Seagate Barracuda 3TB: 1TB Platter Behemoth

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These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recordings start with 5 to 10 seconds of ambient noise, then 10 second segments of the drive in the following states: idle, seek with AAM enabled (if applicable), and seek with AAM disabled.

Desktop 5,400~5,900 RPM Hard Drive Comparatives:

Desktop 7,200 RPM Hard Drive Comparatives:


The Seagate Barracuda 3TB hard drive beat out all 7200 RPM models in our overall performance index, topped only by the 10,000 RPM WD VelociRaptor 600GB. It excelled mainly in the file copy and application sections, particularly in tests that dealt with larger files making it ideal for transferring bulk data like high definition video, image files, etc. In tests with smaller files it lagged slightly behind the likes of the Barracuda XT and Caviar Black 2TB, so while it's not the speediest choice for an O/S hard drive, it's a good all-rounder.

It was also relatively quiet, beating out most other 7200 RPM models in the noise department, especially during seeking. Furthermore the vibration level was surprisingly low, better than some green drive samples we've reviewed in the past. Power consumption has been improved as well compared to high performance drives thanks to what seems to be the incorporation of head-parking, which amazingly allows the new Barracuda to come close to matching the frugal WD Caviar Green 3TB.

While not the quietest or most energy efficient high capacity drive, its environmental characteristics are impressive when you consider its strong level of performance. Frankly, any 7200 RPM drive that doesn't accost our ear drums or turn the case it's mounted in into a foot massager is reason to celebrate. As for cost, the lowest price we found with a cursory internet search is US$230 from a vendor on Amazon (limited stock available) while other retailers are charging as much as US$300. We sympathize with those who want to wait for industry pricing to settle down, but if you're currently craving a huge internal drive with speed to match, the Barracuda 3TB will likely satisfy.

Many thanks to Seagate for the Barracuda 3TB sample.

Seagate Barracuda 3TB receives the SPCR Editor's Choice Award

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

WD Scorpio Black 750GB & Scorpio Blue 1TB
Hitachi Deskstar 5K3000 2TB 5940RPM Hard Drive
SSD Roundup: Corsair F180 vs. Zalman S Series vs. Kingston SSDNow V+100
OCZ RevoDrive 120GB PCI Express SSD
Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB & Momentus 750GB
Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C 1TB vs. WD Caviar Blue 1TB

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