Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB Hard Disk

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Design and Specifications

 

Seagate is not looking to revolutionize their hard drive lineup with the 7200.11 series of hard disks. They have an excellent product which they’ve refined over the years with the Barracuda 7200, and now in its eleventh generation, the results are downright impessive for a 7,200 RPM class disk. Of course, this drive’s biggest (no pun intended) feature is that it can store a massive 1TB of data over a quad-platter array. Seagate’s previous generation 7200.10 series topped out at 750 GB, so we see a nice 25% boost up in capacity between generations. While it’s possible for Seagate to crank out higher capacity 7200.11 models, we believe that 1 TB will stay as their top of the line desktop hard disk for some time – at least until one of the major disk companies passes 1 TB. Also something to keep in mind, when a 1TB disk is formatted with a modern file system like NTFS, you’ll 'only' truly get about 930GB of usable space.

The Barracuda 7200.11 is not a particularly interesting product from a visual perspective. The Barracuda 7200.11 1TB drive has the same form factor as prior versions of the 7200 family. Of course, underneath its fairly plain externals lies four 250 GB platters, one platter less than Hitachi’s 1 TB hard drive. With only four platters spinning under the hood, it will be easy to see a (positive) difference in both acoustics and thermals (for the better).
 



Much like the 7200.10 series, Seagate has opted for a Serial ATA only power set up for their disk, moving away from 4-pin Molex connectors that some disk manufacturers still like to utilize. The drive officially supports Serial ATA-II/300 speeds, but interestingly enough, the drive ships with a jumper which sets it to Serial ATA/150 speeds. While even a SATA150 connection should be plenty for the needs of a 7,200 RPM hard disk, this connector speed can be a bottleneck in terms of burst transfer rates. With such a huge amount of cache onboard (32MB), you need the ability to push and pull data from this part of the drive as fast as possible. With the removal of said jumper, the drive immediately becomes a full-fledged SATA-II/300 drive and can be installed as such. Make sure you remove the jumper before you install, since some operating systems dislike when you swap between SATA and SATA-II modes after installation.

Unlike the 7200.10 family, however, Seagate will NOT be offering the new 7200.11 series with an Ultra ATA connector option. That’s right – if you haven’t upgraded your motherboard in the past decade and still don’t have Serial ATA ports, you can’t buy this 1 TB hard disk. Seems reasonable to us.

 




Seagate hides their controller and memory chips on the bottom side of their PCB. This allows them to push minor drive alterations to this area with no alarm, but it also helps protect the chips from being scratched or damaged during installation. Seagate also stuffs a thin layer of foam between the PCB and the base of the hard disk, which presumably helps muffle some of the disks’ noise creation as well.

While we don't have all of the other 1TB drives available for a shootout, what most really want to know is how it stacks up against other 1TB hard disks currently on the market. We can see the differences on paper with a handy chart, seen below.
 

Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 1 TB

• 5 x 200 GB Platters

• SATA-II/300 Interface

• 32 MB Cache Memory

• 7,200 RPM Spindle Speed

• 8.5-9.2ms (Normal), 14-15ms (Silent) Seek Times

• 4.17ms Average Latency

• 9.0W Idle, 13.6W Full Power Load

• 29 dBA Idle, 32 dBA Acoustic Level

Unknown MTBF

• Three Year Hitachi Warranty

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1 TB

• 4 x 250 GB Platters

• SATA-II/300 Disk Interface

• 32 MB Cache Memory

• 7,200 RPM Spindle Speed

• 4.16ms Average Latency

Unknown Seek Time

• 8.0W Idle, 12.0W Full Power Load

• 27 dBA Idle, 29 dBA Acoustic Level

• 750,000 Hour MTBF

• Five Year Seagate Warranty

Western Digital Caviar GP 1 TB

• 4 x 250 GB Platters

• SATA-II/300 Interface

• 16 MB Cache Memory

• 5,400 - 7,200 RPM Spindle Speed

• 5.6ms Average Latency

• 8.9ms Seek Time

• 4.0W Idle, 7.4W Full Power Load

• 25 dBA Idle, 27 dBA Acoustic Level

• Unknown MTBF

• Three Year Western Digital Warranty


We see some interesting omissions from the spec sheets. Hard drive manufacturers are never on the same page about what specifications to publish, which leaves us with a smattering of some standardized information which we can see and some which is left in the dark. Seagate, in particular, does not list seek times (which we consider to be quite important). Hitachi and Western Digital state numbers in the 8-9ms range – our tests show Seagate’s drive in the 11-12ms range, which may be why it’s not stated. Hitachi and WD, however, do not publish MTBF numbers (that we could find) and only have three year warranties, as opposed to Seagate’s five. WD’s Caviar GP is definitely the quietest and lowest power drive of the 1TB family, but this comes at a price, as the drive only has 16MB of cache and has a variable spindle sped which will spin down to 5,400 RPM when loads are low.

Tags:  Seagate, Cuda, Barracuda, TB, disk, ACU, 1tb, bar, AG, EA, AC, AR, K

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