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Best High-Capacity Internal Hard Drives of 2022

As the time of this writing, going into April 2022 brings not only the 2nd quarter but also spring. It’s still early in the year but many new technologies when it comes to mechanical storage are arising. On the market now and readily available are the newest 20TB hard drives. Western Digital has their lineup with a new technology called OptiNAND, which is an extension of multi-segmented caching with respectable latencies. When 10TB and 12TB hard drives were in their prime, 256MB of cache was a nice addition relative to the capacities. However, with the hallmark of 16TB and 18TB drives now, a 256MB buffer is really pushing the extent of capacity to the amount of cache. This is especially true when it comes to the recent 20TB additions.


Best Highest-Capacity

20TB WD Gold SATA HDD - WD201KRYZ $559.99

The WD Gold lineup has much in common with the Ultrastar DC series of drives. Although, when it comes to SATA options, the Gold series has the best binned drives and the premium speaks for itself. For 20TB of raw data storage capacity, the Gold series will offer consistent and fast transfers, reliability, all the bells and whistles.


Best Performance

18TB WD HGST Ultrastar DC HC550 Data Center HDD - WUH721818ALE6L4 $349.99

When it comes to performance, the Ultrastar DC HC550 series is where it’s at. The SATA options are comparable to the Western Digital Golds, in terms of power usage, amount of cache, read/write speeds. However, if you need bandwidth, the Ultrastars have many SAS interface options available that allow 12Gbit/s which comes handy if you have many drives all sharing an HBA card. Even with the SATA option, these drives have sustained transfer rates of 269MB/s, compare that to a consumer drive that bursts to 6Gb/s then drops off to a standstill. The cache buffer on this drive is also 512MB and relies more on DRAM based technology.


Best Value

16TB Seagate Exos X16 Enterprise HDD - ST16000NM001G $231.99

For an optimal $/TB, great transfer speeds, high storage density, and lower power usage, looks no further than the Exos 16TB. Although a recertified option, the value is in turn highlighted for the end user with nearly a whopping $14 per TB value. This 16TB is based off one of the most popular options for 16TBs on the market currently, and for good reason. Despite a 256MB cache, this drive has 261MB/s of sustained transfers, and the latest helium-weld design for less leaks.



Best Budget

10TB WD HGST Ultrastar DC HC510 HDD - HUH721010ALE604 $139.99

Not too long ago, the price for this 10TB would be attune to a 6TB option from a few years ago. This 10TB option offers a respectable capacity along with mainstream speeds often expected of drives these days of 249MB/s. This drive has CMR storage technology and if it’s not filled to the brim, it’d run extremely well in comparison to the 6TB previously mentioned which would typically be SMR. SMR drives write much slower and not to mention the 6TB would have much slower reads on top of that. In a standard NAS, or say an 8-bay DAS enclosure, a 10TB drive still offers enough capacity for most people and is a great budget option for most builds.



Let’s pretend you have a 4-bay NAS or even a 4-bay LFF server and ran it in RAID 5. Here’s a highlight of what the system would look like:


High Capacity: 4x 20TB Gold

$2240 for ~55,879 GB of usable capacity with ~807MB/s reads


Performance Capacity: 4x 18TB Ultrastar

$1400 for ~50,291 GB of usable capacity with ~807MB/s reads


Value Capacity: 4x 16TB Exos

$928 for ~44,703 GB of usable capacity with ~783MB/s reads


Budget Capacity: 4x 10TB Ultrastars

$560 for ~27,939 GB of usable capacity with ~747MB/s reads

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