Barracuda 7200.7 SATA - 160GB
If you're looking for a generous support plan from your hard drive manufacturer, then you can't go past Seagate, which recently introduced five-year warranty plans. This shows a major leap of faith in their products, as not too long ago the same product line only had a warranty period of one year. The other four hard drive manufacturers--Hitachi, Maxtor, Samsung and Western Digital--currently support their drives for three years.
- Fluid dynamic bearings, Good customer support
- Slow transfer rates, Runs too hot
If you are looking for blazing transfer speeds for a high-performance PC used for heavy multimedia activities, for example, then these drives may not be the best fit for your system.
Price$ 175.00 (AUD)
Furthermore, Seagate is still the only manufacturer to print support information directly on its hard drive labels. It lists simple installation instructions and also has contact information, should you ever require a replacement drive.
For this review, we looked at the 160GB Barracuda 7200.7 and the 200GB Barracuda 7200.7. Each of these SATA drives has an 8MB cache buffer and 7200rpm spin rate. Fluid dynamic bearings reduce wear and help minimise noise and vibration from their spinning motors.
The 160GB drive we looked at was among the first desktop SATA drives (along with Maxtor's latest drives) to offer native command queuing (NCQ). This is a protocol in the SATA interface specification that is used to organise the execution of data requests issued by applications. These requests are usually for data scattered all over the disk, which means the hard drive has to work very hard to locate this data in the order that the requests are made. NCQ reorganises the order of these requests so that requests in similar areas of the drive are executed in sequence. This ensures that the amount of physical work the hard drive has to endure to retrieve data is minimised. The 200GB Barracuda does not feature NCQ.
The 160GB Barracuda did not perform as well as competing 160GB drives from Maxtor and Western Digital in our streaming tests. It only managed to transfer data at only 828MB per minute, which is a long way off the transfer rates recorded by these competitors.
It was a relatively quiet drive during short file transfer operations, but some noise was audible as our file transfers got larger. Its maximum temperature was 42 degrees, which is a little hotter than some of its competitors run.
The 200GB Barracuda also put in a weak performance the file transfer test; it was only capable of moving 774MB per minute. Its maximum temperature during our tests was 45.4 degrees, which is considerably higher than its competitors.
While both drives did not perform as well as we had hoped, their five-year warranty is a great incentive to purchase one for a mid-range or mainstream PC.
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