I am keeping an eye on hard drives by size in various sizes and how many plots you can fit onto each size by K value. I do not think it is useful to have an HDD 4TB or smaller currently with the overall energy cost plus the cost of the drive in the long term so I will exclude those from here. Be mindful that you do get some cost savings by having a higher density per disk if you are running disk shelves and to a smaller degree USB as well. These plot count sizes assume you have formatted XFS filesystem and a Partition format of GPT 4KiB-aligned. Actual drive sizes do vary slightly by manufacturer, and you may notice a + or – 1 or 2 plot difference. Try to buy 4Kn drives.
8TB drives – ~74 K32 Chia Plots
8TB drives are still among the most adversely impacted HDDs around right now by the Chia crunch as they are also carried by many retailers in stock and used by small businesses, soho, and various home user groups in the USB variety especially. When evaluated by the quality of the included drive, the fact many of these are SMR technology should be a double whammy if you have intentions outside of Chia in the future with these drives. As a (less than) proud owner of a whole bunch of 8TB smr drives, I can only say I hope you are smarter than I was. They have historically been available very cheap and indeed this is why I bought the multiple 8TB drives I have right before Chia blew up HDD prices.
10TB drives – ~92 K32 Chia Plots
The 10TB size is a less common size in USB drives in many local brick and mortar retailers around my location but was always readily available online. The exception was Targets which used to stock them more then 8TB varieties for unknown reasons to me. The 10TB size is outside the realms of most (ALL?) SMR tech that I am aware of currently on the market, with 8TB being the max size for SMR I have seen in the charts from Seagate and WD.
12TB drives – ~110 K32 Chia Plots
The 12TB segment is another that was very popular in the USB variety especially pre-Chia for a lot of home users and soho users. This was often carried at even Wal Marts around my city. Some of the lowest prices historically seen in the retail channel have occurred in this size also around Black Friday. Again, this is outside the SMR realm to my knowledge, so they are good performers all around. The WD Arsenal brand is something interesting that I have just seen start to emerge and is moving prices in the right direction for bare drives.
14TB drives – ~128 K32 Chia Plots
I keep coming back to the best price per TB that we have seen over the past more than month now being the 14TB segment. These are somewhat available in local Best Buy stores and very available online at prices that continue to move in the right direction and often under the sub-17/tb range and also a nice balance on density per drive for disk shelves and USB alike. All should be CMR and many have enterprise roots in a shucked variety.
16TB drives – ~148 K32 Chia Plots
This size drive is a great density but consistently is checking in at a higher price/tb then all but the 18tb segment. It makes sense in a certain frame of reference, optimizing space in a smaller footprint, but you want to keep an eye on the 512e variety which while a good performer for Chia applications may not have the highest performance of CMR tech in general. These drives were available pre chia in my local BestBuy and Fry’s prior to Chia, but of course Fry’s is no more now. They command a bit of premium for a good reason, at least in the non-512e variety.
18TB drives – ~166 K32 Chia Plots
These are huge! What is not to love? The price/TB. Density comes at a top end premium for good reason here, but most drives are enterprise rebranded in this segment. Do 18TB drives ever sell for “Cheap”? Probably not and for good reasons.