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Seagate Constellation ES.3 4TB Enterprise Hard Drive Review
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by Rob Williams on February 18, 2013 in Hard Drives

We took a look at both of WD’s 4TB hard drive options in the past month, so it’s a great time to get some Seagate action going. The Constellation ES.3 competes with WD’s RE in the enterprise space, but it brings an interesting feature to the table: a 128MB cache. So let’s give the the drive a good test and see if it can topple the RE drive we raved over.

Synthetic: AIDA64 2.70

Similar to HD Tune, AIDA64’s built-in disk benchmarker is one of the easiest to run. The developer also keeps up on top of architectural trends so that you feel confident that the algorithms don’t get much better than this. This spreads beyond the storage benchmark, as AIDA64’s system stress-testers is one of the best, if not the best, out there – thanks to it being able to take full advantage of any given CPU architecture.

For our testing, we run the Linear Read and Random Write tests. Because AIDA64 by default automatically chooses a cluster size (which changes at random), we force it to use 64KB for our testing.

AIDA64 2.30

Not one to break from tradition, AIDA places Seagate’s ES.3 drive ahead of WD’s RE, though the RE managed to deliver a far more attractive buffered result – strange, given the Seagate has more cache.

Though the ES.3 drive “wins” this battle against the RE drive, both come out as equals as far as I’m concerned. Nothing can remotely touch WD’s VelociRaptor where mechanical latancies are concerned – at least on the consumer side.


  • JD Kane

    As someone who has a file server array at home, articles on drives like this (and its market competition) are very interesting. Hopefully TechGage will continue to cover this market segment as it hopefully continues to grow. I’ll surely be needing to change my file server’s drives, especially with a view towards expanding its storage capacity.

  • Igor Mendelev

    It would have been great if you also test different capacities (for example, 1TB and 2TB) of the same drive to see how that’ll impact performance. 2TB version also is priced very similar to 1TB Velociraptor – which makes that even more interesting.

    • http://www.facebook.com/deathspawner Rob Williams

      If I can procure a drive like that, I’ll update the graphs. Will touch base with Seagate.

  • Matt Sferrazza

    Where did the Segate Desktop HDD.15 (4TB) go? The beginning of this article said it was going to be tested, but none of the graphs mention it.

    • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

      I talked about the drive because it had come out during the process of reviewing this enterprise drive. At the time I didn’t have a unit, but I did review it a couple of months later:

      http://techgage.com/article/seagate-desktop-hdd-15-4tb-review/

      • Matt Sferrazza

        Dude, you rock! Both drives got a very thorough review. I appreciate it because information of this kind appeals only to a very esoteric market. After reading both articles, I decided to grab a pair of the Constellation ES.3 drives because I found a good open box deal that retains the 5yr warranty. It seems like a significantly better drive that I wouldn’t have spent full price on, but the slight price jump from the HDD.15 was worth it given the deal. Putting such a high quality drive in a RAID1 gives me peace of mind, especially with the warranty. It’s for my photo studio’s originals, plus other things like laptop backups. Thanks for all the great informtion!

        • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

          Ahh, it’s sweet to get a good deal on enterprise drives, grats! Since I have multiple 4TBs hanging around, I think I am going to upgrade my NAS and create a RAID 5 array with four different ones, and see which kicks the bucket first. Should be interesting ;-)

          Glad the articles could help!

  • Ranmamez

    Hello.
    What benchmark setting did you set on HD Tune Pro? Full test, partial test (fast or accurate?) or the default out-of-the-installation setting?
    In any case it would’ve be interesting having the HD Tune Pro screenshots.
    Thanks.

    • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

      HD Tune’s defaults are used. Back when this article was written, I didn’t save screenshots of the benchmarks (I just edited the results into a text file), but that’s since changed (mostly because I second-guess myself). If I end up rebenchmarking the entire lot (which I’m hoping to do, but I’m loaded up with other things), I’ll provide them on the site (and respond to this comment again so you can see a notification).

      • Ranmamez

        Thank you very much.
        BTW I have the WD20EARS Green drive but my Maximum read speed on HDTune is 116 MB/s while yours is 128.7 (can’t try write speed since i’m using it and can’t backup): can you tell me what firmware version do you have? Thanks.

        • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

          There are a number of things that could cause that, from the SATA controller to data fragmentation (if there’s data on the drive) to other variables. I am not even sure I still have that drive kicking around to be honest, but if I do I’ll include it in the next round of benchmarking.