|Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB Hard Drive ST33000651AS|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 28 March 2011|
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3TB Seagate Barracuda XT ST33000651AS Review
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Seagate.
Everyone knows that SSDs cannot offer the capacity of a hard drive, and HDDs will never deliver solid state response time. Somewhere between the speed of Solid State Drive technology and the reliability of value-priced Hard Disk storage is the Seagate Barracuda XT. The Seagate Barracuda XT series is designed for performance computer enthusiasts, as well as large-capacity storage systems. Enthusiast tools such as the free Seagate SeaTools software allows users to custom-define firmware parameters to enable performance features such as 'Short Stroke' and noise reduction. Featuring the industry's largest 3TB capacity and third-generation SATA 6Gb/s controller interface, the Seagate Barracuda XT is also the first product to create a Windows XP-safe software solution for overcoming the 2TB barrier. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the 3TB Seagate Barracuda XT hard drive, model ST33000651AS, against a cross-section of competing storage products using the native SATA-III controller present on the Intel P67 platform.
Back on 21 September 2009, Seagate Technology was the first manufacturer to offer a SATA 6Gb/s (aka SATA-III) hard drive product with the industry's largest 64MB cache buffer. At its time, the 2TB Seagate Barracuda XT ST32000641AS was an impressive leap for high-density mechanical storage devices; primarily because it offered tremendous capacity along side commendable performance levels. Launching just over a year later, the 3TB version offers all of the same benefits of that made the series popular, but improves transfer speed performance while including free software to take Seagate drives beyond the 2TB limitation. Early adopters of the SATA 6Gb/s interface will appreciate the high-bandwidth transfer speeds that all high-capacity Seagate Barracuda XT-series storage solutions provide. Seagate has pleased enthusiasts and gamers with a 64MB cache buffer; the largest DRAM buffer on any commercial hard drive on the consumer market.
But while both versions of the drive share similarities, there have also been a few industry changes since the 2TB Barracuda XT was originally unveiled. At its launch, the Seagate ST32000641AS sold for roughly $0.16 per gigabyte of storage. Now beefed up a fifth storage platter to reach 3TB, the Seagate Barracuda XT ST33000651AS sells for $.08 per gigabyte of storage. Both continue to share a 368 Gb/square inch aerial density with 512 Bytes per sector, but differ in their energy usage. The 2TB Barracuda XT requires 2.8A of power at startup, whereas the new 3TB model uses only 2A of startup current. Combined improvements to burst rate and sustained bandwidth will mark a substantial improvement to the design of Hard Disk Drive (HDD) storage products, and could give Solid State Drive (SSD) components serious competition.
What to expect from SATA 6Gb/s hard drives: