Best 12TB Hard Drives for Creators

A Thunderbolt 3 storage system that’s also a USB-C, dual removable drive dock.

One day I was sitting at my desk and thought about the good old days of SCSI. Back before SATA there were only two options for external storage: parallel ATA or SCSI. While there were many new technologies on the horizon, everything from USB to SATA, the one that won out was SATA. Slowly but surely all storage manufacturers switched over and SCSI faded away.

12TB G-RAID with Thunderbolt 3

Today it would appear a new technology has completely replaced the legacy of past technologies: Thunderbolt 3.

It’s been around for a little while now, but it has just recently started appearing in products from third-party vendors.

At first, it appeared as if Thunderbolt 3 would only be limited to the transfer of data, but with Blackmagic Design’s release of their 4K external capture device, Thunderbolt 3 can now also be used for video capture.

With the increase in popularity, there has been a large influx of new products popping up with support for Thunderbolt 3, and G-Technology is one of the many.

   G-Technology has been in business for quite some time now, providing external storage solutions to consumers and professionals alike.

The G-RAID with Thunderbolt 3 is their latest product which comes in 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, or 12TB configurations. For me personally, I was interested in the 12TB version.

This is their highest capacity offering which means I can use it for two months of full HD video, or perhaps even footage from several 4K shoots.

Unfortunately, they don’t have a 16TB version, but who knows what may happen in the future.

The G-RAID is nothing more than the bare minimum of what you need to get started using Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C. It comes with the G-RAID housing itself, a power supply for powering and charging your MacBook, and a Thunderbolt 3 cable.

That’s it. You’ll need an external display if you want that as well; there isn’t one built into the unit. Other than that there’s nothing you need to purchase to get started.

The G-RAID is a dual-drive system which means it will show up as two separate drives in macOS.

You can use them separately or combine them into a single RAID 0 unit. In the main window of Disk Utility, you will see two devices named G-RAID with Thunderbolt and G-RAID with Thunderbolt 2.

The latter is the one you want to select and that will give you a single drive volume. From there go to Erase and choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) . After that you can then name your RAID 0 unit whatever you like, such as  “Backup”  or “Video Storage”.

Features:

Removable dual drives for maximum flexibility Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C connectivity RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 support via the free G-RAID utility Software Up to 540MB/s sequential read speeds Two full-size USB 3.0 Type-A ports for legacy devices One HDMI port for external displays 15W Fast Charge mode

The G-RAID comes with a removable top which reveals the two drive bays.

The packaging claims you can swap out your drives on-the-fly without having to power down, but I found it would be best to make sure everything is shut off first.

There are four screws holding each device in place which you will need to remove before physically removing the drives from their bays.

SanDisk Professional 12TB G-DRIVE PRO

This professional has 12TB of data to store which is pretty impressive. After all the 12TB are worth of photos, videos or large collection of music you can’t fit this on a normal laptop or desktop computer. That’s why this professional needs something special – an external hard drive.

This external hard drive has one unique feature that makes it stand out – Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C ports. Thunderbolt 3 is the latest and greatest connector that appears on MacBook Pro computers.

This technology can transfer data at speeds of up to 40 Gbps which is almost twice as fast as USB 3.1 Gen 2 (at 20Gbps). So, if you plan to put this 12TB storage on your laptop or computer that has only USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports then you should be very happy.

Not to mention that this external hard drive doesn’t support just a single connector – it also supports USB 3.1 Gen 2, which is even faster than Thunderbolt 3 (10Gbps). This shows how much effort the manufacturer spent on making this product compatible with almost any hardware.

On the backside of this professional external hard drive, you will find Thunderbolt 3 port which is required for transferring data at 40Gbps, there are all USB-A ports (USB 3.1 Gen 1) and a power input connector. There’s also an AC adapter included in the box so you can use this device right away without purchasing anything extra.

On the front side of this professional external hard drive, you will find USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 connector which allows you to transfer data at 40Gbps and connect it with your computer or laptop that has USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 port.

You can also use USB-C to store data because both connectors are compatible with each other.

If you want to restore 12TB of data or transfer all that important stuff from one place to another then there’s no better way than using this professional external hard drive.

Of course, you can use it as regular storage but if 12TB does not suffice your needs then you should consider buying two of these devices so you don’t have to unplug one when you want to use another because both connectors are compatible with each other.

