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This is the cheapest large capacity hard drive you will find right now

(Image credit: Western Digital)

Western Digital will start sales of its WD Gold 18TB hard drives later this week, the company has revealed.

The HDDs will feature the industry’s highest capacity, and are aimed primarily at value added resellers, SMBs, and enterprises that need to store loads of data, but since the drives can already be pre-ordered from major retailers, nothing stops anyone from installing an 18TB HDD into a desktop or NAS. 

The price of the drives is lower than the typical price of top-of-the-range HDDs. 

Western Digital’s helium-filled 3.5-inch WD Gold 18TB (WD181KRYZ) hard disks are based on the company’s energy-assisted perpendicular magnetic recording (ePMR, EAMR) technology and feature nine platters, triple-stage actuators, a 7200 RPM spindle speed, a 512 MB cache, and a Serial ATA 6 Gbps interface. 

The drives provide up to 270MB/s sustained transfer, which is higher when compared to other 3.5-inch HDDs, yet its random read/write IOPS/TB performance is lower than that of 14TB or 12TB drives with a 7200 RPM motor.

Capacity meets reliability

The WD Gold 18TB uses the same hardware as the Western Digital Ultrastar DC HC550 18TB hard drive and has all its reliability, availability, and performance features, but comes with a slightly different firmware. 

Western Digital will officially start sales of its WD Gold 18TB products on July 24, about two weeks after the hard drives were announced earlier this month. The drives can be pre-ordered for $593 from Amazon and Newegg. Typically, biggest HDDs aimed at enterprises and nearline applications cost north of $700 in retail, so from this point of view the price of Western Digital’s 18TB device seems like a bargain. 

Although the WD Gold 18TB costs lower than one might expect, it still does not beat some lower-capacity HDDs on a $ per TB basis. Western Digital’s WD Gold 18TB HDD comes at roughly $33 per TB, the company’s Ultrastar DC HC530 14TB drive comes at $27, whereas a 10 TB 7200 RPM-class drive comes at $26. 

Meanwhile, the main selling point of top-of-the-line HDDs is their per-drive capacity that enables a longer active lifespan in an enterprise environment.