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Big companies rarely take chances, and Seagate—the world’s largest drive maker—is no exception. It has always played second fiddle to Hitachi when it comes to the 7,200rpm hard drive capacity war, and even though Seagate drives are reliable and semi-speedy, they’ve never delivered industry-leading or even outstanding performance. Well, those days are over.
Seagate has shipped the world’s first perpendicular desktop hard drive, which shatters the capacity record, and is also the fastest 7,200rpm drive we’ve ever tested.
The tenth-generation 7,200rpm (7200.10 for short) Barracuda drive pulls out all the stops. While the rest of the hard drive world is still using longitudinal recording, where the magnetized bits are laid down on the recording media in a flat orientation, Seagate has already moved to a new, more efficient way of packing bits onto platters. In perpendicular recording the bits “stand” up, so they are oriented perpendicular to the recording media. Perpendicular drives pack more bits on each platter, allowing for massive increases in capacity, as witnessed by this drive’s unbelievable 750GB capacity (the next-biggest drive is a lowly 500GB).
The 7200.10 Barracuda sports a 16MB buffer, a SATA 3G interface, and four 187GB platters. During testing, the drive set benchmark records in several categories, including sequential read speed, IOmeter, a 5GB read, and Doom 3 loading. This drive kicks serious ass across the board. Not since the Raptor’s arrival have we seen such a hard drive smackdown. The speed doesn’t come without a price, however; the drive ran nuclear hot under load without cooling, and its application index score was lower than the WD400KD. (It was higher than the newer WD500KS, which means it might be time to revisit this benchmark.)
Folks, there’s a new 7,200rpm sheriff in town, and its name is Barracuda.
Month Reviewed: August 2006