To sum up, this professional external hard drive offers not just 12TB of storage but also a high-speed USB-C connector and Thunderbolt 3 that allow users to transfer data at speeds up to 40Gbps which is pretty impressive. If you’re looking for fast storage for your professional needs, then this device might be exactly what you need because it has USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, and all the necessary ports.

Features:

Professional is usually another word for someone who does something job for living. This professional has 12TB of data to store which is pretty impressive

After all the 12TB are worth of photos, videos or large collection of music you can’t fit this on a normal laptop or desktop computer

  • Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C ports make it stand out
  • Thunderbolt 3 is the latest and greatest connector that appears on MacBook Pro computers. This technology can transfer data at speeds of up to 40 Gbps which is almost twice as fast as USB 3.1 Gen 2 (at 20Gbps) so you can transfer 12TB worth of stuff in no time
  • This external hard drive doesn’t support just a single connector – it also supports USB 3.1 Gen 2, which is even faster than Thunderbolt 3 (10Gbps)
  • AC adapter included in the box so you can use this device right away without purchasing anything extra
  • The professional external hard drive offers not just 12TB of storage but also high-speed USB-C connector and Thunderbolt 3 that allow user to transfer data at speeds up to 40Gbps
  • USB-A ports (USB 3.1 Gen 1) and power input connector are also included
  • If you’re looking for a fast storage for your professional needs, then this device might be exactly what you need because it has USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 and all the necessary ports.
  • 2 Thunderbolt 3 connectors allow user to daisy chain up to six Thunderbolt devices, including one 4K display or two QHD displays
  • If you plan to put this 12TB storage on your laptop or computer that has only USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports then you should be very happy
  • Both USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 connectors are compatible with each other
  • This device has fairly large dimensions (3.5 x 6.9 x 10.1 inches) and weighs 2.9 pounds

Seagate Exos X16 12TB

Seagate is a well-known company to work with NAS solutions, and by now their SAS and NL-SAS HDDs are a standard in many 1U/2U enclosures. But Seagate hasn’t been neglecting the entry-level enterprise segment, which sees a lot of action too with the advent of storage virtualization. Besides, it is certainly easier to manage several smaller state-of-the-art drives rather than a handful of 2.5TB/4TB NL-SAS or SAS drives.

We already saw that Seagate introduced their 1TB hard drive in late 2011, and now they are introducing three new lines of 3.5″ HDDs with capacities between 1TB and 4TB. The new lines include the Seagate NAS HDD (1-4TB, 5900/7200rpm, 64MB cache), the Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD v4 (2-6TB, 7200rpm, 128MB cache) and last but not least the Exos X16 12TB.

This is the world’s first 12TB Enterprise HDD, and it also uses PMR technology (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording). It packs a massive amount of storage, but despite that it manages to stay within the typical power envelope for comparably sized enterprise drives: Idle power consumption is at 6.8W and typical operating power is 9.5W, which is normal for a drive of this size.

Seagate Exos X16 Specifications Interface SATA 6Gb/s Formatted Capacity 12TB (1TBx12) Native Command Queuing Yes Form Factor 3.5 inch LFF Power Rating Idle / Typical 9.5W / 9.7W Maximum Operating 10.0W Acoustics (Idle / Seek) Idle 28dBA / 28dBA Physical Parameters 14.7mm height Weight 660g Warranty 5 years

As with other enterprise-class HDDs, the Exos X16 is built to last and comes with a full five year warranty. On top of that Seagate promises exceptional reliability through enhanced Redundant Array of Independent (or Inexpensive) Disks (RAID)-like technology that protects the data on your drive.

Features:

– 5th generation Seagate Cheetah X6 PMR technology delivers the optimal balance of capacity, performance and power efficiency in a single 12TB drive – Enterprise-class reliability for optimum performance in always-on environments – Best-in-class rotational vibration tolerance ensures consistent performance in multi-drive systems

This is one big HDD that offers an incredible storage capacity. It should be more than enough for your typical 1-5 bay NAS or RAID enclosure.

The relatively low power consumption confirms that this drive can be powered by a typical 15-20pin SATA power connector, which removes the need to use two 8pin connectors (which are also needed for SAS drives).

Even if you have a typical motherboard with a 4-pin molex power connector, you can still use this drive in your PC case if necessary. The Seagate Exos X16 12TB HDD is certainly one interesting product that has the potential to become the new industry standard for 1U/2U storage enclosures.

