- Large capacity at a low price
- High speed
- Suitable for a NAS server
- Noisy when operating
The HDD market is shrinking and this is mostly due to the fact that prices of SSDs are going down with every passing day. Nonetheless, HDDs still have some merits that should not be overlooked – they boast long life and low price. Their capacity is also important, considering the fact that file sizes have a tendency of growing and thus occupy more and more disk space.
SSD manufacturers such as Samsung now offer devices with capacities of 2TB (M.2 type) and even more but their prices surpass most people’s budgets who desire higher operational speeds. It is namely here that HDDs and RAID configurations, increasing the operational speed, come into play. We’ve received a Deskstar NAS by HGST (Hitachi) with 4TB of capacity and in the lines to follow you will find out all essentials about this model and whether there is any sense in having a RAID configuration these days.
In addition to the 3.5-inch device, the package also carries eight screws needed for the installation process, as well as an installation guide.
A closer look at Deskstar NAS 4TB
Like we said earlier, Deskstar NAS 4TB is a 3.5-incher with dimensions of 146mm x 101mm x 26.1mm. On its top, there is a sticker with the most important specifications and potential voiding of the warranty, in case we removed it.
This HDD operates at 7200 rpm, which makes it a great choice for NAS configurations namely because of its faster speed when compared to 5400 rpm models. Additionally, Deskstar NAS features the support of SATA III 6 Gb/s interface for greater bandwidth in data transferring.
As for the bottom of this bad boy, it is not different from the other models on the market. The PCB is attached to the body via seven screws, and the improvement over the previous Deskstar NAS models is the availability of larger cache memory in ours – 128MB.
Due to the fact that an HDD is a very good choice for NAS configurations and 24/7 operation, it features a mechanism for vibration reduction and thus longer product life. Of course, the model ships with 3 years of warranty.
NAS and RAID
Now that we’ve mentioned the words NAS and RAID a couple of times, it is time to understand the meaning of these abbreviations and whether they make sense.
NAS or Network Attached Storage is a server which allows you to store date and access them from a large number of devices. Of course, in order to configure a “home cloud”, you need more than one or two NAS HDDs. The most important component here is the NAS device itself, which stores the mounted in it HDDs. Depending on your needs, you can purchase a device with one, two or more slots, as well as a more powerful processor, if there will be many users accessing this device.
Another important aspect of NAS is RAID support. If you wish your HDDs to work in RAID0 but the device does not support this option, you would be disappointed. Of course, most users prefer RAID1, RAID5 or RAID6 when configuring a Network Attached Storage server and we shall see why this is so in the lines to follow.
Because it is network-based, higher internet speed will guarantee faster data transfer which is a key factor and if you are after 4K or Blu-ray video editing. After these requirements have been met, you only need to create a network accessible only to you, connect and configure NAS with it, and create a structure in which you will store various types of files – music, images, videos, etc.
Types of RAID
RAID, or Redundant Array of Independent Disks, is a technology that combines two or more HDDs into one for improved data safety, speed or both, depending on the number after the abbreviation.
We begin with RAID0 which we used for the tests in this review. This “mode” pairs the two Deskstar NAS 4TB, and makes them one. In order to create a RAID0, you need two or more identical hard disk drives, merging the available storage into one – in our case the logical disk that we named “RAID0” had nearly 7.3TB of available storage.
An important peculiarity when creating this type of Redundant Array of Independent Disks is that your read and write speeds increase (we confirm that in the tests below) and this is thanks to the two HDD controllers that work as one after their virtual pairing. Unfortunately, RAID0 has a drawback that may tip the scales for you. Because the consecutive segments are written on different disks, if one of them fails, the information would be lost and unable to be recovered. Namely for this reason we advise you to use RAID0 for speed improvement but not for storing important or critical information.
Those of you who are after safety in a NAS configuration with two disks should choose RAID1. The devices will work together, as in the case with RAID0, but the data is stored on both and the available storage is the one with lowest capacity. Because our models were the same, in “This PC” we saw only one HDD with 3.6TB of available storage, while the other one remained hidden. In this way, if one of the two devices fails, you can always replace it with a new one, and the data stored on the “healthy” disk will be written on the new disk without any losses. Also, the read and write speeds will not be increased as much as with RAID0, but they are still higher than those of a single HDD, and, like we said above, RAID1 has been created for safety.
