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At a total capacity of 500 GB per hard drive, the industry should seriously consider to split between high capacity and high performance hard drives, because the latest Seagate drive makes a step backwards in performance.
Seagate wants it all these days. Barracuda 7200 desktop hard drives initially did not offer the capacities IBM, Maxtor and Western Digital offered, but they were quick and quiet (except for the very first 7,200 RPM models). The 7200.8 started a race to catch up with the competition by going straight from 200 to 400 GB. Today, the latest 7200.9 generation increases capacities up to half a teraByte. However, its performance is not commensurate with its capacity boost.
The phenomenon we are referring to applies to Hitachi's DeskStar 7K500 top model as well. Both drives offer impressive capacities while maintaining acceptable drive temperature and low acoustics. At the same time, they feature large buffer sizes and the latest interface standards. While the Hitachi delivered roughly the same performance as its predecessor, the Seagate 7200.9's speed is actually slower.
Could this be the point where the industry cannot increase storage performance while boost capacity? We wouldn't say so, because a new technique called perpendicular recording is to be introduced in early 2006, and the hard drive makers expect to further increase both storage density and performance. However, we found that the desktop hard drive market is clearly splitting into three rather than two segments, and that the drive manufacturers have failed to differentiate what they are.