Seagate 2TB Barracuda SATA 3 6Gbps Reviewccokeman - December 7, 2009
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
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Seagate has introduced the world's first and only hard drive that supports the SATA 6Gb/s standard with the release of the Barracuda XT 2TB drive. Along with this drive, Seagate has two more 2TB drives in its arsenal that are aimed for the low power and mainstream users, having less cache and a slower spindle speed. The Barracuda XT 2TB drive comes equipped with 4 platters, 64MB of cache and a 7200 RPM spindle speed with a sustained data rate of 138 MB/s. All pretty impressive specs for a drive of this size that should help this drive run straight to the top of the heap of performance mechanical hard drives. But speed is only one part of the equation. As we keep ever increasing amounts of data on our computers, the need for additional capacity continues to rise, along with the quality of the media we store on the PC, from music to movies to games and more. More space is a need that will be filled. The share of computers with 1+TB drives continues to increase each year. The Barracuda XT is a drive that is aimed at the hardcore user, gamer, and video editing professionals. Let's see how this drive performs and find out if it it really is the fastest mechanical hard drive out on the market.
The Seagate Barracuda came to OCC straight from the factory without the usual retail packaging, so what I have is just the drive to show off. Well really not a whole lot to show off, as it mirrors other 3.5 inch form factor hard drives in size, but the weight comes in at a hefty 1.5 pounds. The top of the drive shows the serial number, model number, part number, and firmware version, as well as an installation summary. Flipping the drive over, you can see the spindle and a PCB where you make your data and power connections. The connections used are identical to those used on SATA 3Gb/s drives and are backwards compatible.
One of the few motherboards to offer SATA 6Gb/s support is the P7P55D Premium, which I will be using to test out the Barracuda XT. The P7P55D Premium uses the Marvell 88SE9123 controller as the means of adding SATA 6Gb/s support. By itself, it does not offer the bandwidth needed through its single PCIe interface with the P55 chipset, offering a maximum bandwidth of 250 MB/s. That's not even close to what is needed for the 600MB/s throughput of the SATA 6Gb/s interface. ASUS has used a PLX Pex8613 bridge chip to add an additional PCIe 2.0 1x lane to the P55 chipset to increase bandwidth to 500MB/s a second, still 100MB/s short of the standard, but better. The 6Gb/s drive connections are grey so they can be easily identified. The graphic at the bottom illustrates this implementation.
Let's see how the Barracuda XT fares in the testing!