Seagate’s Barracuda XT has two terabytes, 6Gbps SATA

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.

Comments closed
    • Forge
    • 13 years ago

    Your experiences do not change anyone else’s, and your experience do not the whole world make. I had 6 WD1200JBs, and all of them failed for one reason or another, ranging from 6 months in to about 3.5 years in. I didn’t swear off WD, because I understand a little bit about statistics.

    I current run a WD 300 Raptor, a 150 Raptor, a 1TB Black, a Seag 750, a Seag 640, and two 320s in my main box. I have three Seagate 1.5s in my Home Server. I have four of the affected Seagate 500s in my other Home Server. According to you doom-n-gloom folks’ “mine blew up so they all must be doing it” logic, my house should be on fire right about now.

    • TechNut
    • 13 years ago

    As I mentioned in my last post, depending on the usage case, it will make a difference.

    Vendors, like HP, produce enclosures like the MSA 20,

    §[<http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/servers/proliantstorage/sharedstorage/sacluster/msa20/index.html<]§ These are very much in demand. Moving to 6Gbps SATA will close the gap for these types of customers for performance relative to SAS. So as you can see, it's not a matter of different markets, it's more a matter that drive manufactuers can serve both high and low end with one production line, even if mainstream users will not take advantage of it. Economies of scale at work here, and agian it makes their SATA storage more competitive with their SAS offerings.

    • Krogoth
    • 13 years ago

    SAS = professional grade

    SATA = mainstream grade

    They are after two completely different markets.

    • TechNut
    • 13 years ago

    It’s to better compete with SAS which offers 12Gbps links today.

    Users of port multipliers in drive enclosures will also benefit. Today, most 4 drive and larger enclosures that use SATA , use a 4×1 port multiplier. This typically means 4 drives share a 3Gbps link. With the 6Gbps standard, it will raise the minimum bandwidth per drive to 1.5Gbps which is what the drive media can sustain today. This will certainly benefit RAID users in this configuration.

    Normal desktop drives, which are not particularly stressed out, will see no real change, except better latency on 6Gbps signalling. Besides, the pesky PC DMI link from the Southbridge really limits what can be done anyway. It’s typically a 2GB/s link and that can get saturated with a few drives, a couple NICs and a sound card.

    • Krogoth
    • 13 years ago

    I honestly doubt this drive hits 3Gbps (300MBs) in burst let alone 6Gbps (600MBs). It just more marketing fluff and BS to fool people into thinking it is faster.

    6Gbps should be on a performance SSD not a HDD.

    • albundy
    • 13 years ago

    after being screwed with the slow 7200.10 AAK revision, I’d probably buy these when hell freezes over. Fool me once, shame on you seagate!

    • Meadows
    • 13 years ago

    It’s possible that it helps in real world scenarios, but the effect is probably next to indetectible from a user’s point of view. That makes it about as useful as DDR3 at speeds lower than 1333 MHz (read: not much).

    • bthylafh
    • 13 years ago

    Same reason video-card makers put 512MB on low-end GPUs.

    • stmok
    • 13 years ago

    6Gbps SATA on a drive that can hit 140MB/s…Sounds like for marketing reasons than anything else. => Gimmick. *yawn*

    Why is Seagate still holding onto HDDs? Shouldn’t they push for some SSDs that could potential take advantage of the 6Gbps SATA interface?

    (Maybe do some serious R&D on addressing the finite write weakness of SSDs in general? Help push the market into more affordable SSDs for the consumer?)

    • DrDillyBar
    • 13 years ago

    My Seagate 1.5TB drive was fine too. Once the firmware come out, I reenabled caching and it’s going strong.

    • Vaughn
    • 13 years ago

    So basically it will give you nice benchmark scores, but you don’t actually feel a difference when using the drive at the desktop. Another one of those nice to have but not really useful features. The only thing that will benefit from this interface is SSD’s and future products, interface wise Mechanical hard drives are done for improvements I would think.

    • Meadows
    • 13 years ago

    Wrong. A 6 Gb/s interface will allow the drive to have higher cache burst transfer spikes, but of course you’re not going to notice much of a difference overall.

    • Meadows
    • 13 years ago

    I know, and they did have their blunder.

    • indeego
    • 13 years ago

    I manage 100+ drives at work (SAS/SCSI/SATA) and they haven’t failed in 4 years. I think overall HDD brand reliability has vastly improved from earlier in the decade. I never saw one “deathstar” drive fail, and ran one until 2007 no issues.

