Mar 20 2012

News - Seagate Demonstrates 1 Terabit per Square Inch Hard Drive Technology

March seems to be turning into the month for hard drive technology announcements. Last year, Samsung was showing off the first 4TB hard drives. This year, Seagate is showing off the technology that they expect to take hard drives up as high as 60TB. That technology is Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR), a system that uses lasers to flip the bits on a hard drive and is poised to replace Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR), the technology behind current hard drives. For PMR, 1Tb per square inch is the theoretical limit which would leave hard drives topping out at about 6TB. For HAMR, 1Tb per square inch should be just the beginning with headroom for 5-10 times greater areal density in the future. Seagate's tech demo may not have come with any timelines, but Seagate and the other hard drive manufacturers working on HAMR were shooting for 2015 at Diskcon last year, with 2013 maybe being eyed for lower areal density drives to test deployments. I know most of us will be pretty wary of those early drives, but it is exciting to think that expanding hard drive capacities might become a more frequent part of the news cycle once again and give me an excuse to free up some drive bays in the home server.


The press release provides few details on the specifics of the implementation, but HAMR is something Seagate has been working on since at least 2006. Although there's no timeline for when the technology will be ready for mass consumption, the perpendicular recording technology currently used by hard drive makers is expected to run out of steam near the 1Tb/in² threshold.

Tech Report

Dec 24 2011

News - Seagate Barracuda 3TB Reviewed

Seagate BarracudaWhen Seagate launched their new 1TB-per-platter hard drives back in early November, Seagate also announced that they were doing away with the sub-7200 rpm Barracuda Green hard drive line. Their point at the time was that their high areal density drives could achieve comparable noise levels and power consumption levels even while running at 7200 rpm, negating the need for the Barracuda Green line. It might be hard to justify the price of a 3TB hard drive until the hard drive shortage eases, but it sounds like Seagate's new drives do deliver the goods. Given that these new drives appear to perform particularly well with large files, I certainly like the idea of adding 7200 rpm hard drives to my server without sacrificing more than a couple of decibels.

The Seagate Barracuda 3TB hard drive beat out all 7200 RPM models in our overall performance index, topped only by the 10,000 RPM WD VelociRaptor 600GB. It excelled mainly in the file copy and application sections, particularly in tests that dealt with larger files making it ideal for transferring bulk data like high definition video, image files, etc. 

Silent PC Review

Dec 21 2011

News - Seagate Completes Purchase of Samsung's Hard Drive Business

Most of us were pretty quick to blame the recent round of hard drive warranty cuts on the flooding in Thailand, but we can probably blame reduced competition for future negative trends in the hard drive industry. Seagate has officially completed the purchase of Samsung's hard drive business that they began back in April. The Samsung name will not disappear immediately and we can expect to see Samsung exert some influence with their newfound stake in Seagate to push for more hybrid hard drives and increased R&D into SSDs. Unfortunately, we can also expect Western Digital to complete their purchase of Hitachi's hard drive business soon, and then we'll be left with just two major desktop hard drive manufacturers. At least when Seagate bought Maxtor in 2006, there was still hope that Hitachi could rehabilitate the Deskstar brand and that Samsung's growing market presence would prevent a duopoly in the hard drive industry.

Seagate and Sumsung

Seagate will get a cadre of Samsung managers and employees, and Samsung solid-stage storage for its hybrid drives, too. Meanwhile, Samsung gets a 9.6 percent ownership stake in Seagate, a good bit of cash, and supplies of Seagate hard drives for its computers. 

The Verge

Dec 19 2011

News - Hard drive manufacturers slash warranty periods

If you're considering a hard-drive purchase in the next 6 months, here's a pretty compelling reason to buy before the end of the year.

I must confess, this smells a little bit like anti-trust behavior to me.   As a consumer, are you going to stop buying Seagate and WD drives based upon their warranty?   I suspect they realized that price is the #1 driver of HD purchase decisions and this will allow them to undercut the second tier competitors at least until they follow suit.

It also reminds me of what happen to the Airlines.   People demanded the lowest fare, hence the quality of service continued to drop to match customer demands.   Perhaps the market is just getting what it's asking for.

Seagate's warranties on certain drives will be reduced as of Dec. 31, and WD will follow beginning Jan. 2. All drives shipped prior to those dates will continue to carry the current warranty term associated with the products.

Computer World


Dec 14 2011

News - Seagate Momentus XT 750GB Hybrid Hard Drive Reviewed

Seagate Momentus XT 750GBThe recent hard drive supply constraints caused by flooding in Thailand have focused attention on a market that had been somewhat overshadowed by much sexier SSDs. SSDs are faster and quieter than hard drives and have come down in price to the point that many computer enthusiasts consider an SSD to be a must-have upgrade. However, one place you will not likely see us recommending SSDs is in a single drive HTPC that is serving DVR duties. If you are interested in capturing some of the performance of an SSD without sacrificing the storage capacity and longevity of a hard drive, then a hybrid drive might be worth considering. Seagate's 500GB Momentus XT drive has been one of the perhaps the most high profile hybrid drive to date and now Seagate is back with their second generation Momentus XT drive in a new 750GB model. The new drive doubles the amount of NAND memory and adjusts the caching to only store read data which should increase longevity in a DVR scenario versus an SSD and most other hybrid drives. Whether the performance benefits are worth the hefty price tag is a whole other issue.

With the second generation Momentus XT we have a hybrid hard drive that has the ability to outperform its predecessor, without really seeing the huge upgrade necessary to fully negate the need for an SSD. To quantify the performance improvement over the previous generation as well as its place in the HDD-SSD continuum, we turn to a mix of application based, trace based and synthetic benchmarks.


Nov 02 2011

News - Seagate 3TB Barracuda (1TB Platters) Review Roundup

Building on the announcement about the latest line of Barracuda's from yesterday, I managed to find a few reviews of the 3TB model.  Everyone seems pretty impressed with this 3 platter monster's performance.  However, it's currently being advertised at nearly $300, so I think most people around here (myself included) will be waiting for the price to drop a little.  One very nice thing pointed out in the reviews is that this drive comes with a FIVE year warranty.  I am quite anxious to start replacing my 1TB drives, but not at anywhere near that price point!

Here are some reviews of the drive:


Benchmark Reviews

Storage Review

Hardware Canucks

Nov 01 2011

News - Seagate Brings 1TB Platter to the Party

Seagate LogoYet another announcement I've been anxiously awaiting!  My multi-platter 1TB drives have been begging me--practically laughing at me--to upgrade them to 1.5TB or 2TB models.  But, I have refused to purchase anything with more than 2 platters or anything that spins at less than 7200rpm.  As a result, I've been suffering from feelings of size inadequacy for some time now.  While many people are satisfied with green drives, I don't want to use them any longer.  Thankfully, Seagate is the first to feed my hunger.  Now, my only question is how quiet they'll be.  With only 2 platters in the 2TB model, I don't think that will be too much of a concern, but there's always the risk of a high-pitch whine.

Seagate's restructuring its hard drive lineup in an attempt to streamline its selection and make it easier to shop for storage. It starts with the introduction of a new 1TB-per-platter hard drive simply called Barracuda, which for the time being will replace all three hard drive lines. Seagate will end production of its Barracuda Green drive in February 2012, and in the short term, the high end Barracuda XT line is being folded into the new Barracuda family.


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