Specifications, Availability and Pricing
To date there have been a handful of 2TB hard drives released on the market, at least one for each major hard drive manufacture. Most of these drives have been of the slower desktop platter speeds, 5,400 or 5,900 RPMs. Hitachi and Western Digital both market a 7,200 RPM 2TB drive and now Seagate has entered the fray. Seagate's high performance Barracuda is unique since it is the only hard drive to use the next generation SATA 6 Gb/s standard.
Seagate has also given the Barracuda XT a massive 64MB of cache that should allow the drive to burst faster than the SATA 3 Gb/s standard is capable of. This gives the move to SATA 6 Gb/s some validity and not just a check in the box upgrade.
At the time of writing the Barracuda XT was not available in stores or Newegg but we were told to expect a 299 USD MSRP and stock to arrive within a week. Seagate's mainstream 5,900 RPM 2TB drive is one of the lowest priced 2TB drives on the market and is available for less than 160 Dollars so you are paying quite a premium for the latest and greatest technology. Also to get the most out of the drive you will need to get purchase a controller card or a motherboard with the latest SATA standard onboard. At this time there are just a couple of P55 boards from ASUS and GIGABYTE (and ASRock has one by means of an add-on card) with SATA 6Gb/s, but I suspect the motherboard companies are scrambling to get support on other boards.
One interesting feature that is not shown on the specifications table is the ability to short stoke the new Barracuda XT. This will allow the drive to perform better at the cost of capacity. We will follow up with an additional review testing this feature when out new motherboard arrives with onboard SATA 6Gb/s support.
Let's have a look at the Seagate Barracuda XT.