Seagate New Barracuda XT 3TB Reviewccokeman - November 6, 2011
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Going into the testing I was not sure that going to 1TB platters would offer up any additional gains in performance on a spindle based mechanical hard drive. Seagate has worked some magic inside the confines of that metal box that really drive performance on this new drive. First off the 7200RPM spindle speed is obviously going to help, but that is not the whole picture. The track size has shrunk to the point that each of the 340,000 tracks per linear inch is narrower than the Flu virus. This necessitated improvements to the read/write mechanics of the drive. Seagate used its AcuTrac Nano server technology to manage the read/write process and access these smaller tracks. A dual core ARM processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM on board, along with Seagate's OptiCache technology are said to improve performance by up to 45% over prior generation drives. Needless to say expectations were high going into the testing. In just about every test the "New" Barracuda XT outperformed the previous generation product. Higher average transfer rates and reduced access times mean an improved feel once you are in the operating system. The drive specification sheet shows a sustained read speed specification of 156MB/s, which the drive exceeded in my testing. This makes the New Barracuda XT the fastest spindle based drive I have tested to date, giving you capacity and speed all in one package.
Having the extra capacity is great, but if you cannot use it then it was not money well spent. With older hardware and operating systems there is a 2.2 TB limit on MBR partition sizes. The Seagates Disk Wizard software package allows you to get all of the capacity you purchased, bypassing these limitations, although you will need multiple partitions. Newer hardware with an Unified Extensible Firmware Interface BIOS are capable of using the entire drive size under one partition using a GUID Partition Table. You will need either Windows 7 or Vista 64 bit operating system to get the full capacity.
The introduction of this "New" Barracuda series of drives heralds the end of the large capacity 5900 RPM drive at Seagate. Internal testing shows that the energy saved does not offset the performance penalty of the slower drive speed. Going forward, 7200RPM will be the spindle speed used by Seagate. The end result is higher productivity and increased value for your hard earned dollar. The new series will be offered in sizes from 250GB to 3TB. Pricing for the 3TB version starts at a competitive $179. An SSD is going to offer more performance at the expense of capacity, there's no way around that as seen in the testing. However Seagate's New Barracuda line up is making positive steps towards reducing that performance differential. You get capacity and performance in a single drive!
- Improved performance
- Disk Wizard
- 1TB platters
- AcuTrac Technology
- OptiCache Technology