Toshiba has started to sell a new, 8 TB version of its X300 3.5” desktop hard drive. The new X300 8 TB hard drive relies on a specially developed platform with enterprise features that promises to enable extended reliability and has two performance-optimizing technologies. However what is especially noteworthy is that the price of this 7200 rpm-class HDD is considerably lower than the price of competing 7200 rpm-class 8 TB PMR internal hard drives.

The Toshiba X300 family of hard drives now consists of 4 TB, 5 TB, 6 TB and 8 TB models that have 7200 RPM spindle speed and 128 MB cache. Toshiba is not disclosing the capacity of the platters that it uses for the 8 TB HDD, but only says that they feature perpendicular magnetic recording and thus the drive has predictable performance and behavior. Apart from increased capacities compared to Toshiba’s previous-gen P300-series (aka DT01ACA***) hard drives for desktops, the X300 lineup boasts higher performance and new features designed to improve the reliability of the HDDs.

When it comes to the performance of the 8 TB model in particular, the drive uses platters with a higher areal density than its predecessors, as well as a 128 MB cache (up from 64 MB on P300-series drives). While Toshiba is not confirming this, based on what we know about the X300 series the 8 TB model most likely uses six 1.33 TB PMR platters, as opposed to 1 TB PMR platters in the other models. Consequently the 8 TB model has a higher areal density than the other X300 drives, which means that its sequential read/write performance should also be higher. Furthermore, in a new feature that appears to be unique to the 8 TB model, the cache of the drive features a self-contained cache algorithm with on-board buffer management, which is said to improve the cache allocation of read and write operations to increase performance..

Toshiba is not disclosing exact performance figures for the 8 TB X300, but the company’s N300 8 TB HDD launched earlier this year and and is believed to be based on the same platters. Taking a look at that drive we find a maximum sustained transfer rate of around 240 MB/s, and we expect that the 8TB X300 is in the same ballpark.

Toshiba X300-Series HDDs
Capacity 8 TB 6 TB 5 TB 4 TB
RPM 7200 RPM
Interface SATA 6 Gbps
DRAM Cache 128 MB
(with performance enhancing algorithm)
128 MB
Average Latency 4.17 ms
MTBF 1 million hours (?)
Rated Annual Workload (read and write) 180 TB/year (?)
Warranty 2 years
Price $254.99 $189.99 $159.99 $132.99

Meanwhile the similarities between the 8 TB X300 and higher-end HDDs for NAS applications don’t end with just their performance. The new client drives rely on a platform that attaches the motor both to the top and to the bottom of the HDD to reduce system-induced vibrations, which improves the drive's reliability and tracking accuracy for higher performance. Back in the day, top and bottom attached spindles were only used on enterprise-class HDDs, but in the recent years higher-end desktop drives also inherited the feature, partly because they use the same physical platform (albeit, with different heads, set of sensors, firmware, etc.). In addition, the X300 drives have integrated shock sensors that help the HDD to protect platters against scratches and other negative effects of shocks.

Toshiba’s 8 TB X300 HDD is currently available from Newegg for $254.99. In fact, the price of the hard drive is one of its undisputable trumps because it is cheaper than any other 7200 rpm-class PMR hard drives of the same capacity. This includes not only task-specific drive categories such as enterprise, NAS, workstations, but also general desktop drives, which as of late have carried higher MSRPs. As a result, Toshiba has a chance to lure customers with a combination of high performance and reliability in a desktop drive with a relatively affordable price.

