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Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB & Momentus 750GB

Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB & Momentus 750GB

March 10, 2011 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Barracuda Green ST2000DL003

2TB 3.5" HDD
Momentus ST9750420AS

750GB 2.5" HDD
Sample Supplier
Street Price
US$80~90 US$95

Today we look at a pair of new drives from Seagate that have the potential to be quiet contenders. The Barracuda Green 2TB is the latest variant of their low power/noise 5900 RPM desktop drive, which go up against 5400 RPM offerings from WD and Samsung. The Momentus 750GB has the same heritage as the surprisingly quiet Momentus 7200.4 and XT.

Incidentally, both of these drives use the new 4K advanced format. If you've been out of the hard drive game for awhile, there's an informative article about the new format at bit-tech. The ramifications are only for legacy operating systems like Windows XP. One good thing about these Seagate drives is a feature called SmartAlign that takes care of all 4k issues at the hardware level so you don't have to mess with jumpers or alignment tools to get optimal performance.





The Barracuda Green 2TB and Momentus 750GB.

The Momentus 750GB is a break from Seagate's traditional naming scheme of including the rotational speed and affixing a revision number to the end of their notebook drive models. Instead of Momentus 7200.x, this latest drive is simply the Momentus 750GB. Its predecessors were surprisingly quiet for 7200 RPM drives and we expect more of the same with this one. Our sample weighed in at approximately 110 grams (similar to the Momentus XT and 5400.6 500GB) suggesting it is a two platter model. Going from 250GB to 375GB disks means a massive 50% increase in areal density, which should bode well for performance, too.

Seagate's LP (low power) series has been around for awhile, but thus far their offerings have not matched the low noise of their main competitors, the WD Caviar Greens and Samsung EcoGreens. WD and Samsung have a distinct advantage as they have put performance on the back burner by using 5400 RPM motors. Seagate decided that 5900 RPM would provide differentiation and a performance advantage without sacrificing noise and power consumption. So far it hasn't really worked out, particularly for their high capacity drives. Their first 2TB drive, the Barracuda LP was louder, had a higher level of vibration, and used more power than the competition.



Barracuda Green's new housing.

The new 2TB LP, dubbed the Barracuda Green, looks to buck the trend. Our sample weighed about 630 grams, compared to 4-platter Barracuda XT's 690 grams — it is a 3-platter drive. Furthermore, the Barracuda Green sports 64MB cache, twice as much as the old model, and uses the new SATA 6 Gb/s interface, though that feature is purely for show as mechanical hard drives can only dream of pushing that much data at once. The drive also has a new casing with a hollowed out portion around the motor supported with ribs extending out from the hub. The design reduces internal space to fit the new 3-platters configuration. Fewer platters means lower moving mass, and often, lower vibration and noise.


Specifications:

Barracuda Green 2TB & Momentus 750GB

Model Number ST2000DL003 ST9750420AS
Capacity 2TB 750GB
Cache 64B 16MB
Interface SATA 6 Gb/s SATA 3 Gb/s
Rotational Speed 5900 RPM 7200 RPM
Avg. Areal Density 422Gb/in2 541 Gb/in2
Transfer rate (sustained) 144 MB/s ?
Average Latency 4.16 ms 4.2 ms
Power: Idle / Seek 4.5 W / 5.8 W 0.96 W / 2.5 W
Acoustics: Idle / Seek 2.1 bels / 2.3 bels 2.3 bels / 2.5 bels
Weight (typical) 635 grams (630 grams measured) 115 g (110 grams measured)
Warranty 3 years 3 years

TESTING

Our samples were tested according to our standard
hard drive testing methodology
. As of mid-2008, we have been conducting most acoustics tests in our own 10~11 dBA anechoic chamber, which results in more accurate, lower SPL readings than before, especially with noise, and great effort is taken to ensure it is comprehensively measured
and described. Performance is covered mostly with a series of timed, practical, real-world applications.

Two forms of hard drive noise are measured:

  1. Airborne acoustics
  2. Vibration-induced noise.

These two types of noise impact the subjective
perception of hard drive noise differently depending on how and where the drive
is mounted.

Both forms of noise are evaluated objectively and
subjectively. Airborne acoustics are measured in our anechoic chamber using a lab reference
microphone and computer audio measurement system
. Measurements are taken at a distance of one meter from the top
of the drive using an A-weighted filter. Vibration noise is rated on a scale
of 1-10 by comparing against our standard reference drives.

