20 - 01 - 2018
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Toshiba Nearline MG03ACA400 4TB SATA III HDD Review

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   Although 5TB hard disk drives should be upon us by now with 6TB ones following closely behind them it seems that manufacturers feel that 4TB is still more than just enough for the majority of consumers and even though they are probably right (judging by all the people i know) I’ve said it many times and will say it many more than until 10TB drives (or more) make their appearance in the market enthusiasts and professionals alike will not be completely satisfied (when you have 20-30TB of data it's neither easy nor convenient to have twice as many drives around just for backup purposes). Still it's not like we have any other choice so at least we can do our best to follow the flow of things and test as many 4TB hard disk drives as we can get our hands on so all of you can know what to expect. Such is the latest Nearline MG03ACA400 SATA III HDD model by Toshiba which we have on our test bench today.


   Toshiba Europe Storage Products Division (SPD) has remained at the forefront of the storage industry for over 40 years and is the world's only storage supplier that owns design, development, manufacturing, sales and other infrastructure functions spanning the enterprise, mobile and retail environments for both HDD and SSD products. Customers are original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), system integrators and distributors within the EMEA region. As a leading provider of integrated storage solutions and as the principal inventor of NAND flash storage, Toshiba sets many of today’s industry standards for storage technology. Throughout its history, Toshiba SPD has revolutionized the design and development of storage devices and its drives can be found inside the world's leading GPS navigation systems, consumer electronics, computers and enterprise solutions. In addition, Toshiba Storage Products Division offers an extensive range of advanced technology drives such as high durability 24/7, extended temperature and SSDs for the consumer, industrial, enterprise and automotive sector.


   The latest Nearline models by Toshiba are part of their mid-end enterprise class line so naturally these models come with extra features such as 24/7 operation, standard ECC (Error Correction Code), MTBF (Meantime Between Failures) of 1.2 million hours and finally their Secure Cryptographic Erase SED Function (MG03ACA400Y model). Specs-wise the MG03ACA400 is a 3.5" SATA III (backwards compatible with SATA II) hard disk drive that rotates at 7200RP and has a RAM buffer of 64MB (FIFO Ring Buffer). It goes without saying that we've seen higher MTBF numbers in the past from other enterprise class HDDs but since this is the mid-end enterprise class range by Toshiba i think it should do just fine especially if its price tag follows suit. The only thing specifications sheets don't give us (and when they do the numbers are rarely accurate) are the exact performance levels of the drive which is what we are going to give all of you in the following pages.


























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As usual we received our HDD sample inside an anti-static bag but you should be able to find the same drive in a retail box version.



mg03aca400 02t

The MG03ACA400 may be yet another 3.5" HDD but the top design points to a more "reliable" solution.



mg03aca400 03t

Once again at the top we find the information sticker with the units serial number, part number, barcodes, electrical requirements, installed firmware version, factory rollout date and several certification logos.



mg03aca400 04t

As it is pretty much standard all of the main components are placed on the opposite side of the PCB.



mg03aca400 05t

At the rear of the drive we find the usual SATA connector along with 4 pins used for factory firmware updates.













cpuz i7-3930ksystem




     Thoroughly testing hard disk drives may require time and patience but that's just about it. Of course that doesn't mean that one must take it lightly, at least not when people base their decision on your results. True many choose to only use 2 or 3 benchmarking suits in order to measure the performance of a drive or drives since quite honestly most benchmarking suites do tend to agree with each other (so it's not really wrong) but we always like to take things a step further not because we have to but because we want to be almost 100% certain of the results we get and post in our charts (one can never be 100% certain about anything).


     So in this kind of reviews we will use a total of 6 different benchmarking suites in an effort to bring you the most accurate results across the board. Now the only reason why i say effort is because real-world usage is not always on par with what results one gets by running several benchmarks on a drive and that's mainly because there are many variables at work from ambient temperatures to hardware configurations and even firmware versions. The benchmarking applications we use are the AIDA64 suite (former Everest Pro), HD Tune Professional, HD Tach RW, ATTO, Sisoftware Sandra Pro and the Crystal Disk Mark 64bit. These benchmarking tools are the best in what they do and as you will also see later on their results more or less agree. Each test is performed a total of 6 times and then the average is recorded into the charts. Temperatures are recorded using Hard Disk Sentinel and after 45 minutes of continuous testing in a 23 degrees Celsius temperature controlled room. Finally we also use an ExTech HD600 dBA meter on each of the drives (5cm away) in order to accurately record their noise levels, although if you don't turn off all system fans when doing so it's quite possible that you will never even hear the drive. The operating system as usual is a fresh installation of Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Service Pack 1 with every update installed up until the 8th of July 2013.


































































   There's little doubt in my mind that most of you reading these lines just took a quick look at the charts of this review compared the MG03ACA400 with the Enterprise Capacity V3 3.5 drive by Seagate which is undoubtedly faster and have reached a conclusion. However things are not black and white so when comparing two similar devices we need to know exactly what it is that we are comparing and so on one hand we have a mid-end enterprise grade HDD model aimed at small/mid-sized businesses while on the other we have a more expensive high-end enterprise grade HDD model aimed towards large businesses so naturally it has to perform better and last longer. Of course that doesn't change facts and so although the R/W speeds of the MG03ACA400 are very good (around 160MB/s) it does lag behind the latest Seagate Enterprise Capacity V3 3.5 4TB model and that combined with the significantly less MTBF make the latest enterprise grade model by Seagate a far more "tempting" solution for people who place performance and durability above price.


   At the end of the day the only real drawback the Toshiba Nearline MG03ACA400 4TB SATA III HDD has is its price tag since it currently retails at around USD360 inside the USA and at around 340Euros inside the EU. The reason we are saying that is because the current price tag places the Nearline MG03ACA400 4TB HDD above the Enterprise Capacity V3 3.5 (AKA Constellation ES.3) 4TB drive by Seagate and that was not something we were expecting. Certainly there's always a possibility that a manufacturer knows more than we do and sets the price based on that but on the other hand we can only judge things based on what we know and since the Enterprise Capacity V3 3.5 4TB HDD is quite faster and has a way higher MTBF we can only hope that Toshiba will change their pricing policy for the Nearline MG03ACA400 4TB SATA III HDD. Still we can't deny that the MG03ACA400 is not only very fast but it also features low temperatures and noise levels and comes with the build quality we know Toshiba offers and that's enough for it to get our Golden Award.


- Build Quality
- Performance
- Low Temperatures / Noise Levels
- 5 Years Warranty




- Price/Performance Ratio (Compared To The Competition)