Hard drive… Wait! Don’t go away just yet! I know a hard drive sounds like some outdated piece of tech from the dark ages of computers, but you may just want or need one in your pc. In this review I’ll tell you about the Toshiba X300 hard drive. I’ve tested the 10 TB version.
Even if hard drives may have been around for ages they still have one thing going for them: price per MB storage. Yes, SSD is the future but right now if you want one with a lot of storage (and if you are reading this on my photography blog you may need a lot of storage space) you’ll pay a hefty price. At the time I’m writing this the cheapest 2 TB SSD drive I could find will still cost you 220 euros. That translates to a price of 11 cents per gigabyte. The Toshiba X300 I’m testing here has 10 TB of storage space and will cost you 290 euros, so that is about 3 cents per gigabyte. Quite the difference, isn’t it? If you are looking for an even lower price per gigabyte you may want to check out the 5, 6 or 8 TB versions of the X300. At about 28 cents per gigabyte they are even cheaper. For people looking for more space there are also 12 and 14 TB versions of the X300, but they are a little more expensive per gigabyte, so at the moment you may be better off buying two smaller ones.
Toshiba X300 series
The Toshiba X300 is Toshiba’s performance desktop drive. They are built for speed and reliability and offer a 7200 rpm rotation speed and 128 or 256 MB buffers. The 10 TB version comes with the bigger buffer, the smaller versions have to get around with 128 MB buffers. Toshiba promotes the X300 series as a hard drive for professionals and gamers for use in high(er) end systems. This does seem to be a perfect fit for the photo- or video enthusiast looking for some serious storage space. The drive comes fitted with a internal shock sensor and a design that keeps the drive slider away from the platters when not in use making sure your data is safe during transport.
Besides the X300 Toshiba also has the N300 series for NAS users and the basic P300 for people that are looking for a cheaper basic hard drive. All drives use a 6 GB/s SATA connection.
Power and noise
When you haven’t had a proper hard drive in your pc or laptop for years you may be surprised to hear some familiar noises coming from your pc when you are using it. Yes, these hard drives do make some sound, but they are a lot quieter than your classic hard drive. When idle I can’t hear the drive over my quiet fans at all. When reading and writing you hear a muffled ‘scrunching’ sound, that does resemble a small rodent eating a carrot inside your pc. The sound doesn’t bother me at all, but it is there when the drive is in use. Toshiba has sealed the 12 and 14 TB versions of the drive and has filled those with helium, that makes them even quieter. The 10 TB and lower versions don’t have the helium filling.
When it comes to power usages and temperatures you can rest assured that these drives are as efficient as you can expect from a modern hard drive. The drive doesn’t get hot at all, even when pushing it to its limits in benchmarks it barely got warm. I was trying to figure out what the typical power usage of this drive is, but I couldn’t find any information about that on the Toshiba website. I did find the Toshiba datasheet, but that isn’t really helpful. Though I do now know that one hard drive and box weighs 980 grams and Toshiba manages to cram 600 drives on to one pallet. So if you where thinking about starting your own datacentre you may want to check the Toshiba website.
I did find some more information about power use on the internet stating a typical idle power usage of 6 watt and 12-13 watt when in use. I don’t think your power supply will have any problem with that.
When it comes to performance SSD’s are still king of the hill. Even a slower modern SSD will provide fast reading and especially fast seek times that will outperform any hard drive. And while no hard drive will be able to compete with an SSD drive when it comes to seek times or reading / writing small files they do have one trick up their sleeves. A big hard drive is very fast in reading or writing big files, like RAW photos or video files.
In the screenshot below you can see the results of the AS SSD test I’ve ran on the X300. When reading or writing big files the drives scores a very respectable 200+ MB per second. That is of course no where near aa fast as a Samsung 970 PRO or comparable NVME SSD drive, but isn’t far off the performance you can expect from a basic SATA SSD. For reference, my WD Blue M2 SSD (that uses a SATA interface) goes up to about 525 MB/s reading and 325 MB/s write speed.
In my day to day test I’ve copied 70 GB of photos and videos (about 3000 files) to the drive from my SSD. In that test the X300 showed some satisfying stable performance writing the images at about 155-175 MB/s. When writing some of the bigger video files the speed would go up to about 225 MB/s.
If you are looking for quite some storage space for your files a classic hard drive is still the cheapest option. Whiles hard drives may not provide the blazing speeds a SSD can give you, a modern hard drive still offers stable and perfectly usable results. If you have the option I’d use a SSD for booting and OS and use a classic hard drive for storing files. When you are looking at a new hard drive the Toshiba X300 series deserves your attention. With a wide range of sizes from 4 up to 14 TB I’m sure there is a drive that fits your needs. Performance is solid, power usage is low and noise is minimal.
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