Western Digital has slowly massaged its desktop hard drives into three categories: high-performance Black drives, mainstream Blue models, and energy-efficient Greens. Seagate has now followed suit with a three-tiered approach of its own, with the Barracuda LP covering the low-power crowd, the Barracuda 7200 filling in for the bulk of the market, and a new high-end XT variant for gamers and enthusiasts.
The first and so far only member of the Barracuda XT family is a 2TB model packed with 500GB platters spinning at 7,200 RPM. Although there are twice as many this time around, the platters are similar to the media Seagate used in its 1TB Barracuda 7200.12. The XT has been bumped up to 64MB of cache and a five-year warranty, though.
So far, the XT's specs look similar to those of the Caviar Black 2TB that Western Digital announced earlier this month. However, the Barracuda has an ace up its sleeve: support for 6Gbps host-to-disk transfer rates. Seagate has equipped its latest flagship to handle next-gen SATA transfer rates, and it says the XT's cache is fast enough to take advantage of the additional bandwidth. Unfortunately, the new drive's physical media isn't; Seagate quotes a maximum sustained data rate of around 140MB/s for the new 'cuda.
With a suggested retail price of a penny under $300, the Barracuda XT won't be cheap. But then it shouldn't cost more than the 2TB Caviar Black, which has the same official asking price. Seagate says the Barracuda XT starts shipping to the distribution channel today. We'll have a full review just as soon as we can get our hands on a drive.