Samsung EcoGreen F4 & Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB Hard Drives

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HD204UI ST32000651AS

October 3, 2010 by Lawrence Lee

Samsung EcoGreen F4 HD204UI
2TB 3.5" HDD
Seagate Barracuda XT ST32000651AS
2TB 3.5" HDD
Sample Supplier
Street Price
US$100~$110 US$200

The F4 is the newest edition to Samsung's environmentally-friendly EcoGreen desktop hard drive line. Like Western Digital's popular Caviar Green series, the EcoGreens employ a rotational speed of only 5400 RPM and large platters to cut down on cost, noise, vibration, and power consumption. The 2TB F4 has three massive 667GB disks inside which we hope will give it an acoustic advantage over its four-platter predecessor. The EcoGreen F3 was a big disappointment in this regard, with noise levels much higher than expected.

The Seagate Barracuda XT on the other hand places an emphasis on performance. An improvement in acoustics and energy efficiency would be welcome over the previous generation, but these aren't its main selling points. On paper, the XT seems suspiciously similar to its ancestor, the Barracuda 7200.12. Both have 500GB platters and the exact same specified average seek time and latency. We suspect nothing has really changed except for the cache doubling from 32MB to 64MB and the incorporation of the new SATA 6Gbps interface. The latter makes for great marketing but keep in mind that many mechanical drives cannot even saturate the 1.5Gbps bus of first generation SATA controllers — for a HDD, this is window dressing more than anything.

There is also a huge price disparity between the two drives. The 2TB EcoGreen F4 retails for about the same as the 2TB Caviar Green, as low as US$100, the best capacity-to-price ratio on the market. The 2TB Barracuda XT is twice as expensive at US$200, $30 more than WD's fastest consumer 2TB model, the Caviar Black. For that kind of money, it better deliver a very high level of performance indeed.

EcoGreen F4 on the left, Barracuda XT on the right. Both appear almost identical to their respective predecessors.

Samsung EcoGreen F4 2TB vs. Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB
Model Number HD204UI ST32000651AS
Capacity 2 TB 2TB
Cache 32 MB 64MB
Interface Serial ATA 3.0Gbps Serial ATA 6.0Gbps
Rotational speed 5400 RPM 7200 RPM
Heads / Disks 6 / 3 8 / 4
Average seek time 8.9 ms 8.5 ms read, 9.5 ms write
Average latency 5.52 ms 4.16 ms
Weight 650 grams 700 grams
Power: Idle / Seek 5.1 / 5.7 W 6.39 / 7.3 W
Acoustics: Idle / Seek 2.5~2.6 / 2.8~2.9 bels 2.8 / 3.2 bels

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