Summary of primary HDD testing tools:

Performance Test System:

Performance Test Tools:

Benchmark Details

  • Boot: Time elapsed from pressing the power button to the desktop with all system tray icons loaded (minus the average time to get the "loading Windows" screen, 16 seconds)
  • COD5: Load time for "Downfall" level.
  • Far Cry 2: Load time for initial screen plus one level.
  • ExactFile: Creating a MD5 check file of our entire test suite folder.
  • TrueCrypt: Creating a 8GB encrypted file container.
  • 3DMark06: Install time, longest interval between prompts.
  • PowerDVD: Install time, longest interval between prompts.
  • Small File Copy: Copy time for 1,278 files ranging from 10KB to 4MB
    in size.
  • Large File Copy: Copy time for 4 files, 2 x 700MB and 2 x 1400MB
    in size.

A final caveat: As with most reviews, our comments
are relevant to the samples we tested. Your sample may not be identical. There
are always some sample variances, and manufacturers also make changes without
telling everyone.

Ambient conditions at time of testing were 10.5 dBA and 22°C.



Our Barracuda Green 2TB sample was manufactured in November 2010.



Our Momentus 750GB sample rolled off the assembly line in October 2010.

HD Tune Performance

While not entirely indicative of real world performance, HD Tune does give us a glimpse into a hard drive's inner workings. Its transfer rate benchmark measures speed across the entire disk, giving us an idea of how fast it is over its entire span.

HD Tune measured a maximum transfer speed of 140 MB/s for the Barracuda Green 2TB, putting it close to 7200 RPM drives like the Hitachi 7K1000.C 1TB and Barracuda XT 2TB. While it is hampered by the lower spindle speed, its 667GB platters give it a leg up compared to 5400 RPM models like the Samsung EcoGreen F3. The Momentus 750GB also gave a strong performance, besting the Momentus XT 500GB, Seagate's hybrid notebook drive.

Both drives have low access times compared to 5400 RPM drives like the WD Scorpio Blue and Samsung EcoGreen. 7200 RPM models have a clear advantage in this area.

The two drives appear to support adjustable Automatic Acoustic Management (AAM), but we couldn't hear any difference in the range of settings. Typically a drive with its AAM set to "low noise" will be quieter because of less aggressive seeks which result in higher access times.

Real World Performance

A Windows 7 image loaded with our test suite was cloned to a 50GB partition
at the beginning of each drive and our entire
test suite was run start to finish 3 times with a reboot and defragmentation
in between runs except for the Momentus
XT
(defragmentation resets optimizations made to the XT's flash memory).
Average times were collected for comparison.

Both drives had superior loading times compared to their 5400 RPM contemporaries, but the Barracuda Green was the faster of the two, trailing the 7200 RPM Deskstar 7K1000.C by a small margin.

In application performance, the Barracuda Green was just a step behind 7200 RPM models, being very quick in our TrueCrypt test but taking a tumble in ExactFile. The Momentus was significantly slower in both.

Real World Performance (Continued)

When it came to copying files to itself, the Barracuda Green pulled ahead of both the Momentus XT and WD Caviar Blue. The Momentus lagged behind once again, but still had a big lead over the 5400 RPM WD Scorpio Blue.

In timed installs of PowerDVD and 3DMark06, the Barracuda Green held its own against the competition, while the Momentus came in dead last. It had particular trouble with PowerDVD, posting one of the slowest times.

Overall Performance

To gauge the overall performance of the drives, we assigned a score of 25 to the drive that excelled most in each benchmark series (loading, application, file copying, and installation) and the rest proportionally, giving each benchmark set an equal weighting. Of the drives compared, the WD Caviar Black 2TB was the fastest, scoring close to a perfect 100.

Despite its 5900 RPM rotational speed, the Barracuda Green 2TB's overall performance was much closer to 7200 RPM rather than 5400 RPM drives. It was four points behind the Caviar Blue 1TB, but eight points ahead of Samsung's EcoGreen F3 2TB.

The Momentus 750GB did pretty well in the loading and application portions of our test suite, but fell far behind in the file copy and installation categories. Its final score places it somewhere between 5400 RPM 3.5" drives like the EcoGreen F3 and their 2.5" contemporaries like the Scorpio Blue.

NOISE

Our Barracuda Green sample was fairly quiet, measuring 14~15 [email protected] idle and 17~18 [email protected] when seeking. This latest Barracuda lacked the slight electrical whine of its predecessors, giving a smooth, pleasant broadband profile.