Brief Price Comparison of Consumer and NAS 8 TB PMR HDDs at Newegg
Red Pro

Capacity 8 TB
RPM 7200 RPM 5400 RPM
Interface SATA 6 Gbps  
DRAM Cache 128 MB with performance enhancing algorithm 128 MB 256 MB 128 MB
Rated Annual Workload (read and write) 180 TB 300 TB unknown
Warranty 2 years 5 years 2 years
Price Total $254.99 $279.99 $320.24 $329.99 $279.99 $230.01
per GB $0.0318 $0.035 $0.04 $0.0412 $0.035 $0.0287

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Source: Toshiba

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  • ddhelmet - Saturday, September 9, 2017 - link

    All I want is a cheap drive with warranty. $0.0318 is still too high for 8TB HDD.
  • Slaveguy - Saturday, September 9, 2017 - link

    Grow up.
  • wumpus - Monday, September 11, 2017 - link

    It's a desktop drive. It isn't like you need to be limited to one drive like most laptops. At $260, you could be comparing it to a RAID5 system (you would have had to have bought 3 hitachi 4T drives last week to beat it. Doesn't look like any such system today on pcpartpicker will match $260.

    This will certainly make sense in anything artificially constrained like NAS boxes or existing (especially government) contracts, and expect an inflated price for that. But don't buy it if you just want storage.
  • Samus - Saturday, September 9, 2017 - link

    I've always felt long warranties for storage mediums are irrelevant.

    A) They don't cover data loss.
    B) Storage devices lose value faster than any other component in a PC (except perhaps a GPU) due to their YoY improvements in technology and cost reduction.
    C) Many people replace storage mediums before other components anyway
    D) The average life of a PC platform is 3 years. However, I concede, the average warranty of an internal hard drive is 2 years.
    E) Most PC components have warranties between 1-3 years. Rarely are they longer.

    Occasionally you see ridiculous warranty periods from PSU and SSD manufactures (like Samsungs' 10 year warranty) but they are mostly gimmicks. The last time I used a warranty was on a PC Power & Cooling PSU which was 5 years old. They couldn't repair it (because OCZ shut down the Oceanside, CA facility shortly after their acquisition) and no longer had the same 750QUAD model in inventory so they replaced it with an EliteXtreme 800-watt unit, which is a piece of crap.

    Go ahead and mail Samsung a failed 840 PRO and you will likely get back an 850 EVO. At first that seems like an improvement, but on paper you are actually losing features and consistency. I don't even know if Samsung manufactures planar MLC anymore to be able to make an 840 PRO.
  • nevcairiel - Saturday, September 9, 2017 - link

    I don't think most of your points really apply that well to HDDs anymore. The tech is evolving extremely slowly and even capacity isn't going up that fast anymore, so I don't see a big YoY improvement. Closely linked to that, I would argue that as a result of that they tend to be in use for far longer then performance-critical components.
  • Slaveguy - Saturday, September 9, 2017 - link

    I don't think you earned the right to get of your knees to come up for air.
  • CookieBin - Sunday, September 10, 2017 - link

    I agree. Mechanical drives are no longer apart of the upgrade cycle because rarely are there any real breakthroughs. I also think this article is trash for not comparing HGST drives, which are my personal favorite. Having said all that, SSDs have been gradually increasing in price as NAND supply decreases... If I'm going to pay overpriced NAND prices, I'd rather buy a NVME drive instead. And while these prices are great on toshiba drives, the warranty makes it useless. Who buys a mass storage solution with a 2 year warranty? Most competitors are providing a 3 or 5 year warranty.
  • IndianaKrom - Sunday, September 10, 2017 - link

    Yeah, the reason I bought my last 2 hard drives wasn't because I was running out of capacity but because I had to replace failing drives, and both times the drives were only a few months out of warranty.

    Back when I was actually upgrading drives regularly, I was upgrading to 200-400% the capacity for around $100-120 every 2 years, today you're lucky if you can add 20% capacity for twice that price in 3-4 years. The useful service life of drives is just way longer now, so they need to hold up mechanically and a 2 year warranty doesn't inspire confidence.
  • Alexvrb - Sunday, September 10, 2017 - link

    HGST is WD.
  • nevcairiel - Sunday, September 10, 2017 - link

    At least the Toshiba N300 have a 3 year warranty, which is the drive-type I would be more inclined to get for media storage.

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