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New Barracuda 7200.11 and ES.2 offer capacities up to 1TB with 32MB caches

Seagate today unveiled two 1TB hard drives for consumer and enterprise markets – the new Barracuda 7200.11 and Barracuda ES.2. Seagate claims to have “the world’s most advanced family of one terabyte drives” with the new Barracuda models.

The new Barracuda 7200.11 is the follow up to last year’s Barracuda 7200.10, ready to take on Hitachi and Samsung 1TB offerings. Seagate packs the 1TB Barracuda 7200.11 with 32MB of L2 cache, SATA 3.0Gbps and native command queuing support. The Barracuda 7200.11 makes use of four 250GB platters with second-generation perpendicular magnetic recording technology, or PMR. Seagate claims the new Barracuda 7200.11 can sustain 105MB/s data rate.

Even with four platters, Seagate claims the new Barracuda 7200.11 only draws 8-watts during idle and 11.6-watts during seek. Acoustically, the Barracuda 7200.11 generates around 27-to-29 decibels of noise during idle and seeking tasks. As with all new Barracuda generations, the 7200.11 improvements and technologies trickle down to smaller sizes. Seagate also offers the Barracuda 7200.11 in 750GB and 500GB sizes with the same 32MB buffer and PMR technology. Due to smaller sizes, the 750GB drive makes use of three platters while the 500GB drive has two platters.

Seagate’s new Barracuda ES.2 models cater towards the enterprise markets. Although it is similar to the Barracuda 7200.11, Seagate offers the ES.2 with serial attached SCSI, or SAS, interfaces. Seagate has also raised the MTBF rating of the Barracuda ES.2 to 1.2 million hours, up 200 thousand hours from the previous Barracuda ES.

Expect the Barracuda 7200.11 and ES.2 to arrive sometime this quarter in capacities up to 1TB. Seagate prices the 1TB Barracuda 7200.11 with an MSRP of $399. As with other Seagate drives, the new Barracuda 7200.11 and ES.2 come with five year warranties.

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By DeepBlue1975 on 6/25/2007 4:08:59 PM , Rating: 4
Sustained transfer rates only are something to be seriously taken by video editors and... benchmarkers.

What impacts more on normal usage is access time, and we've been stall at some 9 milliseconds for some years now, and about half that is just eaten by rotatinal latency on a 7200rpm drive.
As STRs increase with access times almost fixed, the "real world" performance delta gets the shape of a logarithmic curve, that is, we get diminishing returns and a 20% increase in STR does not guarantee 20% increase in performance but so much lower.
I don't know... With conventional RAM now being so cheap, HDDs could sport much bigger buffers than just the tiny 16mb we get.

I guess I'd rather go with 2 500gb drives, they'll behave faster, be less prone to disaster (half the plates = less heat inside and less mechanical parts that can break rendering the whole disk unusable = less problems), data will be safer cos the probability of loosing all at once, - that is, 2 drives crashing at the same time - is much smaller), and you save some money in the process.

By Flunk on 6/25/2007 4:33:46 PM , Rating: 2
It's looking to me as if the only way we will be reducing access times is with solid state drives. The hard disk industry doesn't seem overly interested in improving access times.

By DeepBlue1975 on 6/25/2007 4:45:28 PM , Rating: 4
I don't know if they're not interested or just unable to.

By increasing areal density, you need more precise motors, and more precise motors can't easily be made faster.
So you can add more caché (cheap solution) or spend more on R&D to get better, faster motors (more expensive to teach that old dog a disk drive head is, some new trick).

But it's true, SSDs will be our only salvation to HDDs access times. Best HDDs have access times measured in milliseconds, worst SSDs have access times measured in microsencods. Those are three order of magnitudes!
And even with half the STRs (that's what you get on SSDs now compared to drives like the one in the article), in benches SSDs simply wipe the floor with traditional HDDs, showing that in normal use access time is so much more important than STR.

By patentman on 6/26/2007 7:42:08 AM , Rating: 2
<------------ Examined patent applications on magnetic media for 3.5 years and issued most of the patents drawn to Seagate' perpendicular recording technology:

Actually, spindle motor accuracy is not the major limit on the speed of high areal density drives. Rather it is the fact that a more precise and sensitive read head is necessary. I posted quite a bit about this on the anandtech forums as well as on DT.

And for the record, platters and read head are usually (nay, almost invariably) developed in conjunction with one another. Only in the rarest of instances is an old read head "taught new tricks" as you put it.