RAID5 is the most common configuration for NAS servers. To create RAID5, however, you need at least 3 HDDs. This kind of configuration provides safety and speed when reading data. When creating RAID5, the data is distributed in the three (or more) disks. Despite this, the information for every two devices (in a random configuration) is stored in the third one. Thus, in case of a disk failure, the other two can restore the lost information. If you have three HDDs with a capacity of 4TB each, the total capacity of your virtual HDD will be 8TB. Of course, there are many other RAID modes such as 10 (1+0), RAID6, RAID51 and more – configure according to your needs.
Specs sheet of Deskstar NAS 4TB
|Serial number||HDN726040ALE614||Interface||SATA 6 Gb/s|
|Rotational speed||7 200 RPM||Cache||128 MB|
|Hard drive capacity||4 TB||Ambient temperature /environmental, non-operating/ (°C)||from -40 to 70|
|Ambient temperature /environmental, operating/ (°C)||from 5 to 60||Weight||690 grams|
|Power consumption at idle (W)||6.9|
|Form factor||3.5 inches|
Specs sheet of our configuration
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 1700X (8-core/ 16-thread, 3.40 – 3.80 GHz, 16MB cache)|
|Motherboard||ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4|
|RAM||Crucial 16GB (2x 8192 MB) – DDR4, 2133 Mhz|
|GPU||Palit GeForce GT 1030 (2GB GDDR5)|
|Case||be quiet! Silent Base 800|
|PSU||Raidmax Cobra Power RX1200AE-B|
|OS||Windows 10 64-bit|
In the next couple of lines we will learn how a standalone Deskstar NAS 4TB as well as a RAID0 mode cope in various benchmarks that we used – ATTO, DiskBench, CrystalDiskMark, HD Tune, and PCMark Vantage.
We begin with the synthetic benchmark CrystalDisk. The application allows us to see the speeds of Deskstar NAS 4TB in reading sequential and random sectors of the disk. The results of 200MB/s may not seem as impressive to many of you but we must repeat that this is an HDD, and comparing it to other models in the same price range, we can safely confirm that the HGST model is a very good choice.
The images below display the results from copying a 6GB file in various directories – we also engaged the available SSD, on which we’ve installed the OS, so as to get an idea of the difference between the two storage units. The results in the images are in the following order: copying a file from HDD to HDD in a different directory, from SSD to HDD, and from HDD to SSD.
RAID0 benchmark results
In the lines above we shared that we have two Deskstar NAS 4TB models and for this reason we decided to see if and to what extent the difference between reading and writing between one and two disks (in RAID0 configuration) is evident. We conducted absolutely the same tests, and in the table below you can see the results in the two modes, as well as the difference between them in %.
|Model||HDD към HDD||SSD към HDD||HDD към SSD||ATTO (512KB)||Crystal Mark (SeqQ32T1)||Crystal Mark (Seq)|
|Deskstar NAS 4TB||104.111MB/s||244.068MB/s||201.719MB/s||197863/194049||207.2MB/s / 207.5MB/s||207.2MB/s / 208.7MB/s|
|Deskstar NAS 4TB (RAID0)||199.784MB/s (+92%)||431.038MB/s (+77%)||389.250MB/s (+93%)||395727/387166||390.6MB/s (+89%) / 387.7MB/s (+87%)||388.8MB/s (+88%) / 386.5MB/s (+85%)|
HGST (Hitachi) has launched yet another high quality product once again, and it is offered at a very affordable price. Deskstar NAS 4TB features a speed of 7200 rpm and this sets it apart from the competition in this price range to a great extent. Considering the results from our read and write speeds tests, as well as the one with copying a 6GB file, we can conclude that the HGST device is a very good choice if you are after a hard disk drive with great capacity. Of course, the company offers models from the same lineup with capacities up to 10TB, again with 128MB cache and 7200 RPM speed.
Additionally, the vibration sensor is rarely to be found in this range and this is another merit of HGST Deskstar 4TB that sets it apart from other models in this market segment. Considering the fact that the device is meant for NAS systems, vibrations are a key factor for such a product’s life. According to the manufacturer, the HDDD can operate for more than 1 million hours before the occurrence of potential errors.
Unfortunately, nothing is perfect, and that’s the case with Deskstar NAS 4TB. We noticed that the HDD is not very quiet when working. We recommend that if you have a NAS server, be assured that it has good sound proofing or that it stays away from you. If you happen to mount the HDD in your desktop configuration, be sure to use “rubbers” that take care of the vibrations, causing the unpleasant sound in your case.