Once again we have a standard 3.5" desktop hard drive with a speed of 7,200 RPM and 16 MB of cache memory with a Serial ATA 2.5 interface with support for hot plugging and Native Command Queuing (NCQ). The latter is an attractive feature for professional environments and users with high performance requirements: The drive will queue incoming commands, reorder them if necessary and execute in an order that requires as little mechanical effort as possible, because moving the heads of a hard drive is what slows them down the most. All you need to support it is a SATA storage controller that is less than a year old.
The four-platter architecture prevents this drive from reaching the same nice temperature ratings that the three-platter Barracuda 7200.8 was able to hit, but it does run a bit cooler than Hitachi's five-platter DeskStar 7K500.
Five Years Warranty And SeaTools
Seagate offers a full five-year warranty, which most other companies don't offer. After investing in a 500 GB hard disk, the warranty is an important issue for customers. Just in case you did not know, this five-year warranty applies to all internal desktop drives that were purchased in retail channels after 1 June 2004. However, gray market hardware and hard drives that came installed in computer systems are excluded.
In order to assist customers who think that their drives are defective, Seagate's SeaTools are available. These can either be executed in an Internet browser or can be downloaded. The SeaTools Desktop is delivered as an image file in order to record a bootable CD-ROM, which you will then have to boot from. According to Seagate, this version is able to detect problems and errors with an accuracy of up to 98%.
Seagate of course primarily deploys this software in order to prevent people from creating a RMA process, possibly causing unnecessary shipping, diagnosis and shipping back because a particular drive actually is in perfect health. To make a long story short, SeaTools was designed to save the company money, but it is also good for the customer. In fact, we hear the same statements from retailers we talk to: More than every third hard drive sent back to the vendor because the user assumes it has a problem actually works perfectly well.