Davin

Seagate Barracuda 7200.7

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In recent days, Seagate's Barracuda ATA series, while boasting impressively low noise floors, has failed to contend with performance leaders. The manufacturer's latest addition to the line is the 80 GB/platter Barracuda 7200.7. How does it stack up? SR puts the standard ATA-100 version as well as a serial ATA sample to the test!

Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 Review

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Excellent review on an excellent drive.

The SATA 160GB model is perfect for home/office use. Above average (decent to good) performance and still quiet operation. If its reliability continues to Seagate standards then we have a very nice drive indeed.

Well, I'll give it my recommendation:

rock.gif

Wizard's Safe Buy

PS. Too bad I'm only talking about the flagship... <_<

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I'm going to go ahead and ask the obvious question: why wasn't the 8mb PATA drive tested as well? I'd like to know if there is any difference between the SATA and the PATA drives, all else being equal, and this would be a good drive to test it on.

I have an ongoing argument with a friend of mine that SATA won't directly make a difference in performance anytime soon (which I've later refined to "within the next 18 months"). He thinks that there will be a difference, and I'd just love some more ammuntion to prove me right for now :).

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I think I'll take your pal's voice in this one, warmonger. IMO SATA's current implementation is being underestimated. Already VIA's new chipset, KT600, is supporting natively SATA and I expect others to follow the example.

Remember that although no drives can reach the 150MB/s bandwidth limit of SATA you can hook up two (or even three) drives serially without major bottleneck issues.

Also consider SATA drives in RAID positioning once they become old. For that use (streaming) the extra bandwidth might help.

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I was talking about single drive performance though. I've heard a lot of hype about command queuing and a few of the other SATA features (which the 7200.7 supposedly has), and I'd just like to see a comparison to see whether they make much real difference in this generation of drives.

If you look at the SATA Working Group's site, they make it clear that the main reason for SATA is for "future enhancements to the computing platform."

Honestly, I'd love it if the drives actually do raise performance to another level. When that happens I'll be happy to pay the premium, but I'm just skeptical that it will happen any time soon.

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Guest Eugene
I'm going to go ahead and ask the obvious question: why wasn't the 8mb PATA drive tested as well? I'd like to know if there is any difference between the SATA and the PATA drives, all else being equal, and this would be a good drive to test it on.

Let me offer a hodgepodge of reasons in no particular order:

1) HyperMicro only carries the SATA version.

2) I wasn't even aware of the Plus versions at the time that I personally bought the standard PATA version.

3) Seagate was only able to send us the standard PATA version (well after I bought my own as the article indicates) six months after the product's announcement. They still say they can't spare an SATA unit... what confidence do I have in them being able to pull a single Plus from their assembly line for lowly SR when it'll fetch $100 from a wholesaler? ;)

4) There are limits to my finances. My debt-income ratio somewhere between 2:1 and 3:1, in a large part to maintain SR to the best of my ability. That said, because of Seagate's six-month dragging of feet, I felt compelled to buy the PATA drive to deliver a review to SR readers. This again before I knew seagate was finally willing to spare one standard unit and before HyperMicro started to carry SATA units. Had HM stocked them before I bought the standard sample the review probably would have presented only the PATA unit.

So, the solutions:

1) Light up SR's donation jar with contributions. I'd assume that anything coming in over the next month would be due predominately to this post.

2) Light up seagate's email and point out how silly it seems that it takes them 6 months to get us a 160 GB PATA drive when they can get us next-generation 15k devices well before release (and hope that they speed up ATA samples rather than delaying SCSI samples to get them in sync ;)).

3) Sit back, buckle up, and wait until Seagate's board of directors determines that the bottom line won't suffer if they pull a single 7200.7 Plus. ;)

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We better cut & paste the link of this thread and mass mail it to Seagate! :D

Anyway, since what's really interesting about this drive is the 160GB+SATA+quietness, I guess the right model was reviewed afterall.

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Hi,

I have just bought a Seagate ST3160023A and connected it to my Maxtor Ultra ATA/133 controller having the latest Promise 2.20.0.15 bios. (Maxtor Ultra ATA/133 Card is exactly the same controller card produced by Promise, but named as Ultra 133 TX2 by them.)

