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
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  • jabber - Thursday, November 16, 2017 - link

    I would also say only fools tie themselves down with multi TB amounts of personal data. Data is a millstone round your neck.
  • bigboxes - Friday, November 17, 2017 - link

    RAID was not invented to protect your data. It's for uptime. You can live without RAID. Backup is essential for anything you value. RAID is not backup.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • GreenReaper - Sunday, September 2, 2018 - link

    If you really just need four bays, grab a HP MicroServer Gen 8. (I wouldn't recommend the Gen 10.)

    It's an actual miniature server (with iLO!), not just a NAS - but you can turn it into a NAS if you like.
  • 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.

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