Performance: 40 out of 40
With performance that rivals early generation Solid Sate Drives the Exos X20 is the new gold standard upon which all 7200rpm Hard Disk Drives must be judged against. So, if you want the best the Exos X20 is pretty much the drive to look at. Just as it should be when talking about a $670 drive.
Technological Innovation: 16 out of 20
On the one hand Seagate has once again push the boundaries of capacity and given us a drive whose platters can hold over 1.1TB per side. Furthermore, they have done so without the need for exotic technology like HAMR. That is indeed impressive. On the other hand, at this point seeing a 11’ish percent density increase from one generation to the next is pretty much par for the course. Yes, Seagate is the victim of their own success and increased density (and its accompanying boost in performance) is now expected… as that is just good business sense.
Build Quality & Warranty: 18 out of 20
As with its predecessors, the Exos X20 is built to a very high standard. It is built to a high standard and comes with an equally high standard warranty. So, while would have liked Seagate to put a bit more effort into both the error correction end of the equation and warranty specifications, the X20 really is an excellent example of what manufactures can do when they pull out (nearly) all the stops.
Value: 20 out of 20
Buyers are going to consider the overall value to be either ‘great’ or ‘less than optimal’ with few (if any) buyers falling in between these extremes. On the one hand it is faster than the competition and denser than the last generation Exos X18. On the other… it costs a whopping $670. Per Drive. Yeah. Just populating a simple 6-bay NAS/DAS/SAN array is going to cost more than most peoples first car and populating just one sweet, sweet 4U 90 drive storage server is going to put one hell of a dent in a department’s budget. It however is the densest, fastest and most energy efficient Exos Seagate has ever released. It is even less costly than Western Digital’s versions. Thus, it will be a great value (easily 20 out of 20) to its intended customer niche. Just understand that your final tally may vary by upwards of 16 points from ours in the value department.
Final Score: 94%
With the release of the Exos X20 and its unique blend of technology Seagate once again proves they understand the enterprise buyer better than the competition. Yes, it may not have fancy marketing bullet points, or rely upon cutting edge technology, but it does what an Enterprise storage device is supposed to do. That is offer improved array density; improved array performance; improved array power consumption; reduce server cooling requirements, and actually cost less than the competition while doing all that. So, while it will be a smidgen more difficult to sell the Exos X20 to the unenlightened board of directors, as HAMR will make for excellent PowerPoint presentations, in return the X20 offers fewer potential headaches. As long as you can get over the sticker shock you will love what it has to offer… it just will not be right for every scenario and every buyer.