Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 500GB HDD

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SEAGATE BARRACUDA 7200.9 ST3500641AS (quoted from Seagate's web site)

SATA 3Gb/s with NCQ: Higher through-put and supports Intel Hyper-Threading for increased performance of SATA servers and workstations supporting intensive applications. NCQ also increases reliability in heavy workloads significantly reducing the drive's mechanical wear.

Read it closely: These features are most useful for server and workstation applications.

16 MB Cache: Provides the highest performance with increased data bursting through the interface

16 MB is quite large; some of the lower capacity models don't have this much.
2.8 bels idle, 3.2 bels seek acoustics: Super-quiet drive is almost inaudible. Difference between idle and seek can hardly be detected by human ear, making drive operation almost silent. How loud is 2.8 bels? Keep reading and we'll tell you...

3-D Defense System: Industry's most comprehensive drive and data protection system

The three D's are "disc", "data", and "diagnostic". I was unable to find out any more than this, but the use of this marketing term goes back to 1999...
7,200 RPM: Higher performance and data throughput Well... higher performance than very old drives. 7,200 had been standard for a while now...

RoHS Compliant: Meets or exceeds all current and proposed environmental standards and legislation

Among other things, this means the manufacturing process is lead-free. We're happy to see Seagate being environmentally responsible.

In addition to having impressively high capacity, the Barracuda 7200.9 is compatible with the latest official SATA specification, SATA 2.5. This specification brings together all of the various optional extensions to SATA 1.0, such as native command queuing (NCQ), 3.0 Gbps interface speed, and a redesigned SATA plug designed to be more secure than the original.

Strictly speaking, none of these features are new, but they are rapidly becoming common throughout the hard drive market. For the desktop user, the most useful feature is probably the redesigned plug, as most of the other features are targetted at the server and enterprise markets.

What happened to SATA II?

Manufacturers have been selling "SATA II" drives for some time now, but SATA-IO, the organization that defines the SATA standard has never released a "SATA II" standard. Thanks to enthusiastic marketing, SATA II has ended up being used to denote drives that include one or more of the optional extensions to the original SATA 1.0 specification, but it doesn't correspond to any fixed set of features. SATA-IO has recently updated the specification to SATA 2.5, which includes all of the optional extensions. More information here.

The logic board is quite small, and cannot be powered by a Molex connector.

For desktop use, the high capacity and large cache will probably have more effect on performance than the extra features provided by SATA 2.5. From a noise perspective, the high capacity has a downside though: Higher capacity means more platters, which in turn means more noise.

One feature that is missing is Automatic Acoustic Management (AAM), which lets users sacrifice some seek latency for quieter seeks. Seagate is the only major manufacturer that does not support this feature, which is ironic, as the company probably pioneered it. According to our contact at Seagate, none of the current Seagate drives support AAM in any way, shape or form. All of their drives are set for maximum performance. This is true for all drives produced after the 7200.7 series, most of which had AAM: PATA models locked at lowest noise and SATA models locked at highest performance.


The specifications below are specific to the model that we examined. Capacity, cache size, platter number, interface, and even performance vary from model to model even within a single product line. Acoustics and power dissipation also vary depending on the number of platters in the drive; smaller capacity drives tend to have fewer platters, and tend to produce less noise and use less power.

The numbers below are compiled from two sources: A PDF datasheet, and an HTML web page. Not all of the specifications were listed on both pages, and some of the specifications conflicted. Where conflicts occurred, the PDF source was preferred. Also, both sources listed the interface type as SATA 3.0 Gbps w/ NCQ, but according to this press release from Seagate, all of the Barracuda 7200.9 models comply with SATA 2.5.

HDD Model
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 ST3500641AS
Seagate's datasheet)
500 GB
16 MB
Spindle Speed
7,200 RPM
SATA 2.5 (3.0 Gbps w/ NCQ)
4.16 ms
Average Seek
11 ms
0.69 kg
Operating Temperature
0 - 60°C
Power Dissipation: Idle / Seek
7.4 / 12.6W
Acoustics: Idle / Seek
2.8 / 3.2 Bels

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