We were pumped when we heard that Seagate had broken through the terabyte barrier with its 1.5TB Barracuda drive—it’s not only the biggest consumer drive available, but also represents the largest jump in capacity we’ve seen. We typically expect capacity increases to be accompanied by performance decreases, but this drive is quick on its feet despite its gargantuan size.
Thanks to perpendicular recording, the Barracuda manages to pack 1.5TB of capacity onto four 375GB platters on a 7,200rpm spindle with a 32MB cache, which allows it to keep pace with four-platter 1TB drives like the terabyte Barracuda and the WD Caviar Black.
We ran our standard benchmark suite–HD Tach 18.104.22.168, PCMark Vantage, and H2benchw—on the Barracuda and compared it to a 1TB WD Caviar Black (http://tinyurl.com/63wc62). The Caviar trumped the Barracuda in both HD Tach and H2benchw’s random-access tests—which makes sense, given that it has less data per platter to trawl through—but the Barracuda swept the field in average read and write speeds. Indeed, HD Tach reported average read speeds of 104.4MB/s and write speeds of 103.8MB/s, besting the Caviar by 16 percent and 30 percent, respectively. The Caviar squeaked past the Barracuda in all but two PCMark Vantage tests,
Seagate claims a sustained data rate of 120MB/s. H2benchw found that although the Barracuda’s max sustained read and write speeds both topped 125MB/s, its average sustained reads and writes were 98MB/s—still 15 percent faster than the Caviar.
Just for kicks, we tested how the Barracuda compared to Western Digital’s screaming-fast Velociraptor in HD Tach. No big shock there: The Velociraptor’s 249MB/s burst and 7.1ms random-access time leave Seagate in the dust. But the Velociraptor’s average read speed is only 4MB/s faster than the Seagate’s, and its write speed is actually slower.
The Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB runs neck and neck with the fastest terabyte drives we’ve tested. And it is the biggest consumer drive on the market. With OEM versions available on NewEgg for about $180, you can have a terabyte and a half for less than two Franklins. That’s kick ass.
Web Addendum: A small but vocal number of users of the Barracuda 7200.11 line, of which this drive is a part, have been suffering from failures due to firmware issues. See our coverage here and here. At the time this review was written, these issues had not come out, and neither our review units nor the several owned by our editors have had any issues.
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB
A huge leap in capacity without sacrificing too much speed or dough.
Random access times slower than the WD Caviar Black and Seagate HD103UJ terabyte drives.
Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB
WD Caviar Black
HD Tach Burst (MB/s)
HD Tach Access (ms)
HD Tach AVG Read (MB/s)
HD Tach AVG Write (MB/s)
PCMark Vantage Overall
Best scores are bolded. All HD Tach scores use HD Tach 22.214.171.124. All h2benchw scores use h2benchw 3.12.