Seagate 5TB BarraCuda and 2TB FireCuda drives are big and speedy

The cloud is great, but it's not always there—especially when we're moving around with our devices in tow. Sometimes we need sheer capacity, and Seagate aims to help us out with two new drives designed to push the boundaries of mobile storage. The Seagate 5TB BarraCuda and 2TB FireCuda drives are available now, after being introduced earlier this month.

Both drives use the same 2.5" 1TB platters the company unveiled back in January. The BarraCuda comes in a 7-mm variant for use in laptops and a 15-mm model for use as an external drive. The FireCuda sets itself apart by combining 8GB of speedy NAND with the main platters, making it what Seagate says is the fastest and lightest 2TB drive available right now.

The 15-mm-tall BarraCuda with 5TB capacity is available for $245 and comes with a 2-year warranty. The 2TB FireCuda SSHD drive is covered by a a 5-year warranty and is selling for just $105.

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    • Dezeer
    • 3 years ago

    Why are manufacturers not introducing 9.5mm or 12.5mm drives any more, has thin notebooks killed the market for thicker drives?

    I’d really like to replace my 2TB 2.5″ drive with 4TB or 3TB 12.5mm drive, but no one has decided to make one.

      • kn00tcn
      • 3 years ago

      why do you want thicker if you’re at such small sizes?

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    Never was a big fan of the Cloud™®©. It’s fine for some things, like how the (stupid and senseless or downright outrageous) things we post on Facebook are technically in the Cloud™®© but upload my photos to an app’s Cloud™®© service? Gee no thanks. That’s what I buy microSD and external hard drives for.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 3 years ago

      The [i<]only[/i<] interesting features of The Cloud™®© are things visible [i<]only[/i<] to the technical people running the services in question.

      • cmrcmk
      • 3 years ago

      [quote<]The cloud is great[/quote<] Citation needed.

      • cygnus1
      • 3 years ago

      [url=http://imgur.com/gallery/xDGYGZV<] There is no cloud.... just someone else's computer [/url<]

        • just brew it!
        • 3 years ago

        [url<]https://xkcd.com/908/[/url<]

      • just brew it!
      • 3 years ago

      I wonder what the expected data retention time is for a typical micro-SD card. I bet a lot of them are TLC these days, and they probabably don’t have as robust of ECC as SSDs.

    • Bensam123
    • 3 years ago

    Bought some 8TB external seagates for $190 last month to make a new r5 array… Weird how there is still such a huge price difference between internal and external drives… It’s almost like no one checks. xD

      • just brew it!
      • 3 years ago

      You’re a brave man… I would never run a RAID-5 with 8TB consumer drives. Too high a risk of rebuilds failing due to random unreadable sectors.

        • kn00tcn
        • 3 years ago

        since when are consumer drives full of random unreadable sectors? they stop working or continue working, in the rare event of bad sectors, it’s not all drives at once

          • Redocbew
          • 3 years ago

          “Consumer” drives in contrast to something like a WD Red maybe, but these days RAID-5 is generally not recommended for large arrays in general due to the chances of a failed rebuild.

          • just brew it!
          • 3 years ago

          The problem is, unrecoverable read error rate has not increased along with drive capacity, and consumer grade drives are typically an order of magnitude worse in this regard than enterprise drives. We have already reached the point where the risk of getting an unrecoverable read error during a full array rebuild is non-trivial. It’s still relatively small (the unrecoverable read error specs seem to be on the pessimistic side), but it’s real, and it’s big enough to start making RAID-5 a little scary.

          “Scrubbing” (periodically scanning the entire array for bad sectors) can help, by ensuring that latent bad sectors don’t sit around undiscovered until the next drive failure and rebuild.

          RAID-6 mitigates this by providing an additional “parity” stripe, such that any two drives can fail (or get read errors) without resulting in data loss.

          Other schemes (generalized erasure coding and information dispersal algorithms) expand on the RAID-6 concept even further by providing configurable levels of redundancy (any m out of of n drives can fail without causing data loss, where m and n are both user-configurable). This can be further generalized to the server (or even datacenter) level.

          Until something better comes along, IDAs are probably the future of reliable storage systems.

