When looking for hard drives to install in the ASUSTOR AS5304T NAS, there are plenty of options available. We've rounded up some of our favorites, including the more affordable NAS drives, professional variants, and more pricey solid-state drives (SSD).
Seagate IronWolf is a line of hard drives specifically designed for NAS use. These hard drives are similar to the Red series from Western Digital in many ways, including price, advanced NAS-specific features like Agile Array, and support for servers with up to eight bays. Comes in 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, 10TB, and 12TB capacities. 6TB and up rock faster 7200RPM motors.
Western Digital Red
Much like Seagate, Western Digital too has a hard drive family specifically designed for NAS use. The Red series can be deployed in servers with up to eight bays. They're backed by a three-year warranty, though these drives are ever-so-slightly slower than Seagate IronWolf due to the slower spinning disks at 5400RPM throughout the range. Capacities include 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, 10TB, 12TB, and 14TB.
HGST Deskstar NAS
HGST is actually a subsidiary of Western Digital, and as such, you'll enjoy similar performance, reliability, and customer service. While these drives may appear to be more expensive than Seagate and Western Digital counterparts, you'll be able to enjoy slightly enhanced transfer rates with the Deskstar, as well as the usual NAS features like vibration shielding.
Seagate IronWolf Pro
For The Pros
The IronWolf Pro series from Seagate are super fast, rocking 7200RPM motors throughout the range, allowing for up to 250MB/s of sustained data transfer. They also come with extended five-year warranties and a 300TB per year workload limit. If your NAS takes a serious pounding daily, you may want one of these, especially as the drives support up to 24 bays. 2TB, 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, 10TB, 12TB, 14TB, and 16TB capacities are available.
Western Digital Red Pro
Just like Seagate has an IronWolf Pro series, Western Digital created the Red Pro, which sports more advanced NAS drives with support for up to 24 bays. There's also a similar five-year warranty and even some handy error recovery controls. The range features capacities including 2TB, 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, 10TB, 12TB, and 14TB.
Seagate IronWolf SSD
SSDs remain more expensive than hard drives for desktops and the same goes for NAS servers. The IronWolf NAS SSD range takes what makes the HDD counterparts so good and cranks everything up a notch. Capacities range between 240GB and 4TB, but all drives come with a 560MB/s sustained transfer rate with zero noise and vibrations. You also get a five-year warranty.
Western Digital Red SSD
Because one company can't do anything without the other following suit, Western Digital also has an SSD equivalent in the form of the Red SSD. The same advantages are present here over HDDs, including a substantial bump in transfer rates, no noise or vibrations, and a five-year warranty. Capacities range between 500MB and 4TB.
What should you look for?
If you want hard drives for your NAS, you need to consider a few factors. More importantly is the motor speed, which should be 7200RPM if possible. 64MB of cache is also a good thing to have. While slower drives aren't necessarily bad for NAS servers, you may hit a ceiling if multiple accounts attempt to access large files, reducing transfer speeds.
There are a lot of similarities between Western Digital and Seagate, two of the largest companies in this space. Hard drives and SSDs will perform well, regardless of branding. If you want the most affordable drives, Seagate IronWolf and Western Digital Red are the way to go. If you have a NAS with more than eight bays, you'll want the Pro series. SSDs are good for those with deep pockets and a need for rapid transfers. Choose your desired capacity and you're good to go.
We've used the Seagate IronWolf for years without fault and find the drives to be well priced to boot. The same can be said about the Western Digital Red, which are almost identical to Seagate counterparts. If you want to expand on your NAS storage, you'll want to aim big with the more pricey Seagate IronWolf Pro and Western Digital Red Pro.
Rich Edmonds is a word conjurer at Windows Central, covering everything related to Windows, gaming, and hardware. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a device chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.
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