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Toshiba 4TB Enterprise Hard Drive (MG03ACA400)

Thanks to OWC for making the Toshiba Enterprise Class MG03ACA400 hard drive available for testing.

The Toshiba MG03ACA400 hard drive is an enterprise class 4TB hard drive with a five year warranty.

4.0TB Toshiba MG03ACA400 3.5" 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s Hard Drive w/ 64MB Cache. Enterprise Class with 24 x 7 operation, Error Correction (ECC), Rotational Vibration (RV) technology & 1.2 million hours MTBF. 5 Year Toshiba Warranty.

Description:

This new reliable nearline model features a top storage capacity of 4.0TB in a 3.5-inch form factor and leading-edge 6Gb/sec SATA interface. Intended for 24 x 7 operation, the MG03ACAxxx also includes features that are critical to business operations such as enhanced Error Correction Code (ECC), Anti Rotational Vibration (RV) technology for multi-drive systems, and enhanced power condition state technology.

The MG03ACAxxx provides a flexible and cost effective storage solution for enterprise applications including entry-level servers, storage arrays, RAID systems as well as private cloud storage.

Bigger is faster

A 4TB drive can be a good choice if the need is to store 2TB to 3TB of data: see Why You Need More Space Than You You Need and Larger Hard Drives Are Faster Than Smaller Ones, and see the performance tests below.

Testing protocol

Tested in the Mac Pro 3.33 GHz 6-core, internal SATA bus, using the DiskTester command line version as follows:

disktester fill-volume --xfer 16M volume-name

The DiskTester fill-volume command writes 1000 files to fill the volume to 99% capacity, then reads those 1000 files back while checking for data errors. The resulting data can be graphed to characterize the performance across the drive, as seen below.

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Single drive sustained transfer MB/sec

Sustained transfer speed is the metric most important for most users, and especially for opening large files in Photoshop and similar.

Write performance declines very consistently across the drive as it does with all hard drives; see Larger Hard Drives Are Faster Than Smaller Ones.

Reasons for the read performance drops at the beginning and end are unclear. Otherwise the drive provides consistent performance in a tight band when used as a single drive.

Four samples were tested and are graphed along with an average.
Click for a larger graph.

Sequential read/write performance of 4TB Toshiba MG03ACA400 hard drive (four samples)
MB/sec for 1000 files across the capacity (DiskTester fill-volume)

RAID-0 striping

Single-drive performance is in a tight band with a single drive, but with RAID-0 striping the drives were observed to produce a multi-part noise that corresponds to a write performance drop seen in the downward spikes (red). Reasons for this are unclear. Tests with both Apple’s Disk utility and SoftRAID 5 beta showed the same pattern, though the spikes were slightly deeper with SoftRAID 5. Still, the performance is at high levels.

Sequential read/write performance of 4TB Toshiba MG03ACA400 with RAID-0 striping
MB/sec (DiskTester fill-volume)

RAID-5 striping

Performance is in line with the results for RAID-0 striping, e.g., four drives in RAID-5 is similar to three drives in RAID-0.

Sequential read/write performance of 4TB Toshiba MG03ACA400 with RAID-5 (SoftRAID 5 beta)
MB/sec (DiskTester fill-volume)

RAID-1 mirror

A modest benefit is achieved on read speed with a RAID-1 mirror (the use all disks for mirror reads option in SoftRAID).

Sequential read/write performance of 4TB Toshiba MG03ACA400 with RAID-1 mirror (SoftRAID 5 beta)
MB/sec (DiskTester fill-volume)

Compared to 3TB DT01ACA300

Please see this page.

RAID- stripe X 2: 4TB Toshiba MG03ACA400 vs 3TB Toshiba DT01ACA300 (5.7TB volume)
MB/sec (DiskTester fill-volume)

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