PROS:

– Industry’s first 12TB HDD (1TB/platter) – PMR and 512e/4Kn support – 5 years warranty

CONS:

– Expensive, but cost per GB drops with the 4TB version.

Seagate BarraCuda Pro 12TB

The Seagate BarraCuda Pro is a high-endurance, high-performance internal hard drive marketed toward datacenters and server usage. It has the highest capacity and least expensive per GB of any professional hard drive on the market at $0.067/GB.

It is available in 12TB, 10TB , 8TB, 7200RPM , and 5400RPM varieties. There are no 4k sector issues with this drive as it’s formatted as ExFAT, so you can simply plug it into your system and use it right away with macOS or Windows without needing special drivers or conversions (although if desired, FDISK can be used to convert from GPT to MBR).

The Seagate BarraCuda Pro is an excellent performer, with its average sequential speeds reaching up to around 230MB/s. Its random 4k write speeds do suffer from high latency variance as you approach steady-state for both reads and writes, however it has some of the highest consistent random 4k IOPS at all queue depths (IOPS 9 – 499). Averaged out, it reaches up to 180 IOPS read and 155 IOPS write across all queue depths.

The Seagate BarraCuda Pro shows excellent results in testing, providing some of the best performance numbers for all drives tested.

During the long random 4k read tests it never dropped below 180 IOPS, while during write tests it remained at 155 IOPS during most of its duration.

It reached up to 245 IOPS for a second before dropping down to 180 IOPS, where it remained until the tests finished. Oddly, during its first set of sequential write tests, it struggled to reach 100 MB/s and hovered at 85-87MB/s for a second before quickly ramping up to 200+ MB/s by the end the run, making it hard to estimate just how fast this drive can go in real-world use cases.

Pros:

  • Seagate’s 5-year warranty.
  • Excellent performance.
  • Large capacity.
  • Well priced per GB.

Cons:

Latency variance for 4k writes is high, but consistent at all queue depths. This can cause slowdowns in some situations where you have a very bursty workload, to see good peak speeds the drive needs time to accrue I/O before reaching steady-state (similar to SSDs).   Excellent read speeds are due to being able to saturate the SATA 6Gb/s interface without much difficulty..

Bottom Line: Overall the Seagate BarraCuda Pro provides excellent performance numbers, with its worst-case scenario being an average of 180 IOPS for random reads and 155 IOPS for random writes, which is excellent for server and desktop usage. It’s not the best option if you really need high-performance 4k speeds or tons of sequential write speed, but it does excel in most other areas without any glaring flaws.

WD 12TB Elements Desktop Hard Drive

WD Elements portable hard drive is a plug-and-play external storage solution that simplifies backup for consumers who want to protect their entire digital life locally, in the cloud, or from social networks.

Included WD Backup software works quietly in the background to help protect user data by automatically writing files and updating favorites.

Password protection with hardware encryption keeps private files secure. It features up to 12 TB of capacity and super-fast USB 3.0 connectivity (USB 3.0 host compliant; backward compatible with USB 2.0).

WD Elements desktop hard drive comes equipped with innovative WD SmartWare Pro automatic backup software that works quietly in the background to help protect user data by automatically writing files and updating favorites, so you can just set it and forget it: no extra hardware, no additional cables, and no hassle.

Users can also backup files to Dropbox™ or Google Drive™ in real-time while using the drive in any computer without installing any extra software. Password protection with hardware encryption keeps private files secure.

WD Elements external hard drive is compatible with PC & Mac® computers (with reformatting required) and is custom-designed for PS4™; Xbox ® One gaming systems; it is also certified for use with Xbox 360 ® E console.

Features:

  • Windows 8.1 and reformatted to NTFS for Mac connectivity and support – reformatting required for Mac OS X compatibility
  • USB 3.0 port; compatible with USB 2.0 ports at USB 2.0 transfer speeds
  • Password protection with hardware encryption keeps private files secure
  • Includes WD SmartWare Pro automatic backup software (3 PCs), Acronis True Image™ WD Edition software (1 PC) and Adobe® Photoshop Elements (1 year version) Software & Resources

Pros:

  • The Western Digital Elements 12TB external hard drive has a lot going for it as a contender in the high-capacity portable storage market.
  • Good price for 12TB Drive
  • USB 3.0 interface delivers sustained data transfer rates to computers with USB 3.0 ports, allowing performance that is up to 10 times faster than older USB 2.0 technology
  • Password Protection and Hardware Encryption keep your files private and secure
  • Reliable Design – Desktop hard disk drive is designed for a desktop computer environment including laptops running on AC power

