Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750 GB SATA Hard Drive Page: 1
Introduction

With more and more people wanting to use their PC for recording live television, storing lossless audio and installing modern large-size game files, the hard drive industry has had to keep up. Seagate are a well-known force in the industry and well respected among technology enthusiasts.

Today I have Seagates "monster" 750GB hard drive. Using perpendicular recording to achieve this huge storage space in a 3.5" form factor, are Seagate onto a winner with this 3/4 terabyte drive?


The Drive

Let's take a look at the drive itself. As you are probably aware, hard drives are not much to look at and Seagates drive is about the same. It's pretty square and looks solid.

Seagate sent this in awesome wrapping, but expect your drive to come like this:

seagate 750gb

Seagate 750 GB

The bottom shows us the PCB. Nothing unusual here then.

seagate 750 GB

And of course the all-important label stating the size. How much can I fit on this?

seagate 750gb

When we look at the connecters you notice that there is no molex connecter, nor is there space to put one or a blanked out space. It looks like Seagate expect people who can afford this drive to afford to have a PSU with SATA conencters, which is fair enough.

seagate 750 gb

There is also room for jumpers, which Seagate supplied in small plastic bag. These are for jumpering the drive to SATA 150/ATA 100, allowing for 8mb cache instead of 16. I left this on default.

Lets just see how it comes out once put into our test bed:

space seagate 7200.10 750


Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750 GB SATA Hard Drive Page: 2
Specifications

Seagate list the Barracuda 7200.10 as "the Highest Capacity 3.5-inch disc drive". Sustained data transfer is listed as 78Mbytes/sec, with a spin speed of 7200RPM.


Quick Features:

seagate 7200.10 750 gb

We'll see if the drive lives up to its claimed speed later on.

Seagate offer a 5 year Warranty on this drive. It's always nice to know that your drive will be replaced if anything unseen happens to it. This does not extend to your data, of course.

The Seagate has Native Command Queuing as one of its features. This feature means that the drive prioritises it's access requests to best utilise the way in which it is spinning. This isn't so useful for one user workstation, unless you are heavily multitasking the HDD. However, in situations such as a home media server, this leads to better response time for the PC's giving the requests.


Perpendicular Recording

Seagate's 7200.10 features perpendicular recording. This is a pretty exciting feature in a Hard Drive. Perpendicular recording allows the drive to record the data vertically onto the drive surface. This is compared to normal drives that record in a linear fashion. This means that the drive permits much higher data density per square inch. The drive platters are slightly thicker than traditional hard drives, with a soft underlayer.

Another advantage to perpendicular recording is that where data from longitudinal recording is very dense, this can cause the particle magnetic orientation to flip and this can cause data corruption as a result. This means that longitudinal hard drives have to leave a larger space between the data as if it gets too dense this will cause data loss. Perpendicular recording means that the data stored vertically does not get as dense. This means that it can record far denser data. It is claimed that perpendicular recording produces 1 Tb/in², 5-10 times that of longitudinal recording, which maxes out at 100 to 200 Gb/in².

For more info check Hitachi's site for a pretty "flash" animation on the technology here

seagate 750gb

Now I've blinded you with the science, lets take a look at the test setup, then what you can actually expect from this behemoth


Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750 GB SATA Hard Drive Page: 3
Test Setup

For this test I will use the following Test Setup:


AMD 64 3200+ Venice @ 2.55GHz
DFI LANPARTY UT Sli-D motherboard
Mushkin Redline PC4000 running at 255 x 10 1:1 3-3-2-5
HDD: OS - 160gb Hitachi Deskstar SATA II
Sound: SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS
Power: PCP&C 510 SLi
Case: Coolermaster stacker with a lot of additional cooling

The drives I will be using will be:

160gb Hitachi Deskstar SATA II (in addition to the OS drive)

2 x 40gb Hitachi Deskstars in RAID 0

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750 GB


I will test this using SiSoft Sandra, PC Mark 05, HD Tach. I will also transfer a 1.91GB file from the OS drive to each drive and time this. Each test was repeated three times for consistancy and the results averaged.


Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750 GB SATA Hard Drive Page: 4
HD Tach

HD Tach is a benchmark that is designed to test hard drive speed. As noted before I tested each drive three times to check for consistency, and averaged results. I am posting the graphs for you to see for yourselves as the HD Tach graphs are pretty relevant.