By patentman on 6/26/2007 7:46:26 AM , Rating: 2
Also, the other major factor limiting access times is rotational speed, which is actually a very difficult problem to solve in the industry. To rotate a platter at extremely hi speed, it must be extremely flat and balanced. It is hard to make a 3.5 inch platter with sufficient flatness to spin at excessively high speed. This is why high speed drives, e.g., the WD raptor have significantly lower capacity then slower drives.

By DeepBlue1975 on 6/26/2007 9:15:52 AM , Rating: 2
Taking advantage of the fact that you know quite a bit about HDD tech, I'll ask you something I've asked myself for years:

Why seems to be not viable to use more than one read/write head per platter to improve performance?
I'm sure that such an obvious thing didn't get implemented because there are serious engineering limitations to it... Limitations which I don't know but would really like to!
If you could clarify why can't a hard disk use an approach similar to what kenwood's old cdrom units used to improve performance, I'd really appreciate it! :D

By patentman on 6/26/2007 1:20:06 PM , Rating: 2
Re: your multiple head per platter question: This is an easy one, because it is not economically feasible. 2 heads would require controlling electronics that are a lot more complex and a completely different method of writing data to the disk. If you have two heads on separate spindles then it gets even more complex. The bulk of consumers are interested in storage capacity rather than read speed, thus the industry has focused most of the development on capacity.

As to your question re: Kenwoods Cd-Rom technology, CD-Roms are optical media and work on a fundamentally different principal then magnetic media. If you clarify what they did I might be able to correlate it to HDD tech, but otherwise optical disks and hard drives are quite dissimilar. In fact, I think the only technology they share in some respects is drawn to the platters themselves, as magnetic disks quite often use a pit/groove pattern in the platter itself to pre-format a servo pattern in the disk.

By Hydrofirex on 6/26/2007 9:28:06 PM , Rating: 2
I've always thought about this question as well. I have to say that it always struck me as something much more complex to accomplish becuase to really see the most improvement the hardware would have to specifically made to utilize the multiple 'threads' of data coming in. Which, is to say, you're response makes logical sense and fits with what I imagined.

Maybe next-gen drives are what it's going to take to push this idea into the mainstream and make it profitable. I bet Seagate (at the least) has toyed around with this whole idea and come to some kind of cost analysis equation. Since there isn't anything faster that is commercially viable why play all your cards? Especially when, honestly, as nice as super-fast drives would be I do get a lot of use out of the bigger size for the moment.


PS - thanks for the info! \(^o^)/

By TomZ on 6/25/2007 5:01:42 PM , Rating: 4
Decreasing access time implies an increase in rotational speed, which also requires more expensive motors (as the other poster points out), plus it uses more energy, runs hotter, and is noisier. So that's probably why we're "stuck" at 7200RPM for mainstream drives.

And it's not like 10K and 15K drives are not readily available - if more people chose them, you'd see more R&D aimed at faster drives like these.

By DeepBlue1975 on 6/25/2007 8:12:42 PM , Rating: 2
What you say is true, plus the fact that today's 15k rpm SCSI drives use much lower areal density, just like what happens with the "pseudo desktop" raptor.
You can't spin that fast and, at the same time, use the highest possible areal density without challenging the physics implied in getting a data read from the physical disc by the drive's head, and at the same time lower the area that head must be able to read.
Maybe the magnetic effect used to read stuff from the plate doesn't allow less than a certain time of "hovering" over the "physical chunk of data" and then you can't just diminish the area occupied by the data because the high rotational speed of the head wouldn't allow for enough "exposure to the physical data".

By patentman on 6/26/2007 7:48:31 AM , Rating: 2
No, areal density is bits or bytes per square inch. High speed drives generally use smaller platters with the same area density.

By patentman on 6/26/2007 7:57:52 AM , Rating: 2
Most HD's use a magnetoresistive element as a read head. That is, the head has a rotatable magnetic domain that reacts when it is exposed to external magnetic fields, e.g., the magnetic grains in the recording layer of a HD platter. As the domain in the head moves, the resistance of the head changes. This reistance change is monitored by the drive electronics and corresponds to the data on the disk.

To improve the read speed of a MR head, the magnetic domain must be allowed to re-orient itself more easily in response to the presence or absence of an external magnetic field. In other words , the coercivity of the head must be decreased. Reduction in head coercivity is also necessary to allow the head to read high areal density media, as the information stored on such media is present in smaller magnetic grains that output a less intense magnetic field

The issue with reducing coercivity is that that the orientation of magnetic domains is also affected by temperature. If the coercivity of the MR head is lowered beyond a certain point, it becomes very difficult to maintains the orientation of the domains in the head (they spin randomly) at room temperature.

