The features list for Seagate’s 500GB 7200.9 Barracuda is impressive. For a 500GB hard drive, Seagate’s got all their bases covered and then some:
|Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 500GB Specs|
|Avg Seek Time||8.5ms|
|Spindle Speed||7200 RPM|
|Max Transfer Rate||300MB/sec|
|Cache Size||16MB (for 500GB model)|
|Platter Size||125GB (for 500GB model)|
|Capacities||80, 120, 160, 200, 250, 300, 400, 500GB|
|Idle Acoustics||2.8 bels|
|Idle Power Consumption||6.9W|
|Seek Power Consumption||8.1W|
|Warranty Length||5 years|
As you can see, the Barracuda 7200.9 500GBsupports all the key features found in today’s latest hard drives, including 300MB/sec Serial ATA and NCQ support. The drive also spins at 7,200RPMs, and features a 16MB cache. The 7200.9 500GB sports a 125GB platter size, with the drive consisting of four 125GB platters.
So how does the Barracuda 7200.9 match up the competition? It’s closest competitor, the 500GB Hitachi 7K500 also boasts 300MB/sec transfer rates, and while no hard drive has ever come close to sustaining 300MB/sec, it is a feature most enthusiasts look for in a hard drive. The 7K500 also contains a 16MB buffer and spins at 7,200RPMs, just like the 7200.9, only its platter density is only 100GB per platter, with the drive containing five 100GB platters for a total of 500GB. In theory, with one extra platter in the 7K500, the drives performance suffers (assuming everything else remains equal) as the drive’s head has access to less data from the same physical area.
The 7K500 also lists slightly higher acoustics, at 3.1 bels versus 2.8 on the 7200.9, and is limited to a 3-year warranty, so the Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 provides and extra two years of warranty coverage. This may be an important consideration for a lot of folks, as hard drives tend to be longer term purchases than say video cards or CPUs, as you can usually migrate a hard drive from one PC to another with little or no hassles. AMD and Intel tend to change out processor sockets every 2-3 years (give or take a year or two), while ATI and NVIDIA’s graphics card cycles are notoriously short-lived.
Before we move on, it’s important to note that the specifications for Seagate’s 7200.9 line vary by capacity, for instance, smaller drives of 250GB or less only come with 16MB caches, platter size also varies by model and ranges from 100GB per platter (on the 100GB and 200GB drives) all the way up to 160GB per platter (on the 160GB drive only). The drive can also be found for the ATA/100 interface in addition to Serial ATA.