Here are the scores for the Hitachi Deskstar 7K160:

hitachi deskstar HD tach

HD Tach for the RAID 0 array using 2 x Hitachi Deskstar 7K250:

deskstar RAID 0 array

And the results of the Seagate 7200.10 750 GB:

seagate 7200.10 750

As you can see, the Seagate drive had a higher average read and burst speed than the Deskstar drive. The Hitachi drive did have a slightly lower access time, but this was not significant at all. For such a huge drive the Seagate performed admirably against what is considered one of the fastest 7200 RPM drives on the market.

* Please note that the HD Tach results seem somewhat low for all drives. I am currently investigating this.

Revised Results:

HD Tach

The results look a lot closer to what they should be. All of the other results were accurate.



Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750 GB SATA Hard Drive Page: 5
SiSoft Sandra HDD Benchmark

Here I was using the latest version of SiSoft Sandra's HDD benchmarking section. Once again tests were run three times for accuracy and averaged out.

I have found SiSoft Sandra to be pretty accurate in the past and the results show the speed of this drive nicely.

sisoft seagate 7200.10 750

Here you can see the same pattern emerging. Obviously the RAID drive is ahead of the other two, but the Seagate is clearly ahead in the Drive Index Test. The Random Access test shows it as coming out equal with the Hitachi 7K160. Very impressive indeed.


PC Mark 05 HDD test Suite

PC Mark 05 has a test suite that Futuremark claim bears out real-life performance of a PC. In the HDD test there are five sections, all with different everyday uses. As before I ran the suite three times on each drive for accuracy.

pc mark 05 seagate 7200.10 750 gb

Impressively enough the Seagate beats both the Hitachi 160 and the RAID 0 array out in 3 out of 5 of the test suite tests. It seems to be slightly down in general usage tests, but not by a big margin at all. This is hugely impressive considering the size of this mammoth drive.


Manual file Transfer

For this test I took a 1,91GB (randomly selected it has to be said) folder of High Definition Movie files. I transferred them from the OS drive to the drive in question. Again, I repeated this three times for each drive to ensure a good result. This is just a small test to see how the Seagate 7200.10 performs in every-day general usage that an average user would perform.

seagate 7200.10 750 gb

The Seagate 7200.10 is one par with the RAID 0 drive as far as transferring files is concerned. Once again very impressive. The perpendicular recording technology really shows through in writing data to the HDD.


Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750 GB SATA Hard Drive Page: 6
Noise

Before I go into my conclusion I thought I'd mention how noisy the drive is. The Seagate 7200.10 750 GB is a pretty noisy HDD. I did not have any decibel reading equipment to hand but I have to say that there was a very audible clicking sound emitted from the drive. This was especially noticeable when doing a random access test. I assume the head is moving over the platter pretty quickly but it seems to produce quite a noise.

Seagate drives have a reputation of being pretty quiet so this suprised me somewhat. The Hitachi 7K160 was whisper-silent in comparison. During HD video playback this was not so much of an issue, but the occasional audible click did emit from my system. It is worth noting also that I do not have the quietest setup and usually cannot hear my HDD's at all.


Conclusion

Now I have said the only negative thing I could think of about the Seagate 7200.10 750 GB lets move on to the conclusion.

The drive is simply HUGE. 750GB is 250GB more than the closest competitor at present. Put two of these together in one PC and you have well over a terabyte of hard drive space. This is a must for those who constantly deal with huge amounts of data in such application as home server use or HTPC/Media PC applications.

This isn't the finish of it though. The Seagate drive easily out-performed our reference Hitachi Deskstar in almost every test, sometimes even coming close and beating the RAID 0 drive used. This is incredible for a drive of this size and shows just how excellent perpendicular recording is.

At £262.15 inc VAT @ Specialtech this drive isn't as expensive as you would think - certainly that price surprised me for such a huge drive.

I cannot hesitate in giving this Hard Drive an Editors Choice award for producing a drive so fast and so huge.


Pro's

+ Massive Drive Space
+ Very Fast
+ Perpendicular recording seems to be the thing to have
+ I did mention HUGE right?

Con's

- A bit on the loud side
- Fairly expensive - but you get what you pay for.

seagate 7200.10 750 gb

Thanks to Seagate for providing this product for review

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