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Not many motherboards support new standard yet

Seagate is launching today the latest in the  Barracuda family of 7200 RPM hard disk drives. The Barracuda XT is the first drive to market that supports SATA interface speeds of up to 6Gbps. 

The 2TB monster features a large 64 MB cache, which is the largest seen on a regular HDD. However, several SSDs already use 128MB caches, and at least one controller design in the works is capable of accessing up to 256MB of cache. It is these large and fast caches that are driving SATA standards forward.
The latest version of Seagate's SeaTools software allows for short-stroking, in which data is stored only on the outer tracks of the drive, allowing greater access speed at a reduction in capacity. The company claims that a short-stroked Barracuda XT using 1TB of storage will be able to compete with a 10k RPM Velociraptor drive from competitor Western Digital.

The company is targeting high performance and gaming PCs, low cost servers for SMBs, and external storage applications using eSATA for the new drive. Seagate expects almost 20% of all HDDs sold in 2010 will have a capacity of  1TB or greater.

The new drive (model ST32000641AS) comes with a 5-year warranty at a MSRP of $299. It should be available at retail by the end of this week.

Despite all the enthusiasm from Seagate, it will be SSDs that see the greatest performance jump with the move to the next generation for the SATA interface. Several SSDs are already hitting the limits of SATA II when reading from their cache.

Adoption of the new SATA standard is currently slow, as the ASUS P7P55D is the only motherboard that is natively capable of support 6Gbps. Older motherboards are capable of such speeds only through the use of a PCIe adapter card.

The problem is that motherboard manufacturers are waiting for a new I/O Controller Hub (ICH) from Intel. Commonly known as a southbridge, the new ICH is expected to support new technologies such as SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps. AMD is also working on a new southbridge to support these technologies.

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A somewhat "incorrect" statement
By tungtung on 9/21/2009 10:02:54 AM , Rating: -1
The 2TB monster features a large 64 MB cache, which is the largest seen on a regular HDD.

This is simply not true, Western Digital already "launched" their Caviar Black and RE4 drives about a week ago and those already feature 64MB cache, granted as far as I know they're not built for 6gbps SATA, but fact is this Seagate drive is certainly not only one with the largest cache.

RE: A somewhat "incorrect" statement
By gmyx on 9/21/09, Rating: -1
By Laereom on 9/21/2009 11:11:27 AM , Rating: 5
The article doesn't say, 'larger than any other regular HDD'. It says 64MB of cache is 'the largest seen on a regular HDD'. Has more than 64MB of cache been seen on a regular HDD? No. Well, hey, I guess 64MB is the largest.

RE: A somewhat "incorrect" statement
By AnnihilatorX on 9/21/2009 11:54:19 AM , Rating: 3
I was frowning when I read that having same thought as you did but realized afterwards that sentence is factually correct.

RE: A somewhat "incorrect" statement
By TomZ on 9/21/2009 1:52:22 PM , Rating: 1
I agree, and I would take it another step further to say it is a little misleading. It gives the user the false impression that there are not other standard HDDs with that size of cache.

In the world of advertising, that type of language is common. But in less biased writing like news articles, you don't typically see these types of "weasel words" used.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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