Seagate 7200.11 1.5TB: The Perfect Balance?

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Seagate 7200.11: 1.5TB HDD

Feb 1, 2009 by Lawrence Lee

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS
1.5TB, 7200 RPM Desktop Hard Drive
Sample Supplier
Market Price

Seagate's Barracuda 1TB 7200.11 was a return to respectability for Seagate in the eyes of SPCR. After years of tinkering with various revisions, the 11th iteration of their 7200 line finally put Seagate back into contention. While not the quiestest drive, it wasn't half-bad — certainly not for a 1TB drive. Today we're looking at their 1.5TB drive, an even bigger challenge when it comes to noise. It has sat alone for several months as the largest desktop drive, only recently having been eclipsed by Western Digital's 2TB Green Power model. To keep noise down and performance up, Seagate has cranked up the platter size to a whopping 375GB.

The 1.5TB version of the 7200.11 has the same casing as the 1TB model.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS
(from Seagate's product overview)
* Provides the industry’s highest capacity — up to 1.5 TB Seagate was first to the market at the 1.5TB capacity point; however, Western Digital now has a 2TB variant of their Green Power line.
* Ships with the industry's most reliable and proven perpendicular magnetic recording technology PMR is not intrinsically more reliable than older technologies and Seagate's reliability has taken a bit of a tumble of late — a firmware problem has resulted in many 7200.11 drives (mainly 1TB units) suddenly turning into paper-weights.
* Delivers high performance
o 120 MB/s sustained data rate
o 32-MB cache buffer
Impressive ... but misleading — a nice number, but not necessarily a good indicator of real-world performance.
* Environmentally friendly
o Idles at only 8.0 watts, enabling customers to build low-power systems
o Meets strict RoHS environmental requirements
It may sound like very little, but 8 watts is more or less average for desktop hard drives. Also, all modern drives are RoHS compliant — that isn't anything special.
* Leverages best combination of technology (areal density, PMR) and proven components for volume availability Marketing-speak.

Specifications: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11
ST31000340AS (1TB) vs. ST31500341AS (1.5TB)
1 TB
1.5 TB
32 MB
32 MB
Disks / Heads
4 / 8
4 / 8
Interface SATA 3Gb/s SATA 3Gb/s
Spindle Rotation Speed
7,200 RPM
7,200 RPM
Sustained Data Rate OD 105 MB/s 120 MB/s
Average Latency
4.16 ms
4.16 ms
0.64 kg
0.72 kg
Power Requirements: Idle / Seek (avg.)
8.0 / 11.6 W
8.0 / ? W
Acoustics: Idle / Seek
2.7 / 2.9 bels
2.8 / 3.2 bels

A run-down of the published specification tables for the 1.5 TB Barracuda versus the earlier 1 TB version shows that the newer drive is claimed to have a higher sustained transfer rate and higher noise levels. Idle power consumption is the same, but Seagate does not state how much energy is required during seek. The new model also sports much larger platters — a massive 375GB per disk. That's about 12% more than the density necessary to produce a 3-platter 1TB drive and 50% increase compared to Seagate's own 1TB 7200.11 drive.

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