
  • rtho782 - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    I'd rather loose a 12TB Plex Library than a 100kB bitcoin wallet with 10 bitcoins in.

    The size of the data isn't really relevant.
  • BurntMyBacon - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    @Glock24: "Who wants to lose 12TB of data? Yeah, not me."

    You will only loose as much data as you have stored on the drive. If you only have 3TB data, then it doesn't matter whether it's a 12TB drive or a 6TB drive (assuming the same failure rate). If you do have 12TB of data, then you'll need several smaller drives to hold that data (2x6TB, 3x4TB, etc.). That presents a trade-off for data protection. While a single catastrophic (total) drive failure won't take all your data with it, you've massively increased the probability of a catastrophic drive failure taking place. Then there's the fact that not all your data is of equal value. If Murphy has anything to say about it, it will be your most valuable data that gets lost. So all going with smaller really does is reduce the severity of a data loss (due to total drive failure) at the expense of increasing the certainty of data loss (and that data possibly being your most valuable data).

    So, as kingpotnoodle said, have a backup plan in place. Redundancy via RAID1 (or other RAID not 0) is good practice for data protection. Also, if you are so inclined, you can use a file system that has built in redundancy features (I.E. ZFS) and store two or more copies of files on different parts of the drive. This would reduce the amount of data able to be stored on the drive, but significantly increase data resilience from failures that aren't total drive failures. It also makes data recovery more likely in the case of total drive failure.

    In short, a 12TB drive can be both less likely to loose data and have no more data to lose than a 4TB drive if you set it up that way (ZFS or similar with triple redundancy at the file system level). Of course, this comes at the expense of cash, just like any other data redundancy solution (I.E. RAID1), so choose your methods wisely.
  • Arbie - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    I suppose it can be sussed out of the performance data, but... can you please say if this drive is shingle technology or not? With any Seagate drive that's one of my first questions, and they seem to have stopped identifying it in the literature. Reply

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