From a technical standpoint, the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 is one of the most advanced consumer level hard disks on the market. The drive showcases second generation perpendicular recording, 32 MB of cache, excellent multi-tasking performance, very light power consumption and noise production, and let’s not forget the massive 1 TB amount of storage space. The advanced 250GB/platter technology which Seagate has used has allowed them to create a monster of a drive, in terms of both performance and capacity, which also happens to run quietly in your system.
When mounted in a chassis without active airflow, we measured the drive hitting temperatures of 50-55ºC, which is warm but certainly tolerable for a real world situation such as this. Considering the capacity of this drive, we would recommend a low-noise chassis fan to keep it running healthy and happy for a long period of time. It definitely doesn’t need a noisy, high-speed fan to keep thermals under control, but some active airflow would definitely help overall temperatures as well as peace of mind. As for acoustics, when mounted in a chassis, the drive was virtually inaudible. Even when the drive was performing disk intensive tasks like defragging, there was no change in the overall noise level (which is already a very low noise environment). For this particular environment, the drive was essentially silent to my ears, which is quite impressive, all things considered.
Our experience with the drive running a Windows Vista system has been interesting. For the most part, the Barracuda 7200.11 1 TB drive runs flawlessly, especially during heavy multi-tasking scenarios. However, there are moments when we realize that we’re still dealing with 7,200 RPM technology, as opening large programs quickly still can be slower in comparison to a 10,000 RPM Raptor disk. However, for the most part, Seagate can deliver much of the same experience of a 10K RPM hard disk at a much lower price per GB and with much friendlier environmental aspects (noise/heat).
As of today, Seagate’s Barracuda 7200.11 1 TB is a bit more expensive compared to WD’s and Hitachi’s 1 TB hard drives, but not to the point where we think greatly hurts its value. Seagate has a longer warranty compared to the competition, and is the only drive which has a four platter design combined with 32MB of cache. Currently, this drive sells for about $330 online, which is 0.33 cents per GB. Hitachi’s 1TB drive sells for roughly 0.31 cents per GB, whereas WD’s Caviar GP goes for about 0.27 cents per GB. In comparison, 500GB 7,200 RPM hard drives can be had for about 0.19 cents per GB today, so if you just need raw capacity and don’t care about noise/heat, these are still better values. However, if you want a boatload of storage space with excellent Vista performance and near inaudible acoustics, the Barracuda 7200.1 1TB drive is a great option.