The Seagate IronWolf 110 is a standard SATA solid-state drive (SSD), yet it’s quite different from all other SSDs I’ve used. It’s the first SSD explicitly designed for network-attached storage (NAS) servers. Since servers generally work 24/7, the new SSD’s biggest trick its longevity. It’s an enterprise-grade SSD with extremely high endurance — the amount of data you can write to it before you can’t anymore.
In return, the drive is not the most affordable among consumer-grade SSDs, costing between 23 cents and 33 cents per gigabyte, across its five capacities of 240GB, 480GB, 960GB, 1.92TB, and 3.84TB. So, it’s not for everyone. But if you want to get the most out of your NAS server, the new Seagate IronWolf 110 is worth the investment.
Seagate IronWolf 110: Standard design, high endurance
The IronWolf 110 looks like a typical SATA SSD; it’s a 2.5-inch standard internal drive that’s 7mm thick. It will fit in any application where a regular hard disk resides. You do need a 2.5-inch to 3.5-inch converter or a caddy to install it in a regular NAS server, like the Synology DS1019+.
On the inside, the IronWolf 110 has exceptionally high endurance. On average, for each gigabyte, you can write more than 1.8TB to it. So, for example, if you use the 480GB version, you can write up to 875TB to the drive before it becomes unreliable. To put it in perspective, if you write 100GB of data to it per day and every day, you’ll need 25 years to wear out the drive.
This type of endurance is an entirely new class compared to other standard SSDs I’ve reviewed. Take the venerable Samsung 860 Evo, for example; its 500GB version can only handle 300TB, almost three times less than the 480GB version of the IronWolf 110.
Seagate IronWolf 110’s specifications
The IronWolf 110 SSD owes its endurance to Seagate’s DuraWrite technology. It’s a lossless data reduction technique that compresses data as it passes through the drive’s Seagate home-grown SSD controller. DuraWrite is unique to Seagate SSDs. It reduces the amount of data written to (and stored on) the flash memory and therefore increases the memory cells’ longevity. On top of that, DuraWrite also cuts down the SSD’s power consumption. For specific numbers, check out the charts below.
Seagate IronWolf 110: Fast performance
I wanted to test out the IronWolf 110’s endurance, but unfortunately, I ran out of time. So, you’ll have to take Seagate’s word for it — the company does offer a solid 5-year warranty which includes two years of Data Recovery Services. If something happens in those two years, Seagate will put forth the effort to get your data back for you.
But I was able to test the Ironwolf 110’s performance, and the drive proved to be a formidable contender. In the sequential (copy) test, the SSD had sustained speeds of some 410 MB/s and 525 MB/s for writing and reading, respectively. Most impressively, when doing both at the same time, it now still averaged almost 250 MB/s.
In the random access tests, the new NAS SSD also did well, especially in writing.
Since this is a NAS-specific SSD, I tried a couple of units with a few Synology NAS servers, and they made a huge difference, even when used as cache. The server’s overall performance improved a great deal. When used as the primary storage, the SSDs almost doubled the speed of my aging DS411slim. They also turned the NAS server into a completely silent machine.
By the way, the SSD ran a bit hot in my testing, during a lengthy operation. The drive wasn’t hot enough to cook an egg on it, but you might not want to rest your finger on the surface for longer than a few seconds. During my full week of testing it, though, the drive never got hot enough to cause serious concerns.
It’s important to note that the IronWolf 110 doesn’t work exclusively with NAS servers. You can use it with any computer with a SATA connection, just like any other SSDs. So, if you need a lasting SSD for heavy tasks, like 4K video editing, consider this drive as you scratch disk. You won’t be disappointed.
Hard drives made for NAS servers — like the Seagate IronWolf or the WD RED — are generally known as long-lasting but slow-performing storage devices. The Seagate IronWolf 110 SSD bucks that trend. This little drive is one that delivers top longevity yet manages to be one of the fastest standard SATA SSDs on the market.
While a NAS server’s copy speed generally caps at that of a Gigabit connection, there’s more to a server these days than throughput performance. Having SSDs as cache, or better yet as primary storage, means better application performance, including when running virtual machines or other heavy tasks.
That said, if you’re really into network-attached storage, the Seagate IronWolf 110 SSD is an easy recommendation. And even if you’re not, the fact it works with any computer still makes it quite a safe choice.