SMR vs CMR Drives and The way to Determine Them Aside

Shopping for exhausting drives was easy. You purchase a good identify model drive of the popular capability and begin utilizing it. Issues nevertheless have gotten a bit sophisticated within the current previous. WD was not too long ago within the information for sneaking SMR drives into their product lineups with out correctly labeling them. So what’s an SMR drive? Are they inferior to CMR drives? How will you determine them? This information goals to get you in control with every part about SMR and CMR drives and easy methods to inform them aside.

What Are SMR and CMR Drives

All exhausting drives are usually not made equal. They differ vastly by way of cache, latency, search instances, and different issues. Most of those metrics are normally of no concern to the common consumer. nevertheless, the storage methodology utilized in a drive is a vital issue that has an actual impression on consumer expertise.

Traditionally, producers employed one thing referred to as CMR or Standard Magnetic Recording because the default storage methodology. Which means information is written to concentric round tracks on either side of the platters in a tough disk. Tracks are written facet by facet and there are not any overlaps on this methodology.

Arduous drives, historically, see elevated capability by two strategies when CMR is employed. Both the variety of platters is elevated or the write density is multiplied.

SMR drive or Shingled Magnetic Recording is a current method that considerably differs from CMR. In SMR, information is written by partially overlapping the prevailing tracks the place information is already current. Using the phrase ‘Shingled’ is an analogy to the overlapped tiles used within the roofing of homes. SMR, subsequently, achieves extra information capability with out including extra platters or rising information density by stacking tracks on prime of one another.

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SMR vs CMR comparison

Is SMR Drive Inferior to CMR

Technically talking, SMR drives are inferior to CMR drives in most efficiency metrics. Listed here are the the reason why:


SMR drives are significantly slower than CMR drives. That is very true when write speeds are considered. When information is written to SMR drives, it briefly copies the info to a specialised cache current within the drive. It is because, in contrast to CMR drives, information can’t be written straight into an SMR drive. It must be reorganized into the shingled areas of the tracks. This course of is normally executed throughout idling.

When massive quantities of information have to be written into SMR drives, the cache shortly fills up inflicting bottlenecks and slowdowns.

Information Corruption

The probabilities of information corruption are increased in SMR drives than in CMR. SMR drives require fixed modification, reorganization, and deletion of pre-existing information on the tracks on the platters. This course of is inherently susceptible to corruption as there’s numerous information motion. A sudden energy outage, for instance, in the midst of this course of can put information in danger.

It may additionally put different CMR drives in danger when utilized in RAID arrays as SMR drives take longer to be built-in. SMR drives are subsequently not good candidates as a alternative for useless CMR drives in NAS storage. Backup options that require fixed studying and writing are higher off with CMR drives.

Purposes for SMR Drives


SMR drives are cheaper in comparison with CMR drives. As a result of information being stacked as overlaps over current tracks, the variety of platters could be diminished considerably. Much less variety of platters means decrease manufacturing prices and fewer utilization of supplies. SMR drives are subsequently good candidates for archiving functions the place there are usually not numerous rewrites required.

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Power Environment friendly

SMR drives are extra energy-efficient than their CMR counterparts. The general lack of platters and heads required to maneuver about studying and writing information makes it eat much less energy. That is particularly efficient when SMR drives are employed on a bigger scale. Dropbox, the cloud firm revealed that they made appreciable power financial savings through the use of SMR drives in 2019 as they experimented with the know-how.

The way to Determine Between SMR and CMR Drives

Figuring out if a tough drive is SMR or CMR remains to be a tough endeavor. They don’t seem to be clearly labeled or talked about within the spec sheet by most producers. It’s not normally revealed in any of the advertising and marketing materials of most drives both. Customers have to concentrate on what these requirements are and should analysis on their very own to determine a drive for what it’s.

Fortunately, lawsuits and controversies have pressured main producers to record which drives use CMR and SMR respectively.

Seagate has made a really clear record that represents which drives of their lineup implement SMR and CMR.

Western Digital has additionally made a weblog put up that reveals the fashions that use CMR and SMR.

Toshiba is one other main producer that has made an official record of client drives that use SMR and CMR.

Figuring out SMR Drives With no Checklist

Not all producers have listed SMR and CMR drives on their websites and never all fashions are lined. So how do you inform them aside if SMR and CMR are usually not clearly talked about anyplace? Right here’ how:

Test Drive’s Cache/Buffer Dimension

SMR drives are normally endowed with a a lot bigger quantity of cache than a CMR drive. It is because the drive wants the info to be reorganized within the buffer earlier than being written into the shingled areas of the tracks.

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A consumer-level drive having a 256MB cache might be going to be SMR as producers would compensate with larger buffer sizes to fight the constraints of SMR. Drives with decrease cache ranges like 64MB are normally CMR. Yow will discover the cache degree of your exhausting disk by looking the drive mannequin on Google. It would normally be listed as Cache dimension or Buffer dimension.

Test Trim Assist

Newer fashions of SMR exhausting disks have TRIM assist like that in SSDs. TRIM command helps the working system to outline information blocks which can be now not wanted and could be deleted, or are marked as free for rewriting.

CMR Drives don’t want TRIM to work. Whereas not all SMR Drives use TRIM, exhausting drives that do make use of TRIM are SMR drives. You should use an software like CrystalDiskInfo in Home windows to examine for TRIM assist.

1. Obtain and set up CrystalDiskInfo. Proceed to launch the applying.

2. Within the software window, discover the world the place options are proven.

If TRIM is listed among the many options, the exhausting drive is SMR.

CrystalDiskInfo Interface on Windows

SMR vs CMR Drives

Producers have been silently changing CMR drives of their current lineup with SMR drives for a while now. This follow has been criticized by customers throughout and has generated numerous unhealthy press. Drive producers have been pressured to record their drives as SMR or CMR on their web sites. Hopefully, they’ll quickly begin mentioning it within the spec sheet and advertising and marketing supplies as nicely.

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