Seagate has been staying ahead of the pack with ever-increasing capacity and performance. Last year its Barracuda 7200.9 drive topped 500 Gbytes (Faster InfiniBand, Hard Disks, And Much More, ED Online ID 10737). This year the 3.5-in. Barracuda 7200.10 (see the Figure) tops out at 750 Gbytes. To do this Seagate turned to perpendicular recording (Perpendicular Recording Yields Big Disks, ED Online ID 12569).
Seagate's perpendicular recording delivers a data density of 130 Gbits/in2 that translates to 188 Gbytes/platter. The drives are available with cache sizes ranging from 2 Mbytes to 16 Mbytes, with the latter being at this high end. All the drives, including the Barracuda 7200.10, are hot-swappable and available with a 3-Gbit/s Serial ATA (SATA) 2.0 interface. The SATA interface supports native command queuing (NCQ).
Fast and big are not the only two attributes of the Barracuda 7200.10. The drive incorporates adaptive fly height technology to provide consistent read/write performance. Seagate has added its Clean Sweep technology to improve reliability. It operates in the background checking media integrity and drive reliability. It passes the drive head over the entire platter during power-on to smooth out any irregularities in the disc surface.
Seagate recently purchased Maxtor so those drive will now be coming from Seagate but the top of the line models like the Barracuda 7200.10 will remain on the Seagate side. Check out the ES models for even higher performance requirements. These are often sufficient for industrial or enterprise environments that can forego the even higher end SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) drives like the Seagate Cheetah 15K.4 SAS drives used in our EiED Online>> Building A SAS RAID File Server project (ED Online ID 12386).
Higher capacities also increase the importance of reliability and backup. This is one reason why our hands-on project employs a pair of Barracudas configured as a RAID system. 750 Gbytes is a lot of storage to lose. A RAID 1 mirror system is a very low-cost approach for workstations and low-end file servers.