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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  • Glock24 - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    Who wants to lose 12TB of data? Yeah, not me.
  • kingpotnoodle - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    That is why RAID was invented and backup should be routine.

    Only a fool stores their important data without disk redundancy and/or backup, whether they have 12KB or 12TB of it. Doesn't matter how much important data you have, if you don't want to lose it then don't entrust it to a single drive.
  • tipoo - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    Storage getting cheaper = backup getting cheaper. This has been true always.
  • imaheadcase - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    You be surprised how much data you DON'T need.
  • PeachNCream - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    Yeah from someone thats had a hard drive with pretty much my entire life saved on it (and without a current backup *sniff*) I can say there's a lot of data you can live without. Well all of it, but it is a pain to lose things.
  • MobiusPizza - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    Yeah, that's why I have 4 RAID 5 drives plus cloud backup for my terabytes of porn, I meant important data
  • GreenReaper - Sunday, September 2, 2018 - link

    Funny - I run a porn site on 4 2TB RAID-5 drives. And another four in a mostly-live backup. And another 4TB one off-site. (Plus all the caches.)

    Thankfully most of it is pictures, not video, or they'd need to be 12 12TB drives - or maybe a cluster.
  • GreenReaper - Sunday, September 2, 2018 - link

    Also: disks really do die. We've had four or five go over eight years - thankfully, none at once. You'd better be sure you have a backup - even at +200MBps you're talking 16 hours to rebuild 12TB, assuming *no* other I/O, and let's be honest: if you didn't have I/O you probably wouldn't need RAID. Realistically, it's likely to take a day; with heavy I/O, maybe a week. Consider using only up to about the first 2/3 and migrating to a 24TB drive array (once they exist).
  • fzzzt - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    This is why backups are used. RAID is not a replacement for a backup.
  • Lord of the Bored - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    A fool and his data are soon parted, as it were.

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