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Conclusions
The first terabyte hard drive debuted at $345, or a whopping 35 cents per gigabyte. Hard drive prices have plummeted since, with terabyte models currently selling for between $120 and $150. Surprisingly, though, the Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB doesn't carry much of a price premium. The drive is widely available for less than $190, which works out to around 12 cents per gigabyte. That's still a higher cost per gigabyte than your average terabyte model, but much less than we'd expect from the industry's new high-water mark in capacity.

Of course, it takes more than a capacity milestone and reasonable price to make a good hard drive. Performance matters, too, and it's in this realm that Seagate's Barracuda 1.5TB has a few weaknesses. Sure, the drive's sustained throughput looks excellent in HD Tach—that's what we'd expect from the industry's highest density platters—but our FC-Test results reveal that in the real world, the latest 'cuda writes much, much slower than it reads. The 1.5TB Barracuda's random access time is also the highest we've seen from a recent 7,200-RPM drive, and its performance under our multi-user IOMeter loads was quite poor.

Fortunately, the one-point-five fared reasonably well in WorldBench, and it was surprisingly snappy when faced with our disk-intensive multitasking workloads. If you're only concerned with read throughput, it's the quickest 7,200-RPM drive on the market. And it's occasionally faster than even the 10K-RPM VelociRaptor. The drive is also quiet and energy-efficient enough for home theater PC applications, just as long as your media center doesn't spend a lot of time seeking, which is a little louder than we'd like.

The fact that the 1.5TB Barracuda excels in some arenas and stumbles badly in others makes me question Seagate's decision to pair its new 375GB platters with a year-old 7200.11 core. Even in its day, the original 7200.11 wasn't the fastest drive on the market; in some instances, the one-point-five is actually slower. If you're looking to cram as much capacity as possible into a 3.5" drive bay, the 'cuda is certainly the best option by a good 500GB. However, the drive's poor real-world write speeds make it a tough sell for PC enthusiasts who can find much better all-around performance elsewhere. TR

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