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6 IDE Hard Disc Drives between 15 and 30 GBytes

Seagate Barracuda ATA ST320430A, Continued

This drive should be no longer available today. Nevertheless, we wanted to include it, as it has been our reference hard drive for the last months. More than half a year ago we decided to get some of those drives, as it was one of the fastest models then. Moreover, Seagate covers the bottom of their drives (see photo below), so that the electronic parts are better protected. That is usually not too important, but as we have to change system setups over and over again, those drives have proven to be very suitable for testing.

All Barracuda ATA series hard drives are packaged inside an aluminum die casting case, which has both an advantage and a disadvantage. It's generally known that most CPU heat sinks are made of aluminum or aluminum alloys, as this material is quite suited for heat conduction. The same applies to the Seagate hard drives. Thanks to their aluminum case, all produced heat will pass over to the case quite fast, spreading over the heavily increased face. The bad feature is that aluminum is not able to eliminate the drive's vibrations as good as other metals. That's why you can clearly feel that a Barracuda ATA is vibrating a lot more than, for example, the Western Digital drives.

With regard to performance, the ST320430A does not belong to the very top any more. In all real world benchmarks it cannot hold up with its competition, most likely due to its smaller cache size (512 kBytes instead of 2 MBytes of all others). Only the pure data transfer speed is still quite good. Nevertheless, the Seagate drive is one of the hottest and also noisiest candidates. If you don't care about that, you will of course get a modern hard drive for little money.

Seagate Barracuda ATA, ST320430A
Capacity20.4 GBytes
Rotation Speed7,200 rpm
Average Seek Time7.6 ms
Cache Memory512 kBytes
Warranty3 years

Detailed specs on the Seagate website.