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An In-Depth Look At Seagate's 1.5TB Barracuda 283

theraindog writes "More than a year and a half after the first terabyte hard drives became widely available, Seagate has reached the next storage capacity milestone. With 1.5 terabytes, the latest Barracuda 7200.11 serves up 50% more capacity than its peers, and at a surprisingly affordable $0.12 per gigabyte. But Seagate's decision to drop new platters into an old Barracuda shell may not have been a wise one. The Tech Report's in-depth review of the world's first 1.5TB hard drive shows that while the latest 'cuda is screaming fast in synthetic throughput drag races, poor real world write speeds ultimately tarnish its appeal."
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An In-Depth Look At Seagate's 1.5TB Barracuda

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  • by Firemouth ( 1360899 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @02:41PM (#25457377)

    I've always had good luck with these drives. It's the only brand I'll buy and recommend to another person. The fact they will warranty their drives for 5 years where most others will only do 1 - 3 years says something about them. If they're betting their drives will last 5 years, who am i to argue?

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @02:46PM (#25457457)

    I've had the same experience - Seagate has consistently outlasted every the drive brand I've seen. Based on past experiences, I'd rank them, from least reliable to most, as:

    Western Digital

    Drive brands not listed I either have no experience with or not enough to form an opinion.

  • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <> on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @02:46PM (#25457469) Homepage

    Been a long time since I was in the business as a reseller, but we used to have more WDC failures then Seagate. But we'd get cases of both that had 20-30% of drives that were sealed from the factory, that were either DOA or had cascading bad sectors. But that was back in the days of absolute crap when everyone was in the size race.

    Things change in 10 years, I do like the current brand of Samsung drives.

  • Re:Write speed (Score:3, Informative)

    by Endo13 ( 1000782 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @02:55PM (#25457585)

    I'm inclined to agree with you. Also worthy of note is that most of the other drives in the test are actually more expensive, despite having less space. And guess what, most of the ones on the test that come in at a lower price are also ones that are outperformed by the new drive on virtually every test. So yes please, I'll take 50% more space for better read speeds and less money, not to mention a 5-year warranty. I've purchased Seagate drives exclusively for about 4 years now, and have yet to have one fail on me. Also worked at a computer service/build for a year recently where we used Seagate drives exclusively, and saw maybe as high as a 1% failure rate on new drives.

  • Re:Write speed (Score:5, Informative)

    by zsouthboy ( 1136757 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @03:19PM (#25457969)

    A whopping 2.4 MB/s (+ overhead, as you say)?

    You realize that most modern drives are able to handle 60 MB/s with ease, even the low end ones, right?

    You don't need 6 hard drives RAIDed to *watch* video...

  • by tivojafa ( 564606 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @03:35PM (#25458241)
    I have a few of these drives... they are very fast for sequential read (>120MB/s sustained)

    However, if write-cache is enabled (default) Linux will freeze intermittently reporting a SATA timeout executing a cache-flush command.
    Tested with the 2.6.24 and 2.6.26 kernels. Other people have reported the same problem with the 2.6.27 kernel.
    Tested with multiple drives and multiple SATA controllers (different chipsets). No SMART errors logged.

    Thread on the Seagate support forum: []

    The workaround is to disable write-cache on the drive.
  • Re:True Tebibyte? (Score:3, Informative)

    by JesseMcDonald ( 536341 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @03:50PM (#25458531) Homepage

    SI prefixed only have standardized meanings when used with SI base units. The byte is not an SI base unit. Actually, there is no official SI base unit for information, but if there were one it would most likely be the bit, which is already associated with base-10 SI prefixes. Mixed units (e.g. MB/s) vary depending on how the value is calculated, but are generally SI.

    kilobits, megabits, terabits: SI prefixes
    kilobytes, megabytes, terabytes: binary prefixes

    The HDD manufacturers want to use real SI units they should say "12Tb" rather than redefining "1.5TB".

  • by dhanson865 ( 1134161 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @03:50PM (#25458541)

    You think Seagate is the only company to offer consumer hard drives with a 5 year warranty? []

    It's not that hard to find 5 year warranty mentioned on the WDC website.

    Black = WD6401AALS 5 year warranty
    Blue = WD6400AAKS 3 year warranty
    Green = WD6400AACS 3 year warranty

    And to add to the fun the Black has twice the cache and is only about $10 more than the Blue at 640GB.

    Seagate is by no means a bad company but they aren't the only game in town.

  • Re:True Tebibyte? (Score:3, Informative)

    by tchuladdiass ( 174342 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @03:58PM (#25458709) Homepage

    That was due to the drives having built-in compression. And it turns out that 2:1 was about right at the time for a typical storage mix of code (which would get around 1.6:1) and data (text / spreadsheet files would get up to 5:1).

    But now, most of the data on a large drive is already in a compressed format.

  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @04:10PM (#25458891) Journal
    Has anyone else noticed that a large number of the Seagate 1T drives fail on you in 30 days

    No, not really... And though not a statistically significant sample size, I currently have four (three different brands) in use, with a single failure that came DOA due to shipping damage.

    I have noticed, however, that the 750+GB drives run a good bit hotter than their smaller counterparts, with the 7200RPM models even worse.

    Once upon a time, I would merely mount HDDs in such as way as to passively encourage decent air flow, and that did the job. Now, I always mount them with a (slow and quiet) 120mm fan actively moving a decent volume of air directly over them, making sure to never mount them in adjacent bays (ie, leave some room for the air to flow completely around them). That makes all the difference, bringing them back down to a comfy sub-30C.

    Of course, I also use to swear by DiamondMaxes, which most people considered garbage... So I have to suspect that paying attention to temperature makes all the difference between my experience and yours.
  • Re:Write speed (Score:5, Informative)

    by afidel ( 530433 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @04:30PM (#25459257)
    Come on, any SATA drive can play an HD movie, even a BluRay rip comes out at what 45Mbit/s max, that's a punny 4.5MB/s, something IDE drives could do almost two decades ago.
  • by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @04:31PM (#25459291) Journal

    I wonder why nobody is making 5.25" hard drives anymore... With current technology they could have at least 10TB capacity...

    Two words:
    Angular Momentum

    At the outside of the disk there would be an incredible amount of stress on the rotating media.
    The head seek times would go up as well....
    Though, while 7200+ RPM would certainly be out, and likely 5400 RPM as well (remember the old drives ran <= 3600RPM, I would consider a 4200 RPM 10 TB drive for near-line storage...
    even 5.25/FH that would be a decent volumetric density (equivelent to 5x 3.5" drives).

  • Re:Write speed (Score:4, Informative)

    by speedingant ( 1121329 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @05:45PM (#25460549)
    It's definitely your processor. 2Ghz C2D is absolute minimum for playing 1080p, even more for high bitrate media. Try using XBMC for playback, it's very efficient and may help you until you can afford to purchase another computer.
  • Re:Write speed (Score:5, Informative)

    by afabbro ( 33948 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @06:49PM (#25461289) Homepage

    If your server has 128GB of ram then a 256GB swap file is 'normal'.

    Only if you're pedantically following advice from 10 years ago. Swap "must be" 2x RAM was a suggestion at one time, but hardly required, and perhaps not even universally agreed upon best practice.

  • Re:BAARF (Score:3, Informative)

    by afabbro ( 33948 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @06:51PM (#25461331) Homepage

    there's a not insignificant chance that the stress of constant reading has killed one of the remaining good drives.

    You are assuming that "stress" (high use) is a contributing factor to hard drive failure. This may not be so. []

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian