HGST Ultrastar He8 HDD RAID Review (8x8TB) – 64TB Analysis on the Adaptec 8805 RAID Adapter


We create over 5 exabytes of data every day. With more and more videos and pictures being uploaded to data centers for Facebook, twitter, YouTube, and countless sales transaction happening every minute, mass amounts storage is a must. Being able to keep up with demand requires higher density and high performance HDDs. HGSTs solution is to pack HDDs full of helium and high density platters to deliver high performance and energy efficient 6TB and 8TB HDDs as well as 10TB HDDs for archival usage.

The HGST Ultrastar He8 is currently the fastest and most efficient 7200RPM 8TB HDD out thanks to, well, being the only one out. Jokes aside, the He8 is a great HDD for those in need of high density, performance, and efficiency. While HelioSeal is a relatively new technology to the HDD industry, it has proven its benefits and reliability in the first million HelioSeal HDDs shipped.

The Ultrastar He8 steps out in the lead and can be used for a whole array of enterprise applications from Hadoop clusters to enterprise JBODs/RAID arrays as the results can be seen here today. While their lower power consumption helps to reduce the total cost of ownership alone, deploying these HDDs in something like a 90-bay chassis for up to 720TB of storage can help to cut TCO even more. What would normally take multiple servers and with lower capacity HDDs can now be consolidated into one 4U. This can free up room for more servers or possibly reduce your infrastructure size. HGST even has a case study on Netflix showing this exact point. HGST’s He series HDDs helped increase storage capacity while at the same time helped to consolidate servers to lower their overall TCO.

HGST He8 Main

Today, while these are not SSDs, we were able to see some fantastic performance out of these drives. The Ultrastar He8 was able to deliver 175 IOPS during 4K and 8K reads and almost 300 IOPS in writes. Sequential reads and writes were also very good reaching 209MB/s each. Once thrown into a RAID array our numbers sky rocketed, especially in RAID 0, reaching 1,575MB/s read and 1,595MB/s write. That is nearly perfect scaling! We have to give kudos to not only these fantastic HDDs, but the Adaptec 8805 RAID card as well for that type of performance.

We were also able to see some interesting trends in each RAID type as well. All RAID configurations showed very similar random read performance, however, when it comes to write performance it varies by quite a degree. RAID 0 is usually known to deliver the best performance all across the board, but it isn’t redundant storage and cannot handle a drive failure. RAID 5, 6, 10, 50, and 60 can. Looking at our redundant options we can see that RAID 10 delivered the best performance, and in most tests, by a lot. That is why RAID 10 is usually the go to RAID configuration in many server deployments. Another reason why it is often used is because array rebuild time is typically faster as well. Next, in terms of speed, RAID 5 and 50 are usually in line with one another’s results. Finally, in last place came the RAID 6 and 60 arrays.

As you can see from these results there is a tradeoff between performance and redundancy. RAID 0 and 10 are usually best bets for working hot data sets in small arrays. RAID 5 is a decent option as well, however, as you scale out RAID 6, 50, and 60 are better options. This is especially so when dealing with larger capacity disks such as the HGST Ultrastar He8. Upon a rebuild from a degraded state RAID 5 is at greater chance of an unrecoverable read error (URE) than other RAID types. Using enterprise class HDDs such as these with a high UBER rating helps to lower the chances, but it is still high compared to these other RAIDs.

HGST He8 Angle

While hyperscale and cloud storage is the main market for these drives, we believe that media companies will be utilizing these as well. For media companies that shoot high volumes of HD footage, storing it all can become an issue, especially when shooting 4K and 8K. Being able to populate say a 8-bay NAS, or even a cheap 24bay 4U chassis with these and have 192TB of storage available makes this HDD a great option as, again, these are currently the highest capacity 7200RPM disks.


Wow, so there you have it. 64TB of storage across eight HDDs and six different RAID configurations. As a storage editor, at the end of the day, I love all things storage. While I review SSDs for the most part, I am a big mass storage lover at heart with my own 46TB home server utilizing multiple 2TB and 3TB HDD arrays in a 24-bay 4U chassis. It’s amazing that you can now have this much higher capacity redundant storage with just 8 HDDs in an enthusiast’s home server. There are many out there who have large video libraries who already look for the highest capacity HDDs they can find and fill up their racks. This drive just may be the next drive for them as well.

The HGST Ultrastar He8 delivers great performance within a power efficient envelope. Right now it goes for about $75 -$90 per terabyte, a bit high compared to other drives, but there are no direct competitors that deliver this performance and density. While it demands a price premium in upfront cost, its efficiency should make up for it in the long term in power and cooling costs as well as in server consolidation. On top of these qualities, the He8’s features such as Rebuild Assist, a 2.5 million MTBF, and 5-year warranty help to propel it to be one of the top high density HDDs out. If you are in need of high performance and capacity, look no further than the HGST Ultrastar He8, as of this article, it is unrivaled.

Editors Choice-SSD copy Opt

Check out the HGST Ultrastar He8 on Amazon Today!

Review Overview

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High density delivers great performance

The HGST Ultrastar He8 is currently one of the top high density HDDs out and is the highest capacity PMR based HDD on the market. Designed for hyperscale and cloud storage use cases and delivering great random and sequential performance, the helium filled Ultrastar He8 does not disappoint.

User Rating: 2.17 ( 39 votes)

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