One thing most people do not realize is that in most cases, the major components of a hard drive must be developed in conjunction with one another, else they will not work. Hopefully my posts clarified some of this.

By TomZ on 6/26/2007 8:53:31 AM , Rating: 2
Great posts, thanks patentman!

By DeepBlue1975 on 6/26/2007 9:04:58 AM , Rating: 2
Great info, Patentman!
Thanks for the clarification, I had some misconceptions about this :D

By patentman on 6/26/2007 7:47:14 AM , Rating: 2
See my post above re: platter flatness (or microwaviness, as described in the art).

By Oregonian2 on 6/25/2007 6:54:07 PM , Rating: 2
They could but we may not pay for it. If they just reprogram the 4 platter 1TB drive so it only has half as much throw so that the access arm only can travel half of the disk's capacity the drive becomes a 500MB drive with a somewhat faster access time (the rotational doesn't get any faster, but the track movement part does). But it'd be about the same price as a 1TB "slower" disk, and I think people'd buy those instead for the same price.

They could also put multiple heads per surface, but somehow I doubt many would pay for just the faster rotational latency -- particularly if they're already using full track buffers that make it moot much of the time (just not in purely random small data accesses).

Think Flash!

By melgross on 6/26/2007 12:09:51 PM , Rating: 1
I don't agree. Access times are only important to people using databases and... benchmarkers.

MSRP of $329?
By TomZ on 6/25/2007 3:44:00 PM , Rating: 1
Seagate prices the 1TB Barracuda 7200.11 with an MSRP of $329

Just to clarify, does that mean the MSRP of this new 1TB drive is $329, or some other drive?

$329 sounds kind of low for an MSRP on a high-perf, high-rel 1TB drive.

RE: MSRP of $329?
By HaZaRd2K6 on 6/25/2007 3:49:50 PM , Rating: 1
Not really, actually. It's based on a new design, yeah, but it's not a new technology. It's only one extra platter compared to the 750GB 7200.10. I don't know about in the US, but the store I work at has the 1TB Hitachi drives retailing for about $450, and a quick check on tells me that $329USD is about $350CDN. So it's really a great price-point for the drive.

RE: MSRP of $329?
By techfuzz on 6/25/2007 3:50:37 PM , Rating: 2
Typo - It should $399.99

From the Seagate PR:
The Barracuda ES.2 and 7200.11 will begin shipping in volume during the third quarter. The 1TB Barracuda 7200.11 will be offered at an MSRP of $399.99.

RE: MSRP of $329?
By Anh Huynh on 6/25/2007 3:53:36 PM , Rating: 1
That's quite strange, the Seagate presentation says $329.99 MSRP :-\.

RE: MSRP of $329?
By techfuzz on 6/25/2007 3:58:08 PM , Rating: 2
RE: MSRP of $329?
By Aikouka on 6/25/2007 3:53:21 PM , Rating: 2
That's what it sounds like.

I remember paying around that much for a 750GB 7200.10 from Seagate only 8 or so months ago. So it sounds about in-line with their usual prices. Although, it is still quite hard for an average person to rationally buy these drives. As I was looking for another HDD to raise my capacity last week, I looked at 500GB and 750GB drives. The 50% increase in size would cost you a 100% increase in cost (i.e. around $100 for one and $200 for another). So, the 500GB to 1TB would be a 200% increase in price for a 100% increase in capacity.

Definitely not for people who don't mind having multiple drives for a cheaper overall cost!

RE: MSRP of $329?
By B166ER on 6/25/2007 4:08:25 PM , Rating: 2
WD, though late in the game, announced 750GB drives at $250, reviewed everywhere now. Pricewatch has 'em at $209 +ship. And they kill the Barracuda, only matched (roughly) by the 1 TB Hitachi. Unless you REALLY need 1 TB (bragging rights?). So the $329($399?) seems quite accurate for the 1 TB Barracuda.

RE: MSRP of $329?
By B166ER on 6/25/2007 4:12:20 PM , Rating: 2
Let me clarify: the WD kills the old Barracuda(7200.10), there are no benchies on this yet, AFAIK.

RE: MSRP of $329?
By Samus on 6/25/2007 4:14:48 PM , Rating: 2
WD always edges out Seagate on equivilent drive capacity. WD's are usually cheaper too.