The Barracuda Green, idle and seeking.

The Green's idle whirl had hollow quality, like the single-platter 500GB Barracuda 7200.12 we reviewed a couple of years ago. Placing some weight on the top of the drive helped alleviate this, but the issue was minor compared to the 7200.12. The noise during seek was unusual in that there seemed to be two types — a faint background of soft chatter with intermittent sharp clicks.





The Momentus 750GB, idle and seeking.

The Momentus was quiet for a notebook drive, producing just 15 [email protected] when idle and barely any higher during seeking activity. The acoustic quality was excellent, soft and benign, with the chatter emitted during seek so low as to be barely registered by our instruments.

Vibration & Power

COMPARISON
HDD

Mfg date

firmware version
Vibration

1-10

(10 = no vibration)
Activity State

Airborne Acoustics

([email protected])

Measured

Power

WD Caviar Green

2TB WD20EARS

August 2010

firmware 01.00A01
9
Idle
12~13
2.8 W (2.4 W heads unloaded)
Seek
6.5 W
Samsung EcoGreen F4

2TB HD204UI


August 2010

firmware 1AQ10001
7
Idle
13
4.0 W
Seek
15
5.6 W
Seagate Barracuda LP

2TB ST32000542AS

June 2009

firmware CC32
6
Idle
14
4.7W
Seek
17
7.9W
Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB ST2000DL003

November 2010

firmware CC31
8
Idle
14~15
4.6 W
Seek
17~18
7.3 W
Samsung EcoGreen F3

2TB HD203WI

May 2010

firmware 1AN10003
7
Idle
15~16
4.7 W
Seek (AAM)
17~18
6.1W
Seek
18~19
6.9 W

Using 4.6W at idle and 7.3W during seek, the new Barracuda Green was very slightly more energy efficient than the original LP. The noise level was about the same, still noticeably louder than the latest low power drives from rivals Western Digital and Samsung. The only significant improvement was in vibration; the tremors we felt when holding the Barracuda Green were very minor.

COMPARISON
Drive

Mfg date

firmware version
Vibration

1-10

(10 = no vibration)
Activity State

Airborne Acoustics

([email protected])

Measured

Power

Seagate Momentus

XT 500GB

ST95005620AS


June 2010

firmware SD22
7
Idle
13~14
1.34 W (1.16 W heads unloaded)
Seek
14~15
2.08 W
Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B 500GB

February 2009

firmware PB4OC60G
8
Idle
14
0.7 W (0.6 W heads unloaded)
Seek
15
2.2 W
Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB ST9500420AS

March 2009

firmware 0002SDM1
7
Idle
14
1.1 W (0.9 W heads unloaded)
Seek
15
2.35 W
Seagate Momentus 750GB ST9750420AS

October 2010

firmware 0001SDM1
8
Idle
15
1.06 W (0.85 W heads unloaded)
Seek
15~16
2.60 W
WD Scorpio Blue 500GB WD5000BEVT

September 2008

firmware 01.01A01
7
Idle
15
0.95 W (0.8 W heads unloaded)
Seek
16
2.5 W
Seagate Momentus 5400.6 500GB ST9500325ASG

February 2009

firmware 0001SDM1
8
Idle
16
0.8 W (0.65 W heads unloaded)
Seek
18
2.2 W

The Momentus 750GB managed to keep its noise level reasonable despite its high capacity and 7200 RPM spindle speed, a tad louder than its predecessor, the Momentus 7200.4. Power consumption was about the same, except the 750GB model used 0.25W more when seeking. Like the Barracuda Green, the best aspect of the drive was vibration. It matched 5400 RPM models like the Hitachi 5K500.B and Momentus 5400.6.