            • DrCR
            • 3 years ago

            IDA? (My quick web search had failed me.)

            • just brew it!
            • 3 years ago

            Sorry, I should’ve been more explicit; I mention “information dispersal algorithm” in the previous paragraph! It’s a form of erasure coding, typically combined with encryption.

        • Bensam123
        • 3 years ago

        That’s what you have patrol reads for.

      • HERETIC
      • 3 years ago

      SMR drives are probably the worst choice for a R5 array.

        • Bensam123
        • 3 years ago

        If I wanted a high performance array I wouldn’t use mechanical drives.

    • chµck
    • 3 years ago

    Are they both 5400/7200 rpm?

      • bittermann
      • 3 years ago

      Unfortunately when they add flash its usually the 5400 rpm variety. That in itself is a crying shame. I haven’t seen a flash/7200 rpm drive yet.

        • Takeshi7
        • 3 years ago

        The Momentus XT has flash and is 7200 RPM. I have one in my laptop.

          • chµck
          • 3 years ago

          I would like a 2tb 7200rpm disk in my laptop. Is that too much to ask?

            • cygnus1
            • 3 years ago

            Yes. The extra spindle speed would have a marginal effect on performance in that environment compared to an SSD and it would probably end up in a very unlikely to sell high volume price segment.

    • bthylafh
    • 3 years ago

    Did they really bi-capitalize “Barracuda”? Ugh.

      • Redocbew
      • 3 years ago

      And what the hell is a “firecuda” anyway?

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 3 years ago

        [quote=”Redocbew”<] What the hell is a "FireCuda" anyway? [/quote<] [url<]http://image.carcraft.com/f/eventcoverage/31420353/ccrp_0605_05_z+plymouth_barracuda_drag_car+fire.jpg[/url<]

        • stdRaichu
        • 3 years ago

        Clearly the product of merging the Seagate and Samsung disc drives.

    • RedBearArmy
    • 3 years ago

    I like the idea of thick 2.5″ HDD instead of 3.5″ for compact USB powered Raid 1 home storage but the platters are infected with shingles.
    Hopefully we get a proper test of these drives.
    Maybe they will move their heads and offer NAS oriented 2.5″ with 3+ year warranty to rival WD.

    • wizardz
    • 3 years ago

    nice,
    now i can cram 125TB in that out of warranty MSA70 for.. euh..hum.. archiving purposes?

    • albundy
    • 3 years ago

    yeah, no. i paid $75 for a 2TB hitachi 7200rpm drives a decade ago. these should cost no more than $20 these days.

      • Dudeface
      • 3 years ago

      You realise:

      a) these are 2.5″ drives, not the 3.5″ drive you bought a decade ago?
      b) there is a floor in the cost of manufacturing a HDD? Samsung reckons the bare minimum cost is about $40 to manufacture a HDD of any capacity.

      [quote<]Unfortunately for HDDs, there is roughly a $40 price floor that they simply cannot get under. That's the minimum dollar amount needed to provide the HDD casing, motors, heads, and other components--regardless of how low the capacity is.[/quote<] [url=http://www.tomshardware.com/news/samsung-ssd-hdd-sata-nvme,32762.html<]Source[/url<]

        • just brew it!
        • 3 years ago

        Even in 3.5″ form factor there weren’t any 2TB drives a decade ago, let alone selling for $75.

        A half-decade ago, maybe…

      • Laykun
      • 3 years ago

      That seems quite impossible as the largest drive available a decade ago was 750GB in size. 2TB drives didn’t come onto the market till 2009 and they weren’t cheap.

      2TB drives didn’t hit the ~$75 USD mark till about 2011. Even in 2010 they were in the $100+ range.

    • egon
    • 3 years ago

    Usual freakin’ guessing game over SMR. This news post doesn’t mention it at all, other sites give conflicting reports – AnandTech explicitly says they use SMR, Tomshardware explicitly says they don’t, while Seagate’s product descriptions and spec sheets explicitly say nothing.

