Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB
Fifty per cent more tera!
- 1.5TB capacity, fast performance, very quiet, relatively power efficient
- A huge amount of data to back up (you'll be in a world of hurt if it fails and you haven't backed it up)
This drive is huge and has a low cost per gigabyte. It performed well in our tests, and was also very quiet.
Price$ 379.00 (AUD)
You would think that a big fat drive like Seagate's 1.5 terabyte Barracuda 7200.11 would be a slowcoach at pushing around data. However, unlike an athlete who has overindulged in the off-season, Seagate's most capacious drive to date has added plenty of muscle instead: it's one of the company's fastest, and most definitely quietest performers.
It has been just over a year since the release of Seagate's first terabyte drive, which was a reliable, albeit slow performer. Since that drive, the platter density has improved by 125GB. Like Seagate's 1TB drive, this 1.5TB model employs perpendicular recording technology across four internal platters, but each of those platters holds 375GB instead of 250GB.
As the data is packed closer together on the platters, the heads don't usually have to travel too far to fetch data, especially for big files, which can lead to better performance and power efficiency. It can, and it did.
We tested the drive in a PC with an NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI-based Gigabyte motherboard, a 650W Seasonic SS-650HT power supply, and a Samsung SpinPoint HD501LJ hard drive to facilitate our data transfers. When reading from and writing data to our test hard drive, the 1.5TB Barracuda averaged 72.91 megabytes per second for both tasks. This is an improvement over the 1TB Barracuda 7200.11, which recorded a write average of 72.02MBps and a read average of 69.12MBps.
But the most heartening result came when copying data from one location on the drive to another. The 1.5TB Barracuda 7200.11 averaged 27.34MBps in this task, which is 6.49MBps faster than the 1TB drive. This means it will perform better when compressing and uncompressing data, for example.
We also noticed a slight reduction in the drive's overall power usage. When idle, the drive consumed 7.67W of electricity — which is 0.2W higher than the 1TB drive — but when it was under a full load, it consumed only 8.27W, which is more than 2W less than the 1TB drive.
After an hour of continuous file transfers, the drive's surface temperature peaked at 42.3 degrees Celsius and maintained this temperature after two hours. If mounted in a case with a hard drive cooling fan, that temperature can be reduced by approximately 50 per cent, if not more, depending on the size of the case.
What we love most about this drive is the quiet way in which it goes about its business. It is practically silent at all times, except for a slight ticking sound when performing read and write operations. But you do have to be situated very close in order to hear it. When mounted in a solid PC case, the drive will be very difficult to detect. This makes it an ideal prospect for a home-theatre PC that will be situated in a living room. And its formatted capacity of 1387GB means you'll be able to store digital TV recordings of numerous cricket matches over the course of summer.
The drive has a 300MBps SATA interface, and it looks like just another typical 3.5in drive. It weighs the same as the 1TB model, as it has the same number of platters, but, of course, it's in a different weight class altogether as it can hold 50 per cent more data. It can be purchased for a street price of around $300, which translates to a cost per formatted gigabyte of just 21 cents, and you could probably get it for less if you haggle in the right store.
In the end, we toyed with the idea of giving this drive five stars, but as it is the first 1.5TB drive to hit the market, we're sure there's room for improvement in power consumption and speed, so we settled on 4.5. If you need a drive that can hold 230,087,534 spam emails or 56 ripped Blu-ray movies, it's hard to overlook the 1.5TB Barracuda 7200.11.
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