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Nathan Edwards

Jul 12, 2011

Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB

At A Glance

XKCD

Speedy sequential speeds; handy disk wizard for novice users; capacious.

XTREEM

Slightly slower than Deskstar in real-world test; slightly more expensive.

Seagate’s Barracuda line has long been a contender in the 7,200rpm drive space and—7200.11 firmware snafu notwithstanding—has generally vied with WD’s Caviar Black line for the 7,200rpm crown. The Barracuda XT 3TB is a five-platter 7,200rpm drive with 6Gb/s SATA and 64MB of cache, just like the Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000. So what’s the difference?


Ooh, Barracuda! Seagate's biggest fish isn't necessarily the meanest in the sea, but it's close.

Like the Hitachi drive, but unlike WD’s Caviar Green, the Barracuda XT ships sans hardware adapter, instead offering a link to rebranded partitioning software. In this case, Seagate offers the Seagate DiscWizard, powered by Acronis. Again, it doesn’t offer much functionality beyond that provided by Windows, but it is easier for novice users. Those with 64-bit operating systems, UEFI-enabled motherboards, and GPT partitions won’t even need that.

In our low-level disk benchmarks, the Seagate Barracuda XT offered sequential read and write speeds exceeding 120MB/s, while random-access times lagged a few milliseconds behind both the Hitachi Deskstar and WD Caviar Green 3TB drives. In Premiere Pro and PCMark Vantage, though, the Barracuda’s scores were slightly slower than those of the Hitachi Deskstar—12 seconds slower in Premiere Pro and around 600 PCMarks (whatever those are) behind the Deskstar.

The Barracuda XT is a wicked-fast drive with a helpful software wizard for legacy users. But with an MSRP of $270 and real-world scores slightly lower than those of the cheaper Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000, it’s not necessarily the best bang for your buck.

$270, www.seagate.com

Benchmarks

Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 (3TB)
Seagate Barracuda XT (3TB)WD Caviar Green (3TB)
HDTUNE 4.01



Avg Read (MB/s)
119.5124*101.5
Random-Access Read (ms) 15.7*17.215.7*            
Avg Write (MB/s) 118.5122*96.9
Random-Access Write (ms) 15.717.315.6*
Burst Write (MB/s) 315.6*284.8183.1




Premiere Pro Encode (sec)
435*447530
PCMark Vantage
7,663*6,9754,910

Asterisk (*) denotes best score. All drives tested on our hard drive test bench: a stock-clocked Intel Core i3-2100 CPU on an Asus P8P67 Pro (Rev 3.1) motherboard with 4GB DDR3, running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. All tests performed using native Intel 6Gb/s SATA chipset with IRST version 10.1 drivers.

THE VERDICT

Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB

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