DRIVE COMPARISON TABLE

NOTEBOOK HARD DRIVES
Drive

Mfg date

firmware version
Vibration

1-10

(10 = no vibration)
Activity State

Airborne Acoustics

([email protected])

Measured

Power

Hitachi Travelstar 5K320-250 250GB

May 2009

firmware FBE0C40C
8
Idle
13
1.08 W (0.85 W heads unloaded)
Seek
13~14
2.15 W
Seagate Momentus

XT 500GB

ST95005620AS


June 2010

firmware SD22
7
Idle
13~14
1.34 W (1.16 W heads unloaded)
Seek
14~15
2.08 W
Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B 500GB

February 2009

firmware PB4OC60G
8
Idle
14
0.7 W (0.6 W heads unloaded)
Seek
15
2.2 W
Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB ST9500420AS

March 2009

firmware 0002SDM1
7
Idle
14
1.1 W (0.9 W heads unloaded)
Seek
15
2.35 W
Seagate Momentus 750GB ST9750420AS

October 2010

firmware 0001SDM1
8
Idle
15
1.06 W (0.85 W heads unloaded)
Seek
15~16
2.60 W
WD Scorpio Blue 500GB WD5000BEVT

September 2008

firmware 01.01A01
7
Idle
15
0.95 W (0.8 W heads unloaded)
Seek
16
2.5 W
Seagate Momentus 5400.6 500GB ST9500325ASG

February 2009

firmware 0001SDM1
8
Idle
16
0.8 W (0.65 W heads unloaded)
Seek
18
2.2 W
WD Scorpio Blue 640GB WD6400BEVT

September 2009

firmware 01.01A01
7
Idle
15~16
0.87 W (0.74 W heads unloaded)
Seek
16
1.95 W

The Momentus 750GB is middling for noise among notebook drives, and its power consumption is on the high side, as 7200 RPM models tend to be. Mounted in a laptop, it should be acoustically superior to both the Momentus XT and 7200.4 by virtue of its low vibration level.

5,400 ~ 5,900 RPM DESKTOP HARD DRIVES
Drive

Mfg date

firmware version
Vibration

1-10

(10 = no vibration)
Activity State

Airborne Acoustics

([email protected])

Measured

Power

Samsung EcoGreen F2

500GB HD502HI


February 2009

firmware 1AG01114
8
Idle
12
3.2 W
Seek (AAM)
15
5.3 W
Seek
16
6.1 W
Seagate Pipeline HD .2

1TB ST31000424CS

April 2009

firmware SC13
7
Idle
12
4.3 W
Seek
16
7.3 W
WD Caviar Green

2TB WD20EARS

August 2010

firmware 01.00A01
9
Idle
12~13
2.8 W (2.4 W heads unloaded)
Seek
6.5 W
WD Caviar Green

1.5TB WD15EARS

March 2010

firmware 80.00A80
7
Idle
13
4.4 W (2.7 W heads unloaded)
Seek
5.8 W
WD Caviar Green

1.5TB WD15EADS

November 2009

firmware 01.00A01
9
Idle
13
4.5 W (2.8 W heads unloaded)
Seek (AAM)
14
5.8 W
Seek
Seagate Pipeline HD .2

500GB ST3500414CS

March 2009

firmware SC13
8
Idle
13
2.7 W
Seek
14
6.7 W
WD Caviar Green

2TB WD20EADS


February 2009

firmware 01.00A01
7
Idle
13
6.4 W (4.0W heads unloaded)
Seek (AAM)
6.5 W
Seek
13~14
6.5 W
Samsung EcoGreen F4

2TB HD204UI


August 2010

firmware 1AQ10001
7
Idle
13
4.0 W
Seek
15
5.6 W
WD Caviar Green

2TB WD20EVDS


November 2009

firmware 0.100A01
8~9
Idle
13~14
3.9 W
Seek
6.5 W
Seagate Pipeline HD

500GB ST3500321CS


July 2008

firmware SC14
6
Idle
14
4.1 W
Seek
15
6.9 W
Seagate Barracuda LP

2TB ST32000542AS

June 2009

firmware CC32
6
Idle
14
4.7W
Seek
17
7.9W
WD Caviar Green

3TB WD30EZRS

September 2010

firmware 01.00A01
8
Idle
14~15
4.1 W (3.7W heads unloaded)
Seek
7.5W
Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB ST2000DL003

November 2010

firmware CC31
8
Idle
14~15
4.6 W
Seek
17~18
7.3 W
Samsung EcoGreen F3

2TB HD203WI

May 2010

firmware 1AN10003
7
Idle
15~16
4.7 W
Seek (AAM)
17~18
6.1W
Seek
18~19
6.9 W


7,200 RPM DESKTOP HARD DRIVES
Hitachi Deskstar

7K1000.C 1TB HDS721010CLA332


February 2010

firmware JP4OA39C
5
Idle
13
4.6 W
Seek (AAM)
15~16
6.4 W
Seek
17
9.6 W
WD Caviar Blue