I have seen that the new HDD is really fast... :ph34r:

On HDTach 2.61:

max read: 61324kps, min read: 26632kps, average read: 46231.9kps, average access time: 14.6ms, CPU use: 5.5% and Read Burst over 80Mb/s

On SiSoft Sandra, File System Bench:

Drive Index: 36,644kB/s, Buffered Read: 75MB/s, Sequential Read: 55MB/s, Random Read: 8MB/s, Buffered Write: 57MB/s, Sequential Write: 9MB/s and Average Access Time: 7ms.

I have FAT32 formatted the drive with single 160GB partition, loaded Intel Application Accelerator Rev. 2.3.0.2160 on WinME. (I think with Win2000/XP on NTFS the results might be higher.) ;)

But the problem is: The drive can not boot with Promise chip! I have a WD1200JB and it can manage to boot with my Maxtor's external controller using WD's disc utility program Data Life Guard v.10 on my i820 based Asus P3C-E motherboard. I have used Seagate's latest Disc Wizard utility Ver. 10.36 but no cure... :(

Finally, a good drive but needed to be used as an additional storage with Promise chip based Maxtor Ultra ATA/133 card. I have heard that on Promise Raid chip based controllers the same problem arises too. Be carefull when buying if you have a Promise controller chip on board or an external controller like mine!!! :unsure:

Seashield is also not available back on the unit too. I have seen the shield on SATA based ST3160023AS based units on internet ads. UATA model is loosed that part. Are we convincing to remove the ATA controllers by a brutal force? :angry:

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I have to say I was sad to see that the high capacity Serial ATA models don't come with a 3 year warranty...I don't really like the idea of spending so much money on a drive with only a 1 year warranty :(

I guess it'll have to be a 7200.7 Plus, and hope that the 8MB cache makes all the difference...it's the seek time difference in particular that I'm concerned about - windows felt snappier on my old 120GXP than it does on my current 2MB buffer 7200.7, and I was hoping to get some of that old speed back.

I note the HDTach seek time cemal gurel has posted is more like the 2MB PATA drive than the SATA version, which isn't a good start, for me!

Please Seagate, let the next series of Cudas have a 3 year warranty for high end SATA units...!

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"Well, this drive is mediocre all around. Winning at nothing and still the worst in several catagories. But what the heck....SAFE BUY!" :unsure:

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Safe buy means it's not a waste of money, ddrueding1, not speed whore.

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I know if I bought this drive, then read the reviews on this site, that I would regret the purchase. I'm not saying it's going to cripple a system or kill your data, but really...how many drives haven't gotten this recognition?

I'm not really up for a debate on this....it doesn't bug me as much as it appears, but I had to re-read the review after seeing the "safe buy" to make sure I hadn't missed something. Even a new noise or teperature floor would be something.

Congratulations to Seagate for making another 2nd rate drive (insert icon of finger spinning in the air) :ph34r:

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Guest Eugene
I'm not really up for a debate on this....it doesn't bug me as much as it appears, but I had to re-read the review after seeing the "safe buy" to make sure I hadn't missed something. Even a new noise or teperature floor would be something.

Congratulations to Seagate for making another 2nd rate drive (insert icon of finger spinning in the air) :ph34r:

FWIW, make sure we all note that its the SATA and Plus that received the Safe Buy award, not the standard unit. The SATA and Plus lines combine very low noise with performance that rivals drives from Maxtor and IBM.

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So, the solutions:

1) Light up SR's donation jar with contributions. I'd assume that anything coming in over the next month would be due predominately to this post.

Darn, that sounds a really good idea.. :) Might help offset the cost of the drive eh?

2) sounds good as well, it's just knowing where to send that email to... It's funny how the SCSI drives are so much more expensive, yet get handed out so much more quickly.

Also, any reason why you didn't review both drives (Seagate supplied and SR supplied), other than a lack of time? Personally I wouldn't blame you for not doing both drives if it came down to not being able to get other stuff done.

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did your sata barracuda v make a "whirring" sound whenever the drive was idle? mine does, and it is very irritating because the drive is so quiet and it is very obvious when the sound starts and ends.

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Be aware that the connectors are really quite flimsy. I managed to snap the SATA connector within about 10 minutes of getting hold of it. By being a bit more careful I could have probably avoided it, but this drive is definitely not ready for prime time.

I did manage to get the drive connected up, but I suspect the little copper fingers will eventually die and I'll have to wire the SATA cable directly to the drive - in this case, so SeaShield is actually handy!

sata.PNG

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I'm thinking of buying the 40GB version of this drive. Would this any make sense, or would I be better suited buying the WD400JB, a 40GB Barracuda V/IV, or something else?

