Seagate's 1.5TB Barracuda: Bigger And Better?

Seagate’s Carnivorous Fish is Back

The introduction of the first 1 TB hard drive was more than a year ago. Hitachi was first to market with its Deskstar 7K1000, followed by Western Digital’s Caviar Green, Seagate’s Barracuda 7200.11 and finally Samsung with the Spinpoint F. Hitachi and Western Digital have just recently reworked their terabyte drives, offering more performance and better efficiency, but Seagate decided to go right for the next step, and now its 1.5 TB hard drives are now available.

Going Ballistic With Perpendicular Recording

This is the third-generation 3.5” desktop hard drive to employ perpendicular recording and it seems the sky is the limit. Our article A Look into the Hard Drive Future delves into upcoming developments and capacities beyond 2010 and it’s safe to say that the capacity of hard drive will multiply many times before hitting the physical limits of forecasted manufacturing technology.

However, Seagate did not even have to use any secret techniques. Its 1.5 TB drive was achieved using four platters, which means that every platter has to be capable of storing at least 375 GB. Since Hitachi, Samsung and Western Digital all offer three-platter terabyte drives, it is fairly safe to assume that all could make the step to 1.5 TB capacity rather quickly—if they deemed it necessary.

How Much Capacity Do We Need?

Average users will not really be able to utilize a capacity as high as 1.5 TB today: the operating system takes up to 10 GB, applications may consume up to 50 GB and then there is personal data that you want to store. Most mainstream folks don’t collect more than single or double digit gigabyte amounts, which makes hard drives in the area of 320 to 500 GB sufficient for those users.

However, true enthusiasts typically collect dozens of gigabytes of music, digital photos, and an increasing amount of digital video. High-definition (HD) content can consume the full capacity of large drives faster than ever before, and the backup of existing data or even the entire system has to be stored somewhere too. At this point, we’re probably looking at putting terabyte capacities to use within a few months, and if you intend to invest into a drive that will last a while, 1.5 TB all of a sudden appears reasonable.
Seagate says that its improved 1.5 TB Barracuda 7200.11 is “so right for so many different applications.” Let’s see how much truth there is to that claim.