Toshiba S300 (HDWT840) with 4 TB in review: A small surveillance hard drive with SMR

While we’re all eagerly awaiting the first big 22TB hard drives, let’s look at something smaller until they’re available in the market. The 4TB HDWT840 or Toshiba S300 is a new surveillance HDD using SMR as the recording method. Despite – or rather because of – this, it is ideal for recording image streams, even within hard drive networks with more than one hard drive. You can find out why in our article here.

We recently got the new one Toshiba S300 Pro with 6 TB in review now let’s take a look at a model from the non-Pro series. The 4 TB S300, model designation HDWT840, differs significantly from the previously tested model. With 5,400 rpm and Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR), Toshiba gives the S300 series a clear lead over the models with the Pro suffix. It would be wrong to use this manufacturer’s notice for the entire S300 series, however, as it is currently being updated. Let’s take a look at the Toshiba website with the sonorous URL surveillance-hard-drive-2020 (Link to Toshiba), we find a colorful mix of models.

In addition to a 1 TB, 2 TB and 6 TB variant, there are also three variants with 4 TB in the list. An older model of the generation HDWT1x0 with CMR and two versions with SMR and the numbers HDWT7x0 and HDWT8x0. Our test candidate should therefore be the latest available product based on the HDWT840 generation. If you take a closer look at the models, you can see that although they all have the same cache of 128 MB and the same number of revolutions, the specifications for the maximum rated workload and the consumption of electrical power improve with each generation step. Noteworthy here is the unusual MRW specification of 110 TB for the old HDWT140 model.

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Using SMR on Surveillance HDDs

The use of this technology in the field of image processing and storage is not unusual. Seagate also has models like the Seagate SkyHawk, 4 TB, ST4000VX013, which we unfortunately haven’t been able to get for testing yet. In addition, there is the effect that hard disks with SMR offer a significantly lower power consumption, especially under full load. If you were to install a high-performance helium hard drive, which can also be very economical when idling, in a small housing, a correspondingly high-performance cooling solution would quickly be necessary under the continuous write load that is characteristic of camera recording.

This continuous sequential write load is the use case, which is why the manufacturers fall back on SMR for inexpensive surveillance hard drives. Starting with an empty hard disk, the SMR hard disk can be filled track by track without annoying overlaps or random write accesses. Since these states, which are extremely complex for an SMR hard disk, can be avoided, such hard disks can also be operated in small to medium-sized surveillance devices. However, the device’s software also plays a major role here, because if a hard disk fills up or the data on the hard disk becomes fragmented, there would be a significant loss of speed.

Manufacturer Toshiba
Serie S300
Typ S300 4 TB
capacity 4 TB
number of shafts 1 – 8
uncorrectable read errors per read bit, max. 1 Sector for 10E14
platters / heads 2 / 4
Shock sensor (no R/V sensors) And
maximum number of cameras up to 64
maximum annual workload 180 TB
Cache 128 MB
r/min 5400 U/min
transmission speed 184 MB/s
transmission standard SATA III 6G
Energy consumption load/idle/standby 4.11 W / 2.33 W / not specified
Noise (dB(A)) idle/load 22 / not specified
MTBF 1.000.000 h
Guarantee 3 years


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We got the statement that the HDWT840 does not have R/V sensors but rather shock sensors from the Toshiba-Website (as of September 9th, 2022).

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