Toshiba publishes list of consumer HDDs that use shingled magnetic recording

Toshiba has revealed which of its desktop-type drives use SMR (shingled magnetic recording) technology, with its potential for slower performance due to continuous random writes.

Some users have complained that desktop SMR drives can exhibit poor performance in certain instances, such as loading a large gaming application composed of a large number of files.

This is because when a file is read, the operating system’s access time metadata is updated and written back to the drive. Such access time collection and storage is a default element of file metadata in Windows and MacOS. Continuous access time updates in the OS are random disk writes and so fall into the SMR performance vulnerability zone.

Toshiba uses SMR technology – previously undocumented – in several desktop drives and in some video surveillance HDDs:  P300 6TB, P300 4TB, DT02 6TB, DT02 4TB, DT02-V 6TB and DT02-V 4TB.

Certain notebook PC, game consoles, and external consumer drives also use SMR: L200 2TB, L200 1TB, MQ04 2TB and MQ04 1TB.

Toshiba said it “works extensively with notebook and desktop PC vendors on the selection of the appropriate storage media to help ensure the data integrity, reliability and planned lifetime requirements of the system”.

The company does not use SMR in the N300, a NAS drive intended for the consumer market – unlike Western Digital which uses SMR in some low-end WD Red NAS devices.