    Before that we had numerous Maxtors fail in Dell’s Optiplex line. I was so pissed with Dell support in getting us proactive replacements I ditched them as an OEMg{<.<}g

    • dermutti
    • 13 years ago

    Because they need to test their new interface and they want to do it on a product that has high margins so as to recoup the development costs as quickly as possible.

    Also: Its another marketing point.

    • YeuEmMaiMai
    • 13 years ago

    talking out of your ass about WD and faulty hardware are we? lol just because you had a problem, dosent mean the rest of us do. I have been using WDC drives since Connor croaked and I never had a problem with them, ever…….

    4.3
    5.2
    13 (last 5400 rpm drive I had)
    20
    40
    80
    120
    All retired in working order

    200
    320
    500
    1TB drives all still working as external or internal drives

    I also constantly back up to external drive and critical stuff goes on a DVD and a new one made if any additions are made to the critical files list.

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 13 years ago

    My WD Black just died, middle of RMAing it, lasted nearly a year.
    The RE2 before was a sudden death catastrophe, 6 mo. after purchase, causing a large loss of data.

    If performance is as good as WD’s, seagate’s my next drive.
    Actually, I’ll wait it out.
    depends on reviews and reliability ratings.

    PS. I bought one of seagates firmware drives, never had a problem, and flashed it fine.
    Still works.
    In fact I used it to back up my Black, just before it gave up the ghost.

    Seagate’s firmware bug != faulty hardware.
    WD = faulty hardware, and marketing lies about durability.
    There’s been complaints on WD’s new drive too.

    • just brew it!
    • 13 years ago

    Yeah, that’s about how long I avoided IBM/Hitachi after the “Deathstar” train wreck. Hitachi has been back on my “short list” for a while now; they seem to have their act together.

    I still won’t touch Maxtor. And yes, I’m avoiding Seagate based on the recent firmware fiasco until they’ve demonstrated that they have regained a clue, by maintaining a clean track record over the next couple of years.

    • Vaughn
    • 13 years ago

    Agree with Post #1, and weeee 6Gbps on a drive that can’t even come close to hitting the speed.

    Goes back to bed!

    • Krogoth
    • 13 years ago

    Cache does not work that way. It just helps mask the latency of HDD (it helps more with RAIDs).

    HDDs have always been bottleneck by the areal density of their platters and speed of mechanical components.

    • 0g1
    • 13 years ago

    Because of the cache. Don’t you read?

    • Krogoth
    • 13 years ago

    Why give it a 6Gbps interface? It will never utilize that much bandwidth even in a nested RAID configuration.

    • TravelMug
    • 13 years ago

    Over in one. Nicely done!

    • way2strong
    • 13 years ago

    I think that was his point. Since it doesn’t saturate even the 3Gbps link then it isn’t actually a feature which separates it from WD’s drive.

    • just brew it!
    • 13 years ago

    Umm… so they slapped a 6 Gbps SATA port on the thing, and — lo and behold — the platters can’t sustain a high enough transfer rate to saturate it. The sustained transfer rate of current drives doesn’t even saturate a *[<3<]* Gbps interface. So how is this at all surprising, let alone a "key point"? It's exactly what you'd expect.

    • just brew it!
    • 13 years ago

    Same thing could’ve been said about Seagate a couple of years ago…

    • internetsandman
    • 13 years ago

    I don’t blame you, after reading quite excessive complaints about seagate’s firmware I’m inclined to stay well away from them and go WD all the way

    • rhysl
    • 13 years ago

    Key point to take from this Article!!!

    r[

    • edh
    • 13 years ago

    (oops … was intended to be a response to #4)

    The big thing is that WHEN a problem occurs, it needs to be addressed immediately and without obfuscation. Seagate’s denial that their problem existed for so long — and its extent when the finally began mumbling about it being limited and minor — is what caused their reputation the most damage.

    • Meadows
    • 13 years ago

    WD are pretty favoured now, so they need a big blunder to lose this advantage.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 13 years ago

    …or buy a WD one now. I think that’s the issue most people have.

    Of course, one of these days, that will lead to a ton of people with busted WD drives, because they’re not waiting to see that they’ve proved their reliability, either. And then everyone will probably switch to Seagate. :p

    • Meadows
    • 13 years ago

    Just wait 6 months, and if failure articles don’t pop up, give it a go.

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