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I've bought the SATA 160 GB version of this harddrive. After reading the review and being a previous Barracuda IV owner I expected the sound levels to be about the same, but to my surprise the noise when seeking is very audible with the new drive - I could barely hear it with the Barracuda IV.

Are any of you experiencing the same, or have I received a flimsy unit?

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I've bought the SATA 160 GB version of this harddrive. After reading the review and being a previous Barracuda IV owner I expected the sound levels to be about the same, but to my surprise the noise when seeking is very audible with the new drive - I could barely hear it with the Barracuda IV.

Are any of you experiencing the same, or have I received a flimsy unit?

AFAIK the SATA 7200.7s are in performance AAM mode, whereas PATA ones are in quiet AAM mode. There is no way to change the AAM mode in 7200.7.

Cheers,

Jan

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I've bought the SATA 160 GB version of this harddrive. After reading the review and being a previous Barracuda IV owner I expected the sound levels to be about the same, but to my surprise the noise when seeking is very audible with the new drive - I could barely hear it with the Barracuda IV.

Are any of you experiencing the same, or have I received a flimsy unit?

AFAIK the SATA 7200.7s are in performance AAM mode, whereas PATA ones are in quiet AAM mode. There is no way to change the AAM mode in 7200.7.

Cheers,

Jan

Did you mean "There is no way to change the AAM mode in SATA 7200.7"? That is, can you change the AAM mode in a PATA 7200.7?

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AFAIK the SATA 7200.7s are in performance AAM mode, whereas PATA ones are in quiet AAM mode. There is no way to change the AAM mode in 7200.7.

Cheers,

Jan

Did you mean "There is no way to change the AAM mode in SATA 7200.7"? That is, can you change the AAM mode in a PATA 7200.7?

Sorry, I meant what I said. AAM is disabled in 7200.7. SATA ones are set at FEh, whereas PATA ones are set at 80h (AFAIK). You could change the AAM value if You would be able to obtain a firmware that has AAM enabled.

Feel free to mod the firmware to enable AAM, and post the results here ;).

Cheers,

Jan

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AFAIK the SATA 7200.7s are in performance AAM mode, whereas PATA ones are in quiet AAM mode. There is no way to change the AAM mode in 7200.7.

Cheers,

Jan

Did you mean "There is no way to change the AAM mode in SATA 7200.7"? That is, can you change the AAM mode in a PATA 7200.7?

Sorry, I meant what I said. AAM is disabled in 7200.7. SATA ones are set at FEh, whereas PATA ones are set at 80h (AFAIK). You could change the AAM value if You would be able to obtain a firmware that has AAM enabled.

Feel free to mod the firmware to enable AAM, and post the results here ;).

Cheers,

Jan

Oh, ok. :)

Do I understand it correctly that the PATA 7200.7 ones are in quiet AAM? Why the difference?

I have a buddy that mods various firmwares. I can ask him.

Thanks,

Kjetil

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I'm looking at putting a new hard drive into a barebone system and are considering the Seagate 7200.7 160 GB and perhaps the Maxtor Plus 9. The system has a ATA-133 controller, and no SATA.

If I'm not mistaken, the 7200.7 PATA with 8 mb buffer isn't reviewed here. Would this 8 mb PATA drive compare well to the 8 mb SATA? I want low noise in the system, but I don't like the 2 mb PATA 7200.7 low performance.

Any suggestions?

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I've had 120 GB Seagate 7200.7 S-ATA for some weeks now, if your thinking of purchasing it, here's some facts about my unit:

(compared to my maxtor 120 GB S-ATA)

+ a bit faster sequential access

- definetely noisier seeks

- slower seeks

- slightly more hot, maybe

- continous diagnostics = makes randomly diagnostic read/writing when otherwise idle, annoying unexpected muted style seek noise, was not possible to disable with DTemp..

Conclusion: It may be more reliable than maxtor, who knows, and my first maxtor S-ATA unit failed after 2 days. But now that i got a working maxtor, it beats 7200.7 in every aspect except straight sequential read in beginning of drive, and not by very large margin.

The slow and noisy seeks result in mediocre and noisy read performance when data is fragmented..

So if u get this drive, find a way to send commands constantly and always keep data defragmented.. or get other drive..

:angry:

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