Seagate is now shipping what they claim is the world’s first SATA 3 hard drive which sports 6Gb/s transfer rates – two times higher than the previous ubiquitous SATA 2 generation interface found on nearly all motherboards and drives today.
What we know about the new Barracuda XT so far is that it has 64MB of cache while the industry standard is either 16MB or 32MB and has a total capacity of 2 terabytes, matching Western Digital’s highest capacity offerings. Seagate has also mentioned that the drive uses 500GB platters spinning at a full 7200 RPM, making this monster a four-platter drive. The areal density of the platters is known to be as high as 367 gigabits per square inch.
“Unlike other 2-TB [models] that run at 5400 or 5900-RPM speeds, the
new Barracuda XT drive is built on a full-speed, 7200-RPM, 4-disk
platform,” said Seagate spokesperson David Burks. “Further turbocharged with a huge 64-MB cache and the industry’s new,
high-performance SATA 6Gb/s interface, the Barracuda XT drive is
destined to set a new standard for high-speed desktop performance.”
Burks also went on to explain that the large 64MB cache was added mainly to leverage the faster interface transfer rate: “The XT’s 64MB cache optimizes burst performance and reduces data
throughput bottlenecks, so cache-efficient games and
applications, such as non-linear video editing tools, will experience a
real performance boost right out of the chute.”
While not strictly true as SATA3 has yet to see widespread availability, Marvell, a maker of drive controllers, has said that first-gen SATA 6Gbps controllers are already incorporated in some high end motherboards such as the Asus P755D Premium and the Gigabyte GA-P55-Extreme. What’s more, if you feel a real need for speed and are on a budget then you can expect expansion cards in the very near future which add the new controller to your existing system. The drive is of course backwards-compatible with existing SATA 1.5Gbps and SATA 3Gbps controllers, however.
The new Barracuda XT should be ideally suited for high-performance desktops or low-cost servers according to Seagate and will go on sale immediately for $299, roughly the same price as competing drives from WD which offer a slower RPM and the older SATA 3Gbps interface.