Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB Reviewccokeman - June 1, 2011
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
» Discuss this article (21)
As the world we live in continues to become digitized, we have to have a way to store the ever increasing amount of data. Digital cameras and video recorders are increasing in resolution and the resulting increase in file size means that the amount of storage space needed to hold onto these files needs to grow right alongside them. Without the increase in capacity, even more devices are needed for storage, increasing power consumption and heat. The 3TB Barracuda XT is a 50% increase in capacity over the first-delivered SATA 6Gb/s 2TB Barracuda XT released last year. The ST33000651AS is deigned for use in high performance systems with its 7200 RPM spindle speed and 64MB cache buffer with a sustained transfer speed of 138 Mb/s, making it a great option in a gaming rig. A spindle-based mechanical drive will not deliver the ultra low response of an SSD, but so far the SSD does not come close to the cost/capacity ratio presented by the traditional disk drive. Currently retailing for $189, the 3TB Barracuda XT offers costs of roughly 6 cents per GB, or just over $60 per terabyte of capacity. With the introduction of this drive, Seagate offers up a solution to addressing the 2TB storage limitations present in legacy operating systems and hardware with the latest revision of its DiscWizard software. Today I will be looking to find out what kind of performance this drive offers for its $189 price tag and see how it compares to prior generations.
Aesthetically, the Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB drive is a bare bones basic 3.5 inch form factor hard drive. Not much really changes on the outside to distinguish one of Seagate's 3.5 inch form factor drives from the next, other than the interface and label that shows the capacity of the drive. Internally and on the PCB are where you find the changes to the drive. Inside the ST33000651AS are a series of five 600GB platters to make up the 3TB drive capacity. The PCB attaches to the bottom of the hard drive case and contains the hardware controller and 64MB of cache. Drive specifications from Seagate include sustained transfer speeds of 138MB/s, average latency of 4.16ms, and a 7200RPM spindle speed. Total weight of the drive is 700 grams, or just over 1.5 pounds.
Taking a trip around the ST33000651AS shows the SATA 6Gb/s data and SATA power connection points. Next to the connections are a set of jumper pins that are not used by the end user, but may be used for a firmware update. Mounting the drive is accomplished by using the side or bottom attachment points, much like any standard hard drive.
On paper, the latest hard drive from Seagate looks promising as a drive that can fit into many segments, offering up increased performance and additional capacity. Let's see how it performs.