Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 500GB HDD

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November 21, 2005 by Devon Cooke


Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 ST3500641AS
500GB 7200 RPM hard drive



Market Price

What would you do with half a terabyte of storage? No, this isn't a hypothetical question like "What would you do if you won half a billion dollars?"; you can actually buy a drive with that much storage. Seagate recently announced the latest revision of their desktop series, the Barracuda 7200.9 with capacities ranging up to 500GB. This Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 joins Hitachi and Maxtor offerings at the same capacity.

Let's put that in perspective. 500GB is 500,000,000,000 bytes. You can fit a lot of data into 500 billion bytes:

  • 125,000,000,000 text characters using the standard Unicode character set
  • 20,833,333,333 six character words
  • 121,494 copies of every word in the Oxford English Dictionary (assuming an average of six characters per word)
  • 23,555 copies of the complete works of William Shakespeare
  • About one year of continuously playing mp3 files, or 130,208 four minute songs (compressed at 128 kbps)
  • About one month of continuously playing AVI video files (compressed at 1365 kbps)
  • About four hours of uncompressed, broadcast quality video footage (yes, only four hours!)
  • 465 Gigabytes, as calculated by Windows, not the PR folks at Seagate

So, aside from operating a broadcast TV station out of your basement, what does Seagate expect you to do with all this storage? How about "digital video editing and production, CAD/CAM, and data and image analysis"? Somehow, I can't shake the feeling they're missing something. How does collecting episodes of your favorite TV shows sound? I'm sure Seagate is aware that many of these drives will be used to collect massive amounts of TV footage.

From the acoustic point of view, assuming similar noise levels, one capacious drive to replace two or more smaller drives is preferable. The amount of heat in a system also drops with fewer drives, making the whole system easier to cool with lower airflow (and reduced concomitant noise) so for users who seek to use a PC as a media center full of large files, high capacity drives do make sense.

Aside from the writing on the label, the top face looks no different from the old Barracuda IV in our lab.

For some reason, our sample of the 7200.9 was labeled a 7200.8. That's odd, a 500GB 7200.8? After double checking the model number and the capacity of the drive to make sure Seagate had in fact sent us the right drive, we came to the conclusion that it was a typo. Looks like whoever wrote the label screwed up. Seagate did confirm this error, which apparently happened only with a small number of initial samples.

Better double check the model number ¬ó The label lists our drive as a Barracuda 7200.8.

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