1TB WD10EALS

August 2010


firmware 05.01D05
7
Idle
14
5.2 W
Seek (AAM)
16~17
6.6 W
Seek
20
8.2 W
Seagate Pipeline HD

Pro 1TB ST31000533CS


September 2008

firmware SC15
4
Idle
15
7.1 W
Seek
16
10.1 W
Seagate Barracuda

7200.12 500GB

ST3500418AS

September 2009

firmware CC37
8
Idle
18
4.7 W
Seek
19~20
7.9W
WD Caviar Black

2TB WD2001FASS


August 2010

firmware 01.00101
6
Idle
16
6.3 W
Seek
21~23
10.5 W
Seagate Barracuda XT

2TB ST32000651AS


May 2010

firmware CC13
7~8
Idle
17
7.0 W
Seek
18~19
7.9 W
Seagate Barracuda

7200.11 1.5TB

ST31500341AS


October 2008

firmware SD17
4
Idle
17
8.8 W
Seek
19
10.7 W
WD Caviar Black

1TB WD1001FALS


July 2008

firmware 05.00K05
4
Idle
21
8.5 W
Seek (AAM)
10.9 W
Seek
25
11.0 W

From a noise perspective, the Barracuda Green 2TB is outclassed by pretty much every low power desktop drive on the market. It was only quieter than the Samsung EcoGreen F3, now replaced by the quieter and cheaper EcoGreen F4. Some quiet lower capacity 7200 RPM hard drives like the Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C 1TB can rival its noise. When hard-mounted, its low vibration level probably gives it enough of an edge to compete with the EcoGreen F4, but it can't touch the Caviar Green WD20EARS which boasts both low airborne acoustics and almost nonexistent vibration.

The WD20EARS is also more energy efficient, using 61% of the power consumed by the Barracuda Green. When the Caviar Green parks its heads, it uses even less power, 52% of the Barracuda's draw.

AUDIO RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording
system inside SPCR's own 11
dBA ambient anechoic chamber
, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s.
We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from
the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what
we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds
in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer
or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient
noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware
that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from
one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recordings start with 5 to 10 seconds of ambient noise, then 10 second
segments of the drive in the following states: idle, seek with AAM enabled (if
applicable), and seek with AAM disabled. Note: Keep in mind that the seek noise here is unnaturally, artifically elevated using an AAM test utility. In normal use, such intense seek noise usually does not happen.

Notebook Hard Drive Comparatives:

Desktop 5,400~5,900 RPM Hard Drive Comparatives:

CONCLUSIONS

Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB

The Barracuda Green 2TB is a compromise between low power 5400 RPM drives and standard 7200 RPM models. Impressively, it performs closer to the latter despite its 5900 RPM rotational speed, but there is a tradeoff. The Barracuda Green is one of the loudest low power drives on the market and isn't as energy efficient as its 5400 RPM competition. It is quieter than any 7200 RPM drives, but a serious SPCR aficionado might not want it in his main desktop PC. In a home server located in a less-frequented room, however, its noise would be perfectly acceptable even for SPCR. Price-wise, it is close enough to the 5400 RPM drives to be competitive.

Seagate Momentus 750GB

The Momentus 750GB has average airborne acoustics for a notebook drive, but like the Barracuda Green, it has a very low level of vibration. This means that when mounted in a laptop, it should be one of the quietest drives on the market, SSDs aside. It is substantially faster than 5400 RPM 2.5" notebook drives, and has the highest capacity currently available for a standard 9.5 mm height drive. Quiet, fast, and big, the Momentus 750GB seems to have everything going for it.

There are several other 750GB notebook drives available, but the only 7200 RPM model is the WD Scorpio Black. We can't attest to its noise level, but we doubt it is as quiet or quieter than the Momentus given our past experience with Scorpio Blacks. Furthermore, the Momentus retails for just under $100, a little less than the Scorpio, and not much more than 5400 RPM models of the same capacity. All in all, the Momentus 750GB is an excellent value drive for a laptop.

Many thanks to Seagate and the Barracuda Green 2TB and Momentus 750GB
samples.

* * *

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:



Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C 1TB vs. WD Caviar Blue 1TB

New high areal density 2-and-3 TB Greens from WD

Consumer SSD Battle: WD, Kingston, OCZ, Intel

WD Caviar Black 2TB & VelociRaptor 600GB

Samsung EcoGreen F4 &
Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB Hard Drives


Seagate Momentus XT: The Best of Both Worlds?

* * *

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