Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB Hard Drive Review

ajmatson - 2010-12-15 06:28:51 in Storage / Hard Drives
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: ajmatson   
Reviewed on: February 6, 2011
Price: $112.99


Drives have been exploding in size in the last year or so and with that comes speed improvements. Drive manufacturers are constantly making improvements to both hardware and software technology which keeps us on the cutting edge. Not so long ago the rave was high speed 10,000 RPM drives that blew our socks off but were limited on capacity. Recently the SSD market took off again giving us blazing speed with lower power consumption but are still plagued with limited storage space and even higher prices. People loved the speeds but were screaming for capacity as well. Since flash chips are still expensive, the next best thing are low power high capacity drives. Either as your main drive or as a complement to your high end SSD, the "Green" drives offer large amounts of storage with lower operating costs.

Since the creation of the hard drive in the 1950's the densities were grouped into 512 byte sectors. With the evolution of hard drives and their capacity the old 512 byte sectors were lagging behind. This need for a change prompted the International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association (IDEMA) to come up with the Long Data Sector Committee in 2000. Almost 11 years later the committee finished the new 4K sector design dubbed 'Advanced Format' for the new technology that will cover the generations of Long Sector technology.

There are three categories for generation one drives. The first is 512 emulation (512e) which the drive had 4K physical sectors but translate them into 512 bytes for the host. The second is Native 4K (4Kn) which has the physical 4K sectors on the drive which are reported as 4K sectors to the host. The last configuration is 4K Read Host (Client devices only) which is a host system which works equally well with older 512 and 512e disk drives. Seagate is taking this new technology a bit further with their own Smart Align design which keeps data aligned together for faster access and read/write times.

Today we are going to be looking at the new Seagate Barracuda Green Advanced Format drive. To help better explain what Advanced Format with Smart align is Seagate has created a short video that I wanted to share with you.











Closer Look:

The Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB drive, model number ST2000DL003-9VT166, looks like any other desktop drive on the outside. Where the magic happens is on the inside. This beast not only has a high two terabyte storage capacity but it also packs a 64MB cache, uses a SATA 6Gbps interface and the first 5900 RPM spin speed, all in a power saving design aimed at those who want speed with efficiency without paying a lot for it. The Barracuda Green idles at 4.5 watts and has an average power consumption of 5.8 watts. With all of this running in your head let's take the hype and put it to the test.




Now that we have seen the physical part of the Seagate Barracuda Green drive let's get on to the testing.


Model Number:
SATA 6Gb/s
Areal density (avg):
Guaranteed Sectors:
26.1mm (1.028 in)
101.6mm (4.0 in)
147.00mm (5.78 in)
Weight (typical):
635g (1.39 lb)
Spin Speed (RPM):
5900 RPM
Sustained data transfer rate:
Average latency:
Random read seek time:
Random write seek time:
I/O data transfer rate:
Unrecoverable read errors:
1 in 1014
12V start max current:
Average idle power:
Average operating power:
Operating Temperature:
Nonoperating Temperature:
Maximum operating temperature change:
20°C per hour
Maximum nonoperating temperature change:
30°C per hour
Operating Shock (max):
70 Gs for 2ms
Nonoperating Shock (max):
300 Gs for 2ms
Acoustics (Idle Volume):
2.1 bels
Acoustics (Seek Volume):
2.3 bels




All information courtesy of Seagate @


To test the Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB drive I will be running a series of benchmarks designed to test the performance under different situations. I will be comparing the scores between a number of other drives to give you an idea on where it sits with current competition. For a direct comparison I added a Western Digital WD20EARS Advanced Format drive with the same capacity. I also threw in a few other drives including the Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive, a SandForce controlled SSD and my default test drive which is a Seagate 7200.11 750GB drive. All hardware remained at the same speeds, timings and voltages to keep any outside variables from interfering with the numbers.


Testing Setup:


Comparison Modules:



  1. HD Tune 3.50 Pro
  2. HD Tach
  3. SiSoft Sandra 2009
  4. Crystal Disk Mark
  5. ATTO Disk Benchmark
  6. AS SSD
  7. I/O Meter
  8. PCMark Vantage
  9. Windows Startup / Shutdown


HD Tune 4.60 Pro measures disk performance to make comparisons between drives or disk controllers. In the 3.50 Pro version, the user can measure not only drive performance as a whole, but more precise file benchmarks, and a random access benchmark as well.
