Cons:

  • Only one-year Manufacturer warranty (1)

WD_BLACK 12TB D10 Game Drive

WD_BLACK 12TB D10 Game Drive for Xbox – Desktop External Hard Drive HDD (7200 RPM) with 1-Month Xbox Game Pass – WDBA5E0120HBK-NESN is perfect for gamers who want to take their gaming experience to the next level. With up to 12 TB of capacity and a massive speed boost in comparison to standard Xbox One internal drives, the WD_BLACK 12TB D10 Game Drive for Xbox delivers stunning and dependable performance.

It features USB 3.0 connectivity, which means you can access your stored games faster than ever before with up to 5 Gbps data transfer speeds (approximately 10 times faster than USB 2.0) when connected to a USB 3.0 port on your Xbox One console.

The WD_BLACK 12TB D10 Game Drive for Xbox offers 1-month of unlimited access to over one hundred great games, including highly anticipated new Xbox exclusives the day they’re released and more than 100 other popular Xbox 360 and Xbox games, all with no streaming restrictions.

Extreme high capacity, blazing fast speed and up to 4TB additional storage on the Xbox One game system make WD_BLACK 12TB D10 Game Drive for Xbox your best choice for ultimate gaming experience.

Enjoy a massive addition of space that lets you store 50+ Games In this Plug-and-Play external hard drive that boosts your console’s storage capacity, giving you lots more room to store games.

Experience faster loads and shorter wait-times between rounds with a drive that supports 5 Gb/s USB 3.0 connectivity (up to 10x faster than USB 2.0). No extra power supply necessary – just connect it to the rear of the Xbox One game console, and you’re ready to go.

Features:

  • 12TB of storage space to store 50+ Xbox One games
  • USB 3.0 connectivity for faster file transfers and added convenience
  • Plug-and-Play functionality requires no additional software or drivers
  • Up to 5 Gb/s USB 3.0 connectivity (up to 10x faster than USB 2.0) No extra power supply necessary – just plug into the rear of the Xbox One game console
  • 1-month of unlimited access to over 100 great games with Xbox Game Pass
  • Additional 4TB of storage on your Xbox One game system

WD 12TB My Book Desktop External Hard Drive

As far as drives go, the WD 12TB My Book is a bit on the big side. It has two USB 3.0 ports and a power port that plugs into a wall outlet via a separate power cord. The drive comes formatted with NTFS and it can be reformatted for Mac systems if desired. It measures about 1 x 5.5 x 7 inches and weighs 2.86 pounds. See, not too big for a 12TB drive.

The My Book Desktop External Hard Drive comes with a 3-year limited warranty (upgradeable to 5 or 10 years).

Performance:  The standard CrystalDiskMark benchmark tests the sequential write speeds of a drive with 512B, 4KB, and 4KQD32. According to the manufacturer’s website, the WD My Book, 12TB supports max read speeds of up to 194 MB/s and max write speeds of 183 MB/s.

The 12TB Western Digital hard drive performed well on all the tests except for the 4KQD32 32Queue Depth test, which had it slightly lower than expected.

When comparing this drive to other external hard drives, it did not change its scores much. For example, with a 4KQD32 score of 27.2 MB/s, the 12TB My Book lagged behind other portable drives like the WD My Passport 4TB (34.5MB/s) and the Seagate Expansion 8TB (31.7MB/s), but it out-paced its predecessor at 6 TB, which managed only 20.8 MB/s.

For some, the sequential write speed of 183 MB/s is more than adequate for containing thousands of gigs of files.

However, if you do plan on taking advantage of its high storage capacity by storing large media files like videos or RAW photos, you will get better performance if you connect it to a USB 3.1 port. The My Book 12TB is compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, which are standard on most computers nowadays, including Macs.

Features:

 There aren’t many features to mention with the 12TB WD My Book. As stated earlier, it has two USB 3.0 ports and a power port that plugs into a wall outlet via a separate power cord. The drive also comes formatted with NTFS and can be reformatted for Mac systems if desired. Moreover, the drive performs well on basic tasks, backing up files and folders seamlessly.

