Electronic Design

Hard Drive Delivers SATA-III 6-Gbit/s Transfer Rate

Peripheral transfer rate is the typical bottleneck for many applications, especially as processors split into multiple cores. SATA-III’s 6-Gbit/s transfer rate provides significantly more bandwidth, assuming the hard drives and motherboards can keep up. Seagate’s 2-Tbyte ST32000641AS Barracuda XT hard drive delivers on the peripheral side. This is enough space for up to 45 hours of 1080i HD DVCPRO-encoded video (see the figure). It needs to be matched with a motherboard like the Asus P7P55D or the Gigabyte P55 series GA-P55-Extreme, which have a matching SATA-III interface.

Backward compatibility allows the Barracuda XT to work with older SATA and SATA-II interfaces but without the top transfer rate of 600 Mbytes/s. The sustained transfer rate is 138 Mbytes/s. The Barracuda XT comes with 64 Mbytes of cache, which is sufficient for desktop applications. The 7200-rpm drive has an average 4.16-ms latency.

The drive is quiet and environmentally friendly. Its average operating power requirements are 9.23 W with idle power dropping to 6.39 W. Acoustic specs include 2.8 bels in idle mode and only 3.2 bels during a seek. Pricing is expected to start at $299.

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