File Benchmark:



Random Access Benchmark:



The Seagate Barracuda Green beat the Western Digital drive in every aspect in HD Tune.

HD Tach v3.0.4.0: HD Tach is another hard drive benchmark utility, much like HD Tune. This benchmark will measure the average read speed, the random access time, and the amount of the CPU used during operation.



















SiSoft Sandra 2009 SP3: SiSoft Sandra is a diagnostic utility and synthetic benchmarking program. Sandra allows you to view your hardware at a higher level to be more helpful.


Physical Disks



Again with the exception of access time in the HD Tach, test the Seagate Barracuda Green beat out the WD counterpart.


Crystal Disk Mark 2.2: Crystal Disk Mark is a hard drive benchmark designed to measure the read and write speeds for the drives in 4k blocks, 512k blocks, and sequential data. For the test we chose the 100MB option.




















In the 512K tests the Western Digital drive had a bit of a lead but that was crushed when the Sequential tests came into play.


Atto Disk Benchmark v2.34: Atto Disk Benchmark is another aged, but good, hard drive benchmark utility designed to test read and write speeds for different file sizes.





















In the ATTO tests the Seagate Barracuda Green had a significant lead on the Western Digital Drive.


AS SSD v1.1.3466.29641: AS SSD is a benchmark designed for the speeds of solid state drives. However, it will also work for traditional hard drives as well. It is designed to measure the read and write speeds and access time for set block sizes. It also assigns a score to the read, write and overall performance of the drive.





















With the exception of the 4K writes, which were very close, the Barracuda Green was faster then the WD Caviar drive in AS SSD.


IOMeter is an I/O subsystem measurement and characterization tool for single and clustered systems. It was originally developed by the Intel Corporation and announced at the Intel Developers Forum (IDF) on February 17, 1998 - since then it's become a widespread tool within the industry.
























I was surprised on how much faster the Seagate drive was compared to the WD. I re-ran the tests on the WD Caviar Green several times just to make sure there was not anything wrong.


PCMark Vantage: With this benchmark, I will be running the hard drive test suite. The measurement for the hard drive suite will be the total score, then the scoring for each test will be broken down. There are a total of eight hard drive tests within PCMark Vantage and all eight will be run to gauge the performance of each drive tested.




















Overall the Seagate Barracuda Green was faster than the WD Caviar Green on all but one test.


In the world of computing, everyone likes a computer that can start up and shut down quickly. The ability to boot into your system as fast as possible allows you to start the tasks you set out to do that much faster. The sweet spot is about 30 seconds or less. With conventional hard drives it is possible, but very hard to get. With the speed of SSDs it should be easier but there is only one way to tell and that is to test it out. To run these tests, I used a stop watch to calculate the number of seconds it took from pressing the power button on the case, to having a fully functioning desktop. For the shut down test, I timed from the click of the shut down button in the start menu, until power was off to the system.



















In the Windows 7 startup and shutdown tests the Barracuda was slightly quicker than the Caviar drive.


The Seagate Barracuda Green drive with Advanced Format and Smart Align technology is a beast to be reckoned with. This drive is all about a balance of strong performance with low overhead. For just a bit more than $100 you get a massive 2TB of space (before formatting) that is quiet and consumes a low amount of power. Seagate has put a lot of time and research into this drive and it shows. I was fortunate enough to have been involved with the Barracuda Green Advanced Format drive for a while now, starting with the Alpha testing and I have watched as this technology matured into an awesome product. Seagate took the new technology further with their Smart Align feature, which takes apart the puzzle of your data and matches it up where it belongs. This saves you time when reading files needed for your data and games.

I was surprised on how much faster the Seagate Barracuda was compared to the Western Digital Caviar drive. While sometimes it was only slightly faster there were some instances such as with the IO Meter tests where the Barracuda was more than twice as fast. For the $15 or so difference between the two drives I would definitely choose the Barracuda drive with the increased performance. With this new Advanced Format technology, gone are the days where you need high RPM drives that require massive amounts of power and give off a lot of heat and noise.

If you are in the market for an inexpensive yet high-performing main drive or even a secondary drive with lots of storage space to compliment your SSD, then I would highly recommend you look at the newer Advanced Format drives. For the price, the Seagate Barracuda Green ST2000DL003 drive has one of the best  price to performance ratios that I have seen in some time.