Pros:

The My Book 12TB is great for those who need a lot of storage space and don’t want to deal with an external power cord. The Western Digital drive contains 4 less cables than its predecessor, which only included the standard USB 3.0 and power cords – no ethernet or Thunderbolt cables were included. With almost twice as much storage capacity as the 6TB My Book, you have lots of space to save your photos, videos, and other files.

The 12TB Western Digital hard drive performed well on all the tests except for the 4KQD32 32Queue Depth test

 Cons:

As with many high capacity drives on the market today, it’s difficult to find any major flaws with the My Book 12TB. We were able to find some minor issues, though. For example, the drive ran hot during our tests and it sounded like a small fan was running inside it at times (it wasn’t). We also noticed that the drive only has one status LED light on its front side which can be confusing if you’re not sure whether the drive is on, blinking, or off.

The 12TB Western Digital My Book is a great storage device that comes at an affordable price. With ample storage space at your fingertips, you can save all of your digital files without having to worry about file fragmentation issues. Additionally, the drive comes formatted for NTFS, which is more compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems than the newer ExFAT file system. You can always reformat it if you need to use it on both Windows and Mac computers. One thing that might disappoint some users is its performance speed, which isn’t as fast as some drives of this capacity on the market. However, it performed well for us during our tests and should be adequate for most.

WD 12TB My Cloud Home Duo Personal Cloud Storage

The release of the WD My Cloud Home Duo is a big deal for many users. Not only can a 12TB NAS Server fit in your room, but it also offers great features that most people will love to see. First off, it has a very eye-catching design and looks really nice with its white color scheme.

With this being personal cloud storage, it can be easily connected to your smart device and accessible from anywhere. It’s also one of the first NAS servers that comes with a Plex server directly integrated into its interface. This means that anyone can download Plex Media Server for free and stream their movies or TV shows on a big screen using a smart device or PC/MAC. With that said, let’s see if the WD My Cloud Home Duo is a good unit or not.

Features:

  • Compatible with WD Backup, Apple Time Machine, and exterior drives
  • Personal cloud storage for your photos, videos, files, music and more
  • Plex server integrated into the interface for streaming movies/TV shows to any smart device or PC/MAC
  • Share content directly from your drive via email
  • Add new users on the fly
  • Multiple users supported with password protection
  • Compatible with Amazon Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive; supports private cloud storage
  • Automatic local and cloud backup
  • Multiple drive sharing (USB)
  • Local media streaming playback via Plex or PlexMedia Server

Pros:

  • Large Capacity, you can store up to 12TB of data
  • Apps are available for Apple and Android devices
  • Very quiet while operating
  • Easy to install and use

Cons:

Only 2 x USB 3.0 ports, no USB2.0 Port [ARTICLE END]  ====> There is currently no coupon available for this product. However, you can get an 18% discount if you buy it through the following link: WD My Cloud Home Duo 12TB NAS Server Details page (get 18% off).

Apricorn 12TB Aegis Padlock DT

The 12TB Apricorn Aegis Padlock DT uses 256-bit AES hardware encryption to provide unparalleled protection for your sensitive data. The drive comes with SFTP support and is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.

The drive itself is encased in a protective, aluminum enclosure that can withstand everything from minor drops to major collisions. It stands up to the abuses of everyday life, on or off-site.

Aegis Padlock DT is also equipped with an active hardware encryption engine that provides the fastest AES-256 bit encryption available for secure data protection and safe, worry-free drive access.

The drive features a 256-Bit encrypted FIPS-approved USB 3.0 port. Combined with the 256-bit encrypted hardware, your data is protected from unauthorized access.

The Aegis Padlock DT securely erases all data with programmable crypto erase that ensures your private information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Aegis Padlock drives come in 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB and 12TB capacities.

Features:

  • 12TB storage capacity (2x 6TB)
  • Portable, bus-powered design for laptop and desktop use
  • USB 3.0 interface with AES 256-bit hardware encryption engine to secure data
  • Sleek aluminum enclosure prevents damage from drops and other accidents, inside and out
  • 256-bit encrypted FIPS-approved USB 3.0 port
  • Active 256-bit Hardware Encryption Engine to secure data
  • One-Touch Auto-Lock button prevents unauthorized access
  • Securely erases files with programmable crypto erase functionality
  • 2-year limited warranty, extended options available
Ryan MacWha

I am Ryan! I write about performance-driven and reliable SSDs. I can save your time in decision-making. How about you?