The need for more bulk storage isn't slowing down, and in fact continues to grow at an incredible rate. At one point, a 4TB hard drive seemed like it offered a ton of digital breathing room. Today, that's not so much the case. As we capture our photos and videos at higher resolutions (8K is right around the corner), many users will reach a point where they feel they simply can't have enough storage. And that's to say nothing of the insatiable appetite for storage in the enterprise and data center.
Earlier this year, HGST blew our minds when it began shipping its first 12TB hard drive, the Ultrastar He12. Now, the WD-owned HGST division is being followed up by WD itself, with the Gold 12TB hard drive, pictured below.
As the "Gold" name suggests, this hard drive series is considered one of the premier offerings by WD. It's destined for the enterprise, specified with 10X the workload rating of traditional desktop drives, and claimed to be the ultimate blend of power efficiency and performance. It may just be a 7,200 RPM HDD, but the 12TB Gold has got some surprises under its hood.
According to WD, this 12TB Gold drive is the fastest of the entire lineup, peaking at 255MB/s sustained read, versus a not-too-distant 249MB/s on the 10TB (for reference, that number is about 184MB/s on a 1TB drive). Latency numbers are not mentioned, but the 12TB drive matches the 10TB and 8TB in that it comes backed with 256MB of DRAM cache.
An easy-to-overlook fact about this new 12TB drive is that it's extremely power-efficient. In fact, it's the most power-efficient drive in the entire Gold line-up. The 10TB and 8TB models peak at 7.1W, while this new 12TB peaks at 7.0W. Also, consider the fact that WD's 6TB and 4TB models peak at 9.0W+. This matters most of course when you're looking to roll out dozens or hundreds of these drives in a rack.
As you'd expect with an enterprise offering, WD provides a 5-year warranty with its new Gold drives. Currently, the company is selling the new 12TB model on its own website for $521.99, a $110 premium over the 10TB model. The best stuff doesn't come cheap but that's still only about .043 per GiB.