5900rpm Seagate Hard Drives: Barracuda LP, Pipeline HD .2

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With the LP and the second generation Pipeline HD drives, Seagate offers a solid third choice to consumers looking for quiet, energy efficient hard disks. The three models tested here shine in two areas in particular. Compared to the WD Caviar Green and Samsung EcoGreen series, the Seagates drives run a bit snappier with noticeably higher read speeds and lower random access times (except for the 500GB Pipeline HD .2). They also excel when idle — more or less matching the noise level of the competition, while consuming less energy. These drives are less desirable when they're seeking however — in that state, our 2TB Caviar Green sample proved to be quieter than both the 2TB Barracuda LP and 1TB Pipeline HD .2.

If noise is important, but capacity is not, the 1-platter 500GB 2nd generation Pipeline is a clear winner. Compared to the 500GB Samsung EcoGreen, idle noise is slightly higher as is seek power usage, but it sports higher read speeds and the seek noise is much softer. In a very quiet system, a seeking hard drive may be the only audible noise, so this can be a significant factor to consider. Obviously in such a situation a solid state drive would be ideal, but for many users SSDs are simply too expensive and don't offer enough capacity. Unfortunately, the distribution of Seagate Pipeline HD drives does not appear great at the moment. Hopefully, they will become more widely available in time.

The 2TB Barracuda LP also has faster read speeds than its main competitor, the 2TB Caviar Green, but can't meet its lofty noise, vibration, and energy usage levels. However, its lower price could be compelling. At $175 it comes close to 1TB drives in terms of cost per byte, and $30 less than the WD Green. If you require multiple 2TB drives, the total savings could be substantial. It's not the best drive acoustically, but still very quiet, and in a file server or NAS far away from your ears, the noise characteristics make little difference.

Many thanks Seagate for the review samples.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
SPCR's Hard Drive Testing Methodology
SPCR's Recommended Hard Drives
Samsung F2 EcoGreen HD502HI: Silent 500GB 3.5" HDD
WD Caviar Green 2TB & Seagate Pipeline HD 500GB
Momentus 5400.6 & Scorpio Blue: Seagate & WD 2.5" HDDs at 500GB
Seagate Pipeline HD Pro 1TB Hard Drive
Seagate 7200.11 1.5TB: The Perfect Balance?
WD and Seagate take steps to fix terabyte drives

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