Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB SATA 6G HD Review

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Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: There are two aspects of the Barracuda XT's performance that need summarizing, its performance when connected to a SATA 6G controller versus a SATA 3G controller, and its performance versus competing, high-capacity drives. First, let's tackle the SATA controller question. As our testing has shown, connecting the Barracuda XT to a SATA 6G controller offered some slight increases in read performance, but in a handful of tests the drive actually wrote data slightly slower when connected to a SATA 6G controller. Spinning hard drives are unable to fully tax the bandwidth offered by a SATA 3G controller, so the benefits of connecting a standard hard drive to an even higher bandwidth interface will be minimal at best.

Overall, in light of some competing offerings, the Segate Barracuda XT is an excellent performer. The Barracuda XT was somewhat faster than Seagate's previous desktop flagship 7200.11 series drive in the majority of our tests. The Western Digital RE4 series drive, however, was somewhat faster then the Barracuda XT. The two drives traded victories in a few tests, but the WD drive pulled ahead more often than not and its margins of victory were typically larger in general.

Users in the market for a fast, high-capacity hard drive should definitely take the Seagate Barracuda XT into consideration. For a traditional, spinning hard drive, the Barracuda XT is quite fast, and its price is right in-line with competing, high performance drives from Western Digital (as of the today, the WD Caviar Black and Barracuda XT are the exact same price on Newegg, $279). With that said, slower 5400 - 5900 RPM 2TB hard drives are available for significantly less money, some more than $100 less. If it's going to be your primary hard drive, we'd definitely recommend the faster 7200 RPM models for their inherent performance benefits, but if you're pairing a high-capacity hard disk with an SSD that's used for the boot volume, it becomes much harder to justify the additional cost. Keep that in mind when shopping for your next build / upgrade. If you don't absolutely need the additional performance, there's a lot of money to be saved by going with a slower drive.

In terms of technology, the Seagate Barracuda XT is about as advanced as hard drives come these days. Support for SATA 6G is a nice bullet point, but our testing has shown it does little for performance, at least with a spinning hard drive; Micron's C300 SSD showed huge performance gains when connected to a SATA 6G interface. 64MB of cache and 7200 RPM spindle speed, along with the drive's high areal density, however, help push the Seagate Barracuda XT's performance to, or at least near, the top of the charts. If you need the capacity and crave the performance, the Seagate Barracuda XT is a solid choice.

 

  • High Capacity
  • Good Performance
  • 64MB Cache
  • 7200 RPM
  • SATA 6G Didn't Help Performance
  • Much More Expensive than somewhat slower, similar capacity drives


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