Surveillance Vs Desktop HDD: Choose Wisely to Get Best Performance

by July 29, 2016 17 comments

There are plenty of storage drives available for different usage, but primarily users get confused which one to choose. The difference lies in the engineering of the drive, so while choosing any you need to understand your usage. Surveillance is one of the segment where most of the time normal hard drives being used. However there are surveillance drives available with a little price difference, but performance is far better.

Surveillance HDD especially designed for CCTV setup. It looks similar to other drives and has differences only with optimizations and features which are developed for surveillance. You can easily connect the drive as like other HDDs in the DVR of your surveillance setup.

Benefits of Surveillance Drives

High-Write Workloads: PC drives are engineered for storage and perform read and write as well as data transfer capability, while the surveillance drives are tuned for 90% of its time (24x7x365 days) for recording video and 10% for reviewing and playing back data.

Video and surveillance HDDs support video streaming firmware designed and built for write performance. These come with enhanced write functionality that ensures first-rate performance and better drive durability for DVR, media center or video security applications. The surveillance HDDs firmware is custom built for streaming videos – captures every pixel while streaming HD videos.

Reliability: Normal PC HDDs doesn’t come with the ability to withstand always-on operational demands and not include the application specific features necessary to handle surveillance environments. On the other hand, surveillance HDDs are built to record data 24×7 from multiple camera streams or channels. A desktop class drive can eventually fail under constant, 24×7 operation, while video-optimized drives provide reliability benefits far beyond desktop drives, which are designed to run lighter workloads.

Low-power profile: Video and surveillance HDDs offers low-power profiles, which not only help with energy conservation but also ensure cool operating temperatures and enhanced system reliability while working a 24×7 profile.

Cost: Cost plays an important role, as video drives are engineered for surveillance environments so you might think, it will cost higher. Actually, only a few bucks difference is there in the price of similar capability desktop HDD and surveillance drive.

Real life testing: Seagate Desktop and Surveillance HDD

We chose two drives – Seagate 4 TB desktop and surveillance HDDs, similar capacity drives and from the same manufacturer to test the real life difference.

Also, we connected drives one-by-one with our test bed as well as surveillance DVR setup. First, we tested the performance of the drives using some benchmarks-

Desktop HDD: On HDTunePro, it resulted in 175.9 MB/s read speed and on CrystalDiskMark read speed was 161.4 MB/s and write speed was 160.3 MB/s.

Surveillance HDD: On HDTunePro, it resulted in 180.7 MB/s read speed and on CrystalDiskMark read speed was 166.8 MB/s and write speed was 165.5 MB/s.

You can easily see the performance difference in the benchmark scores. Further, we did some real life transfer to test their performance on our test bed.

Desktop HDD: In our real life test, it was able to transfer 2 GB of assorted data from PC to drive in 34 seconds with speed up to 362.4 MB/s. While transferring from drive to PC, it took 38 seconds with up to 466.09 MB/s speed.

Surveillance HDD: In our real life test, it was able to transfer 2 GB of assorted data from PC to drive in 8 seconds with speed up to 563.2 MB/s. While transferring from drive to PC, it took 34 seconds with up to 459.8 MB/s speed.

Again surveillance drive did better than desktop HDD. Later, we installed these drives on DVR. We kept both drives installed in the DVR setup for more than two weeks. However, there was no major differences as for storage is concerned but surveillance drive consumed less power than desktop HDD. Moreover, you get additional features with surveillance drive, listed below…

# Pre-tuned for multi-drive systems with RAID support

# Seagate Rescue Recovery Service option for 360-degree data protection

# Surveillance-optimized firmware improves drive reliability up to 30%, helping to reduce data loss

# RV sensors maintain performance in multi-drive systems

# 180TB/year workload rating, three times the rating of desktop drives, along with 1M hours MTBF

# Idle 3 power setting allows immediate recording when motion sensing is detected in a camera

# Quick time-to-ready requires smaller system buffer sizes, reducing cost

Overall we can say, both drives are good at their parts. Though surveillance drive performed better than desktop, but it doesn’t mean you use surveillance drive in PC. Both are engineered for different functions, so if you are setting up a PC go for a desktop drive while setting up a CCTV better to choose video-optimized surveillance drives.

17 Comments so far

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  1. Yntheng
    #1 Yntheng 4 February, 2019, 07:51

    how about for using them as external drives? which is more preferable?

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  2. Ashok Pandey
    #2 Ashok Pandey Author 4 February, 2019, 07:56

    For external drive purpose, you can go for the desktop drive, that will be a better choice.

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  3. Qeyam
    #3 Qeyam 26 February, 2019, 21:06

    The surveillance drive performed better than ordinary desktop drive,but we should not use it for normal desktop use.Why?

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    • Ashok Pandey
      Ashok Pandey Author 11 September, 2019, 06:19

      Qeyam there are certain engineering differences between desktop drives and surveillance drive, the major fact that you should not forget is that the workload of both the machines (DVR and PC) differ from each other so it is always advisable to go for a desktop drive for PC/Laptop.

      Reply this comment
  4. Andrew
    #4 Andrew 7 March, 2019, 00:29

    Can you use an hdd from a computer in a DVR for security cameras

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  5. Fahri
    #5 Fahri 10 March, 2019, 08:10

    What about surveillance for gaming, is it good?

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  6. MANLie
    #6 MANLie 1 April, 2019, 03:53

    So, surveillance isn’t recommended for desktop PC?

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  7. Martin Aguirre
    #7 Martin Aguirre 5 April, 2019, 13:31

    The data storage performance of the PC to Drive for the surveillance HDD is excellent. Thanks for the comparison.

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  8. Max
    #8 Max 13 May, 2019, 14:53

    My desktop almost always stays turned for 14-16 hours a day. The current hdd recently became severely corrupted. Do you think I should choose a surveillance hdd for my desktop?

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  9. Max
    #9 Max 13 May, 2019, 14:57

    By the way, whivj surveillance hdd is better, Seagate or WD?

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  10. Wendy
    #10 Wendy 4 July, 2019, 21:35

    I have a nuuo mainconsle which is a pc based cctv. The drive will be used for cctv storage solely in that case is surveillance better or desktop?

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  11. WesDarylCreed
    #11 WesDarylCreed 18 November, 2019, 21:46

    Thanks for this thread. I was just looking into this when a desktop HDD failed, but i had some extra surveillance HDDs lying around.

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