The humble hard drive might not be selling as well as it used to, but a lot of that is surely due to the ongoing shift towards flash solutions at lower capacities. At higher capacities, the HDD remains king. Western Digital has announced its latest 22TB hard drives, so if you need to store all 58 seasons of General Hospital (no judging!), you’ve got a bigger option.
Western Digital is shipping 22TB WD Gold, WD Red Pro, and WD Purple Pro HDDs. These aren’t consumer-oriented drives exactly, but they are retail drives. The WD Gold is designed for servers and workstations and they're built with reliability in mind. The WD Red Pro is a high-end NAS drive designed for 24x7 multi-user environments. Finally, the WD Purple Pro is designed for multi-stream video recording applications.
All three drives have a 3.5-in form factor, a SATA 6Gbps interface, 512MB of cache and spin at 7200RPM. They have a five-year warranty and all are priced at $600 and can be bought directly from WD's online store if you're in the USA.
The three drives share the same 10-platter 3.5-inch helium-filled platform that uses energy-assisted perpendicular magnetic recording (ePMR) technology and triple-stage actuators (TSA). The 22TB Gold can reach a very impressive sequential transfer speed of 291MB/s, while the Red Pro and Purple drives hit a respectable 265MB/s.
While these drives are impressive and there's nothing stopping an end user from buying them, it's a little sad to see WD isn’t putting much focus on internal drives for mainstream consumers. Its Black series of drives are the ones it promotes as gaming drives, but it tops out at 10TB. The mainstream and bulk storage optimized Blue series drives are limited to 8TB. WD clearly believes that SSDs are the best solution for gamers, and for pure gaming that's absolutely correct, but gamers don’t just game.
These days, a consumer on the hunt for bulk storage is directed towards external drives. WD’s Elements external hard drives are available in capacities up to 20TB, and often these can be found with steep discounts, making them good value for storing huge amounts of data.
Part of me wants a 22TB internal drive, even if it takes me a few years to fill it up. But there are plenty of you who will never be satisfied. If a NAS full of 22TB drives isn’t enough, WD began shipping 26TB Ultrastar drives to hyperscale cloud customers in June. In 2023 you’ll likely be able to buy retail versions. It’ll only take a few days to transfer everything over…