15 Years Of Hard Drive History: Capacities Outran Performance

Quick & Quiet: Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (2003)

Seagate's Barracuda 6.8 GB to 26 GB ATA drives were the first desktop hard drives to run at a faster 7,200 RPM spindle speed. The first generation, however, was noisy and the drives ran pretty hot as well. The second and third generation made a lot of improvements in these areas, and pushed capacities to 40 GB as well. However, it wasn't until the fourth generation that 7,200 RPM desktop hard drives became both quick and easy to handle.

The Barracuda ATA IV featured better data densities, allowing Seagate to hit capacities of up to 80 GB with only two platters. Additionally, a special feature of this drive was the metal plate on the bottom, intended to protect the drive's electronics. Seagate called this Seashield, similar in name to their plastic protective packaging known as Seashell. Eventually, however, the Seashield feature was abandoned in an effort to remain price-competitive.

The "Cuda" ATA IV was one of the last generations of parallel-ATA-only drives, because Serial ATA was introduced in the next generation Barracuda ATA V in late 2003 (with capacities of up to 120 GB). All Barracuda drives from generation V and up feature either a Serial ATA interface or UltraATA/100 (like this one).

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750 GB And WD Raptor WD1500 150 GB (2006)

These are two fairly new hard drives. Rather than rattling off all of their features and details again, we'll just refer you to our in-depth reviews.

  • There is a typo in the article:

    Quantum's Fireball was available about five years after the 40 GB Maxtor drive discussed above,

    It should be 40MB, obviously
  • badcat
    "And Samsung, finally, may have a decent advantage in the future with a possible hybrid hard drive; it is the only firm in this quartet that manufactures both magnetic and Flash storage." WRONG! This technology existed in enterprise level hard disks for some time now.
  • i am still looking a 40Mb hard disk for my machine in 386dx