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Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB
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by Rob Williams on September 11, 2006 in Hard Drives

Though there are larger drives available, they do not fit into everyones budget. Simply going from 500GB to 320GB cuts the price in half, which makes this almost a steal. We will compare with one of our recently reviewed 500GB drives and see how it stacks up.

Introduction


“I need more storage” is something I seem to say with each year that passes. I am sure I am not alone in this. Only a few years ago, 100GB proved to be enough storage for most anyone, but then the digital explosion occurred. DVD backups, 20,000 music files, games that have 10GB installs, et cetera. Many resort to burning their goods and grabbing them when they need, instead of keeping them on the hard drive due to lack of space.

This is becoming less and less of a requirement though since storage prices are so low now, that you could pick up a couple huge storage drives for the price of a midrange video card. As I mentioned in the intro, there are 500GB and 750GB drives available, but they retail for $259.99US and $399.99US, respectively. These are great prices. When we reviewed the 750GB in May, it retailed for $499.99US, so there is an instant 20% drop in price. These large capacity drives though are designed really for people who want the -most- storage space in the smallest area. IE: 1TB with two drives as opposed to three. Video production or some other intensive multi-media processes come to mind.

What about the regular Joe, though? I am one of those people who does have quite a large music collection, but I’m also a budget shopper so I don’t mind getting a smaller drive if the price is right. I have mentioned that the 500GB version of this drive retails for $259.99US, or $0.52 per GB. The 320GB we are looking at today retails for $94.99US, or $0.30 per GB. That’s quite a substantial savings! To put things in perspective, for the same price as a single 750GB drive, you could pick up four of these for 1.28TB in a RAID configuration if you wish. That’s a -lot- of storage for such a low price! Great times in the storage market!

For some though, price doesn’t matter that much if the performance is sluggish. That’s one thing we will touch on in this review. I will be comparing this drive to the recently reviewed Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200.9.

Here is some of the official features, as delivered by Seagate themselves.

The Barracuda 7200.10 is the largest, most reliable disc drive around. New perpendicular recording technology supports vertically stored data bits, enabling increased areal density and dependability for workstations and performance PCs. Additionally, the Barracuda 7200.10 is available in SATA 3Gb/s, SATA 1.5Gb/s and ATA/100 interfaces.

    Perpendicular Recording

  • Perpendicular Recording increases data density while decreasing moving parts for a more dependable drive.
  • Serial ATA 3Gb/s (300MB/s)
  • This product is configurable from SATA 1.5Gb/s to SATA 3Gb/s for easy interoperability.
    Adaptive Fly Height

  • Adaptive Fly Height offers consistent read/write performance from the beginning to end of your computing workloads.
    Clean Sweep

  • Clean Sweep automatically calibrates your drive each time you power up.
    Directed Offline Scan

  • Directed Offline Scan runs diagnostics when storage access is not required.
    Seagate SoftSonic

  • Seagate SoftSonic motor enables whisper-quiet operation.
    Enhanced G-Force Protection

  • Enhanced G-Force Protection defends against handling damage.
    5 Year Warranty

  • This product carries an unprecedented five-year warranty.

For those of you who enjoy knowing every small detail about the product they are considering… eat up:

  • Model: ST3320620AS
  • Formatted Gbytes (512 bytes/sector) : 320
  • Interface : SATA 3Gb/s
  • Max. External Transfer Rate (Mbytes/sec) : N/A
  • Average Seek (msec) : N/A
  • Average Latency (msec) : 4.16
  • Multisegmented Cache : 8192
  • Spindle Speed (RPM) : 7200
  • Logical CHS : 512
  • Contact Start-Stops : 16383/16/63
  • S.M.A.R.T. capable : Yes
  • Nonrecoverable Read Errors per Bits Read : 1 per 1014
  • Service Life/Limited Warranty (years) : 5/5
    Power Requirements

  • +12 VDC +/-10% (amps typ operating) : 2.8
  • +5 VDC +/-5% (amps typ operating) : N/A
    • Power Management (watts)
    • - Seek : 12.6
    • - Read/Write : N/A
    • - Idle : 9.3
    • - Standby : 0.8
    Environmental

  • Operating Temperature (C) : 0 to 60
  • Nonoperating Temperature (C) : 70 to -40
  • Operating Shock (Gs) @ 2 msec : 68
  • Non Operating Shock (Gs) @ 2 msec : 300
  • Acoustics,Idle (Bels-typ sound power) : 2.7
    Physical

  • Height (mm) : 26.1
  • Width (mm) : 101.6 >
  • Depth (mm) : 146.99
  • Weight (kg) : 635

As seen in the details above, this drive takes advantage of Perpendicular Magnetic Recording. For a brief overview of what this is, you can check out page 2 of our Seagate 750GB drive. Though the process was not needed to cram all that space in there, it may help with performance. But, there’s only one way to find out!