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Seagate IronWolf 110 2.5-inch SSD: Up to 4TB of NAS storage designed to last, but a lot of cash

While Intel’s Optane SSDs set the standard for longevity ratings by letting you write a ludicrous 18 terabytes for every 1GB of memory on board, there are NAND-based SSDs that will endure beyond the norm.

One such drive, Seagate’s new TLC-based IronWolf 110 SSD, is rated for just under 2TBW (TeraBytes Written) for every 1GB of capacity—two to four times the norm for a consumer drive. The endurance is indicative of the 110’s intended role in NAS boxes, where it’s bound to see heavier workloads, though the drive is also well suited for PC users who want above-average reliability.

Models and price

The IronWolf 110 SSD is available in five capacities for roughly 25 to 30 cents per gigabyte. In addition to the 1.92TB capacity we tested ($490 on Amazon),  the drive comes in capacities of 240GB ($93 on AmazonRemove non-product link), 480GB ($148 on AmazonRemove non-product link), 960GB ($276 on AmazonRemove non-product link), and 3.82TB ($980 on AmazonRemove non-product link). Those are the prices listed on Amazon as of 4/30/2019; Seagate had not provided pricing at the time of this writing. Considering the five-year warranty and high TBW ratings, that’s not bad at all. You could go cheaper, but not with the same guarantees. 

Capacity versus unit longevity

While Seagate is hardly the first vendor to make use of over-provisioning (the practice is as old as NAND storage itself), it’s the key to keeping an SSD running longer. In simple terms, that means there’s a lot of NAND in reserve to replace worn out cells. And yes, NAND cells may be written to only a certain number of times before they give up the ghost.

If you look at the IronWolf 110’s capacities, they’re smaller than the average: 240GB, 480GB, 960GB, 1.92TB, and 3.84TB. This means Seagate is likely keeping quite a bit of NAND in reserve.  

Alas, the IronWolf 110 is not the longest-rated NAND-based SSD we’ve had pass our portals. Not by a long shot. That distinction would like with the Sony G Series Professional SV-G48 which is rated for 4TBW for every 1GB of capacity. Same mission, better specs, though a bit slower performance.

Design and specs

As already noted, the IronWolf 110 is a 2.5-inch, SATA 6Gbps SSD. It’s 7mm thick no matter what the capacity, which seemed a little counterintuitive at first. At 77 grams (about 0.17 pounds) the IronWolf 110 is a bit heavier than most, which is reflective of solid construction, and—I thought—the amount of NAND on board. However, according to the spec sheet, all the capacities weigh exactly the same. Apparently 64-layer TLC NAND is weightless, or perhaps someone took the time to weigh only one drive.

Whatever the actual weight, 77 grams is close enough for rock and roll, and to calculate how much heavier your laptop will be if you install one of these puppies.

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