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   HDD Article : Seagate Barracuda ATA IV »  


 Seagate Barracuda ATA IV - Preamble
 Date  : Sept 17th, 2001
 Category  : Storage
 Manufacturer   : Seagate
 Author  : Jin-Wei Tioh
The 7200 RPM IDE hard drive market is certainly competitive, with all manufacturers vying for top sales and performance. Thus, it was with great fanfare that Seagate launched their original Barracuda ATA, replacing the infamous Medalist Pro line and providing rapid storage at a very competitive price. What with the reputation of its SCSI brethren, the Barracuda ATA became a great success. Seagate seemed on top of their game.

Unfortunately, the next two incarnations did not shine on the performance front, with performance actually declining with each new version. The original Barracuda ATA practically leaves the Barracuda ATA II and III standing in every aspect, save flagship capacity. Fans of Seagate were no doubt disappointed, limited to a maximum capacity of 28GB if they wanted the performance of the Barracuda ATA. Will the Barracuda ATA IV buck this trend?

The Seagate Barracuda ATA IV is the successor to the Barracuda ATA III. While not breaking any capacity records, it is the first 7200 RPM drive that packs 40GB/platter to achieve a 2-platter flagship capacity of 80GB. This is also the first Seagate product to sport the "SoftSonic" sound barrier technology and the Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) motor. Seagate proclaims that these two key technologies make the Barracuda ATA IV "the fastest, quietest and toughest desktop drive in the world". Average seek time is specified at a conservative 9.5ms. A 2MB buffer, ATA-100 interface, and Seagate's excellent drive packaging, the SeaShell, round up the package. A industry standard, full 3-year warranty backs the drive.

The Barracuda is certainly a very "fresh" product; Seagate has even deviated completely from their usual enclosure design. This is probably to accommodate the finer mechanics of the drive which needs more protection against vibration, since the width of the data track has been effectively halved compared to the Barracuda III. While higher platter densities are a good thing, they generally give engineers headaches, as the head has to be ever more accurate when seeking data. Personally, we feel that the new enclosure lends a touch of classiness to the Barracuda line, making it look more distinguished than its predecessors.

Everything sounds good on paper so far. But is the Barracuda ATA IV just a paper pusher or a performance sceamer? Join us as we find out...

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