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Written by Olin Coles   
Friday, 04 December 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
Seagate Barracuda XT Hard Drive ST32000641AS
Features and Specifications
Drive Testing Methodology
Seagate Barracuda XT: SATA 3G vs 6G
Basic IO Bandwidth
Random Access IOPS Tests
I/O Response Time
Sequential Performance Tests
Buffered Transaction Speed
Desktop Storage Final Thoughts
Seagate Barracuda XT Conclusion

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.

Seagate_Barracuda-XT_6Gbps_SATA-III_Hard-Drive_ST32000641AS.jpg

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.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: Seagate Barracuda XT Hard Drive ST32000641ASStas 2010-02-22 05:34
Bad SATA 6G performance is not Seagate fault - it's a result of the use of Marvell chip, that shows better than SATA I+ resuls only in a pair wirh Marvell drive controllers (not alwais, though).

Think with any SAS 6G HBA the drive will show much better results.
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# Thanksmorisbecon 2010-02-27 19:39
Thanks for the nice post.
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# small correctiontwk 2010-10-23 05:23
The IOPS graph for the ssd isn't correct, the numbers displayed in the chart are those of the 2TB drive and no the SSD. The numbers in the article appear correct however the image is erroneous.

Good article though.
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