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REVIEW:
Seagate Barracuda
7200.10 3Gb SATA Drive
versus others

Posted July 7th, 2006, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

VERTICALLY STORED DATA BITS
The big news about the
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 is that it is the first drive to use vertically stored data bits. This enabled them to produce a record breaking 750GB drive. It also made us wonder if greater data density helps with performance as well.

We haven't been able to get our hands on the 750GB version yet but we were able to test the 320GB version, which has the same 16MB cache size. We tested all the drives in the graphs below using our Quad-Core G5/2.5GHz Power Mac using the CalDigit FASTA-2e PCIe 2 port SATA 3G host adapter. In the case of the two 300GB drives (Barracuda 7200.10 and the MaXLine 7V300F0), we also tested them using the G5's lower factory slot and built-in SATA controller.

GRAPH LEGEND
Barracuda 7200.10 (o) = Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB SATA drive connected to MaxUpgrades host adapter
Barracuda 7200.10 (i) = Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB SATA drive connected to factory controller
MaXLine 7V300F0 (o) = Maxtor MaXLine III (7V300F0) 300GB SATA drive connected to MaxUpgrades host adapter
MaXLine 7V300F0 (i) = Maxtor MaXLine III (7V300F0) 300GB SATA drive connected to factory controller
WD5000KS = Western Digitial WD5000KS 500GB SATA drive
Hitachi 7K500 = Hitachi Deskstar 7K500 500GB SATA drive
Barracuda 7200.9 = Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 500GB SATA drive

FINDER DUPLICATE
By duplicating a 1GB file on the drive, it is forced to read and write simultaneously. We took the time and calculated the transfer speed in Megabytes per Second.

QUICKBENCH 3.0
We averaged 5 runs at 100MB Extended READ and WRITE.

DISKTESTER 2.0
We used a 4GB test file in this test, averaging 5 iterations.

ZONEBENCH
We used ZoneBench to sample the innermost tracks of the two 300GB drives to see which performs best when almost full.

CONCLUSION
Note the slow WRITE speed of the Barracuda 7200.10 when it's installed internally using the G5's factory controller. That deficiency makes the MaXLine III the clear overall winner in this speed contest.

Of the three 500GB drives we tested, the Western Digital WK5000KS was the fastest.

CAUTION
We must alert you to something before you run out and buy the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 SATA drive. We've had reports from expert sources that there can be problems with booting and mounting. Plus, Seagate has reportedly made changes to the hardware and firmware on the drive for their most recent manufacturing run -- which may or may not address the issues mentioned above. If you plan to buy one or more of these drives, we recommend you use a reputable dealer who takes returns without charging restocking fees in case it doesn't perform to your satisfaction.


MORE CONFIDENT OPTIONS
We still feel the Maxtor MaXLine III (7V300F0) with its speed and 5 year warranty is the best 300GB SATA drive you can buy. If you need bigger, we think the Hitachi 7K500 and the WD5000KS are solid performers.

TEST SOFTWARE

QUICKBENCH 3.0
Chris Karr of Intech Software had added some very useful new features to QuickBench including the abiity to average multiple iterations of the various small and large block random and sequential tests.

DISKTESTER 2.0
Lloyd Chambers has released version 2.0 of his useful DiskTester utility. Though it runs from within the Terminal app, we like the flexibility of defining the size of the test file, the size of the transfer or 'chunk,' and the area of the volume to be tested. We often use it to simulate a full volume or create really large test samples like we did in this article.

ZONEBENCH 1.0
Chris Karr of Intech Software used some of our suggestions in creating ZoneBench which uses GUI to make it easy to sample a volume using direct I/O. We typically use the maximum 511MB test block, 3 iterations, and 11 zones (where the 10th zone represents 90% full).

RELATED ARTICLES
BARE FEATS reviewed the CalDigit 2 port PCIe SATA host adapter.

BARE FEATS reports on the Sonnet Tempo SATA E4P host adapter which supports up to 20 drives via Port Multiplication.

BARE FEATS reports on the HighPoint RocketRAID 2322 with two mini-SAS external ports that support up to 8 drives in special 4 drive enclosures with Infiniband connectors.

BARE FEATS reports on the FirmTek SeriTek/2SM2E ExpressCard/34 SATA host adapter for the 15" and 17" MacBook Pro.

Visit AMUG's review index for some additional tests of SATA host adapters and SATA enclosures.

WHERE TO BUY FAST SATA HARD DRIVES, Host Adapters, Internal Kits and Enclosures

FirmTek (host adapters, enclosures)

Granite Digital (drives, host adapters, enclosures, internal kits, cables)

MacGurus (drives, host adapters, enclosures, cables)

MaxUpgrades (host adapters, enclosures, internal kits)

Other World Computing (drives, host adapters, enclosures)

ProMax (host adapters, enclosures, complete storage solutions)

Small Dog Electronics (drives, host adapters, enclosures)

Sonnet Technology (PM SATA host adapters, enclosures)

TransIntl.com (drives, host adapters, enclosures, internal kits)

Wiebetech.com (drives -- only with enclosures, host adapters, enclosures, internal kits)

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2006 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster and mad scientist