What is the difference between SMR and CMR Hard Drives?

SMR vs CMR Hard Drives

Choosing Between CMR and SMR Technology in Hard Drives

What are SMR Drives?

Shingled magnetic recording (SMR) is a magnetic storage data recording technology used in hard disk drives (HDDs) to increase storage density and overall per-drive storage capacity. SMR drives are sometimes called “Archive Drives” because these drives are mostly used for applications where Data is stored for heavy read access and not modified regularly like in Data Centers and Cloud technologies.

These hard disk drives are usually available in 2.5-inch form factor with different capacities, followed by different caches that contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of these SMR drives. Western Digital, Seagate and Toshiba are the top manufacturers of these drives. Moreover, these drives consist of the latest interfaces such as SATA and SAS, which ensures high-end performance and data reliability.

What are PMR / CMR Drives?

Perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) also known as Conventional magnetic recording (CMR) is a magnetic storage data recording technology which uses non-overlapping magnetic tracks parallel to each other unlike SMR where sometimes overlapping occurs on the magnetic track but is dealt with special protocols used by host controller and operating software.

These drives are majorly used for storing the data but at higher transfer rates. The data may include audio, video, and image storing, editing, and processing. Moreover, the gaps between these magnetic disks are significantly less; however, this does not affect the data transfer speed, but these gaps majorly impact the drive’s overall areal density. These drives enable the data to be written easily on the tracks without impacting the other tracks that co-exist, allowing these tracks to tackle more data at one time.

CMR drives are compatible for HD games or high-end storage data. CMR HDDs are available in capacities ranging from gigabytes 18 Terabytes and more which ensures the efficiency of the drive, followed by the factors such as the latest interfaces and brands including Seagate and Western Digital.

Difference Between CMR vs SMR Drives:

Every system requires different hard disk drives to maximize its productivity. The requirement may range from personal use to modern gaming or professional use, including a picture or video editing, architecture, or any other high-end program.

However, the difference between CMR and SMR is quite subtle, but it does impact the nature of work. It is necessary to remember that CMR drives have high speed and functionality and SMR drives has high density which contributes to high capacity. The best way to select either of the drives is by understanding the differences, such as:


SMR and CMR drive the data at the same capacity; however, SMR drives cost less than CMR drives, followed by less flexibility during usage.


If the business requires to store data in a large capacity, the SMR is the best option to opt for as it does not help in storing the data, but it is also comparatively more energy efficient

Transfer Rate

However, for high-speed data transfer, CMR drives are the best option to opt for compared to SMR drives.


SMR and CMR drives are not compatible with all the devices. For instance, CMR drives do not work well or are not compatible with NAS.


SMR drives are known to have low caches compared to CMR drives when caches are concerned.

CMR vs SMR Drives: Which One to Choose?

It is often difficult to make the right choice between SMR and CMR due to their subtle differences. These differences range from storage capacity to data transfer speed, followed by different interfaces offered by well-known brands, including Seagate and Western Digital.

The first and foremost step is to identify the need of the business for the drive that is needed. For instance, if a drive is required to store data, SMR is the best option because it relatively has greater storage capacity and consumes less energy. SMR drives cost less compared to CMR drives; however, CMR drives are more flexible than SMRs. Moreover, CMR drives are believed to have larger caches when caches are concerned. However, as for data write-up speed, CMR drives offer higher transfer rates.

List Of Best CMR and SMR Hard Drives

CMR Seagatge ST20000NE000 IronWolf Pro 20 TB SATA 6.0 Gbps
CMR Seagatge ST18000NM000J Exos X18 18 TB SATA 6.0 Gbps
CMR Western Digital WD101KRYZ WD Gold 10 TB SATA 6.0 Gbps
CMR Western Digital WD8003FFBX Red Pro 8 TB SATA 6.0 Gbps
SMR Seagatge ST4000VX007 SkyHawk 4 TB SATA 6.0 Gbps
SMR Seagatge ST8000DM004 BarraCuda 8 TB SATA 6.0 Gbps
SMR Seagatge ST8000AS0003 Exos 5E8 8 TB SATA 6.0 Gbps
SMR Seagatge ST8000AS0002 Archive v2 8 TB SATA 6.0 Gbps
SMR Western Digital WD80EFAX Red Plus 8 TB SATA 6.0 Gbps
SMR Western Digital WD60EZAZ WD Blue 6 TB SATA 6.0 Gbps

However, if you are still unsure about making the right choice between CMR and SMR, You can contact our hardware expert to help you choose from the variety of CMR and SMR drives available in exclusive deals and discounts on Memory4Less.com.

Also Read:

Enhance Your Network with the Best NAS Hard Drives

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