|Seagate Barracuda XT Hard Drive ST32000641AS|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Friday, 04 December 2009|
Page 10 of 11
Desktop Storage Final Thoughts
It's still too early to tell if or when HDDs will be replaced with SSDs, although basic wisdom indicates that both will be favored among their intended markets for a few years to come. Personally speaking, I have been a fan of SSD technology from the beginning; but even I can acquiesce to Seagate and WD product road maps for the short term future. SSDs can't possibly touch the value and capacity delivered by HDDs, and that's not something that will soon change.
There's no argument that HDDs still capture the capacity-hungry market segment; especially since SSDs cannot compete there. But the premium high-performance desktop storage enthusiast market is losing patience with Hard Disk Drive technology, and as a result those consumers are turning towards Solid State Drive technology in large numbers. This is exactly why the new SATA-III 6Gb/s interface and 64MB cache buffer was so important to desktop storage technology, and delivered at exactly the right time. Sure, this new bump in performance will add considerable boost to the HDD market, but at the same time it's no surprise that premier names in the industry have also invested in their own SSD solutions.
Benchmark Reviews expects to have a Seagate Barracuda XT product sample in October (2009), and we'll soon see just exactly how much more the new 6.0 GB/s interface adds to sustained file transfers on our ASUS P7P55D Premium test motherboard. There's no question that the increase from 32- to 64MB of internal cache buffer will improve the drives overall quickness, but which deserves the credit: 64MB cache or SATA-III 6Gbps? Seagate's David Burks explained that both are to be thanked. Cache gives the biggest boost, but once that cache is saturated with file(s), the larger bandwidth pipeline helps to transfer files to and from the disk. Furthermore, enthusiasts can 'short-stroke' the drive to make use of only the outer platter by using Seagate's SeaTools software.
Currently the Seagate SeaTools software only allows users to define a Logical Block Address (LBA) range, which can then be saved onto the drive's firmware. As of now this process requires an enthusiast to understand the total capacity of their drive in order to assign a short-stroke setting, but Seagate already has enthusiast how-to guides in the works. Taking a moment to step back and view the big picture, this could be Seagate's last stab at competing against the 10,000RPM WD VelociRaptor before launching their own SSD product line.