But I still use Seagates. I have never had one fail on me, and the 5 year warranty is truely a selling point, worth the sacrifice in 5% performance and $10 higher price.

RE: MSRP of $329?
By exanimas on 6/25/2007 5:10:28 PM , Rating: 1
I strongly agree that the 5 year warranty is a great selling point, but if it means more performance I'd rather lose the 2 years. I know a lot of people will disagree because they like to keep parts laying around in case they want to make a cheapo system or a file server, but in 3 years, I (as well as many others) will have rebuilt again and be ready for a new drive.

RE: MSRP of $329?
By BouncerFL on 6/26/2007 4:50:43 PM , Rating: 2
I've always found WD to be less the very short term. Without fail (no pun intended), WDs have failed more frequently and far sooner than any other drive, with Seagates being (happily) at the other end of the spectrum.

For my money (and time, and heartache), I'll forego using WD drives any time there's another option, regardless of cost or other factors.

I'm certain other have had less dramatic experiences with WD...these are merely my opinions.


By gramboh on 6/25/2007 4:50:28 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't the Hitatchi 5x200GB platters whereas this is 4x250GB? That should mean slightly better performance on the 7200.11 and potentially more reliability.

RE: Platters
By Anosh on 6/25/2007 8:24:56 PM , Rating: 2
Samsung has reported that they can do 333GB per platter which should theoretically result in much higher density and speed.

RE: Platters
By patentman on 6/26/2007 7:59:47 AM , Rating: 2
I'd be willing to bet Seagate can beat that, as over the past 5-10 years they have been the leader in areal density research.

Looks good
By HaZaRd2K6 on 6/25/2007 3:38:14 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, that does look like quite an appealing drive. Sustained 105MB/s data rate? Count me in! Although they don't say whether it's read or write, I'm going to have to believe it's read. I'd like to see them get a little bit quieter, but hey, 27-29dB isn't bad. Now we'll see if they start outselling the Hitachi drives. I've seen about 10 of them come into my store and they all head out the same day. Should be an interesting battle now.

RE: Looks good
By techfuzz on 6/25/2007 3:57:25 PM , Rating: 2
Sustained transfer rate (STR) usually means how fast the data can be read and write from any particular track on a disc. It's not a particularly useful measurement because it doesn't reflect in any real-world application where data is virtually always read from multiple tracks. I guess if you're comparing apples to apples though, it would obviously beat a different disc drive that only reads at say 80MB/s.

By Doormat on 6/25/2007 3:58:03 PM , Rating: 2
Didnt Seagate annouce this drive at CES, and say it would ship in H1 07? We have less than a week to go of H1 and it hasnt shipped. Any clue as to retail availability, since "this quarter" ends in five days?

I'm most interested in the 2 platter 500GB drives. If they get priced at $100 I'll be replacing two of my 250GB drives in my PC with a single 500GB drive.

By Anosh on 6/25/2007 8:21:24 PM , Rating: 2
They are actually already being tracked by Swedish price trackers are registered to be delivered to stores some time around July 12th.

More specifically it's the 1TB version I'm talking about, the others I don't know.

By Justin Case on 6/25/2007 9:08:07 PM , Rating: 2
It's annoying how manufacturers use the expression "sustained speed" to mean "fastest possible platter transfer speed" (i.e., the speed on the outer sectors of the drive), instead of the speed the drive can actually sustain over all its sectors. In other words, this 1 TB drive can "sustain" 100 MB/s... if you decide to use only 10% of its capacity.

RE: Sustained...?
By MrCoyote on 6/25/2007 11:12:05 PM , Rating: 2
How true. If the drive could sustain 100MB/s throughout the platter range, it would still take a very long time to transfer data to the drive. We have SATA/eSATA interface, but drive transfer rates are still slow as dirt. We need faster transfer rates for this amount of data to be useful.

500GB price ?
By maroon1 on 6/25/2007 6:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
Do anyone know the price of the new Seagate 7200.11 500GB with 32MB cache ?

Nothing exceeds like excess...
By codeThug on 6/25/2007 6:56:05 PM , Rating: 2
More pron and buyin' crap. Dat's what it's all about...

Hopefully Price drops soon
By electriple9 on 6/25/2007 8:15:10 PM , Rating: 2
You can get 500gig drives for $108 now, and the 1tb are triple that. Hopefully their price will drop, to a affordable price, even $250, a nice $50 premium.

Get Perpendicular!
By CryptoQuick on 6/25/2007 8:47:14 PM , Rating: 2
It should be noted that the little bit pictured is from a Hitachi site, not Seagate.

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