    Pisses me off when Seagate doesn’t clearly disclose it, given the unconventional performance characteristics, and the increasing rarity of good HDD reviews that might help inform you. They won’t even necessarily give an answer when asked directly. Received this curt response when I did a few months ago in relation to one of their other drives:

    [i<]We are sorry that we are unable to provide more the information than the specifications/data sheet below[/i<]

      • RedBearArmy
      • 3 years ago

      I have seen news that quoted Seagate to say these use SMR.
      They use MTC, multi tier cache. Similar to SSD using SLC cache on TLC disk.
      This needs more RAM onboard so 128MB is a dead giveaway.
      Apparently data sheets will be updated ‘later’. And yes i agree they don’t make it easy to spot this.
      By now the only safe ones are Toshiba made.

        • cygnus1
        • 3 years ago

        Was coming to say the same thing. Seagate confirmed to other news sources they are shingled. Given that, I don’t think the headline on these should say “speedy” until they’ve been benchmarked, because shingled and speedy don’t usually go together.

          • Waco
          • 3 years ago

          The BarraCuda line is non-shingled, at least according to my sources. I’d hate if they changed that with this new stupid naming scheme.

            • cygnus1
            • 3 years ago

            Pretty sure all the 2.5″ drives involved in this announcement are all based on the same platter media. Which means all those Cuda’s are shingled.

            • Waco
            • 3 years ago

            That’s not how the tech works. The platters are no different.

            I’ll try to clarify with my vendors.

            • cygnus1
            • 3 years ago

            Please do find out. I’m curious, as it was my understanding that the recording method had to be the same for a given platter design. I thought it was basically an intrinsic feature of the specific platter tech and didn’t think they could just change the head or the firmware or something other than the platter itself to change the recording method. Definitely not exactly a detail easily discerned from product announcement press releases.

            • Waco
            • 3 years ago

            Oh I know for sure it’s the same platters. The heads/firmware are what change.

            I just want to confirm the 5 TB drive is PMR.

            • cygnus1
            • 3 years ago

            I really wish they’d be consistent with labeling. Technically they’re both PMR, shingled or not. It’s such a disservice to customers to not clearly indicate when it’s shingled and thus requires copy on write to function.

            • just brew it!
            • 3 years ago

            My understanding is that it is fixed for a given platter/head design [i<]for a given capacity[/i<]. Move the tracks on an SMR drive further apart and you have a non-SMR drive (at a lower capacity). It's determined by where you put the tracks on the media, and what assumptions the firmware makes about inter-track interference when writing.

            • cygnus1
            • 3 years ago

            Yeah, that’s how I understood it. If it takes SMR type recording to hit a density on a given platter, you can’t suddenly tweak a few things and have it only use PMR. Not without a reduction in density.

            If the 2TB and 5TB were both 15mm with the same number of platters, I’d feel safe assuming they had different recording tech since that’d be a drastic difference of density. But unfortunately the 2TB model is less than half the physical size of the 5TB and they’re using identical platters/heads. So since both these drives are released at the same time with the identically dense (1TB – 1300 Gb/sq in) platters, chances are, since one is confirmed to be SMR, they’re both SMR.

            I’m curious to hear what Waco finds out from his vendor contacts but I have no doubt they’re both SMR. Both because of the logic above and what’s been confirmed and reported on other, also very reputable, news sites.

            • Waco
            • 3 years ago

            Neither are SMR based on my inquiries. The bigger drive has more platters in it, that’s how it’s more dense. Same platter tech, just more of them.

            EDIT: Man, I get conflicting information all over the net. I see the BarraCuda drives as both shingled and not. I see FireCuda drives as both shingled and not. My contacts say they (the BarraCuda drives) are not shingled. This is why these things should be properly labeled!

        • Waco
        • 3 years ago

        “MTC” is standard on all HDDs from Seagate. It’s their catch-all for any amount of caching that isn’t direct to disk.

      • freebird
      • 3 years ago

      An article I read about the FireCuda 2TB said it DOES use SMR with the 8GB of NAND to buffer writes and smooth out write performance. So if the the 5GB drive uses platters of the same SIZE & DENSITY… they are SMR also.

      Article was at TechPowerup…
      [url<]https://www.techpowerup.com/227128/seagate-introduces-the-5th-gen-firecuda-sshds-up-to-2-tb-8gb-nand[/url<]

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