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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  • nevcairiel - Sunday, September 10, 2017 - link

    .. and I just noticed the article actually gets this wrong. I checked on the Toshiba page to confirm.
  • Lolimaster - Monday, September 11, 2017 - link

    Without HAMR HDD's can't scale at all.
  • Alexvrb - Sunday, September 10, 2017 - link

    A) Backups. At least for data that isn't easily replaced.
    B) We're talking HDDs. Snail pace.
    C) I'd bet GPUs get replaced more often and even RAM probably gets upgraded about as often as storage, at least HDDs such as the one in the article.
    D) All the more reason to want 3+ year warranties
    E) I avoid brands that have crap warranties. Have been burned on both HDDs and GPUs.

    Unrelated to the HDD article, but Samsung should replace an 840 Pro with an 850 Pro. However, even IF they gave you an 850 Evo, that's still an upgrade over the 840 Pro... plus it would be a new drive at no cost. Much better than simply "Oh well that had a 1 year warranty because warranties for storage are irrelevant, so you're boned". WD's warranties in particular have come in handy with a few systems, including a personal Raptor (the replacement was a better model too).

    So yeah... I'd like at least 3 years warranty, even on storage. Warranties don't take the place of good product quality, but since we as consumers can't always predict the reliability of a given purchase, they give us a safety net and potentially save us some cash down the road.
  • peevee - Monday, September 11, 2017 - link

    Importantly, longer warranties give manufacturers motivation to test their designs better for longer wear to avoid being burned on warranty costs. A short warranty simply means even manufacturer itself thinks the products are going to fail en masse.
  • Alexvrb - Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - link

    Well, yes and no. In some cases you can extrapolate your expected failure rate as the drives age, and adjust warranty vs. pricing. For example let's say you have entry-level Aqua series and higher-perfomance Charcoal series drives, they have the same failure rates, but you want the premium drive to look even more appealing on paper. You can boost the warranty on the Charcoal and make sure retail pricing is adjusted accordingly to cover the anticipated increase in warranty claims.

    But in general yes it does give them incentive to at least ensure a certain minimum quality level.
  • FunBunny2 - Saturday, September 9, 2017 - link

    -- The new client drives rely on a platform that attaches the motor both to the top and to the bottom of the HDD

    can someone explain how that happens? sounds like the spindle has to be part of the motor; or, just the motor?
  • extide - Saturday, September 9, 2017 - link

    Basically just the shaft attaches to the top & bottom vs just the bottom.
  • Samus - Sunday, September 10, 2017 - link

    Yeah, its less stress on the bearing. As far as I know, all hitachi drives since the IBM Deskstar's have had a through shaft that attaches to the top cover of the drive.

    Generally, only NAS drives have this from other manufactures.
  • Mikuni - Sunday, September 10, 2017 - link

    $440 in Europe
  • MrSpadge - Monday, September 11, 2017 - link

    No, starting at 230€ + shipping:

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