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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 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).

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