There’s no shortage of NAS hard drives in the market today (I’m partial to IronWolf drives), but the downside is that they tend to be costly. Even accounting for Black Friday deals, a 12TB Seagate IronWolf costs $270 — that comes out to $22.5/TB.
If you’re in the market for maximizing value, there’s another way. WD introduced the 18TB Elements external drive last year for $515, and right now, it’s on sale for $300, making it a fabulous choice. That comes out to $16/TB, and while there is an external housing to contend with, that’s easy enough to remove, and inside you’ll find a white-label drive that’s on par with the IronWolf and WD’s Red Plus series. You’ll need to use the code BFFRDY47 to get the deal.
The drive contained within is similar to Western Digital’s data center-focused Ultrastar series. In fact, the 18TB model is identical to the Ultrastar HC550 that retails for $369, featuring a helium-sealed design with 7200rpm, and a 512MB cache buffer. In short, these drives are just as good — if not better — than the ones you’ll find targeted at NAS enclosures, and the fact that you can get an 18TB variant for $300 is incredible.
Now, there are a few downsides with going this route. WD will not honor warranty for drives that have been removed from their housing, so if that is something that matters to you, then you’ll have to pick up the IronWolf or Red Plus drives. And if you’re looking for NAS enclosures that’ll hold these drives, take a look at the best Black Friday NAS deals.
I bought a few 12TB drives two years ago and slotted them in my NAS, and they’ve been just as reliable as the 14TB IronWolf drives I already had in the same enclosure. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on two of these 18TB drives (I always seem to run out of storage), and if you’re looking for affordable NAS drives, you should do the same.
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