Seagate wasn't the first to market with a 2 terabyte desktop drive, but they did manage to pull off the first and at this time only SATA 6 GB/s drive.
On one hand this is a big feat for the company, but on the other being the first doesn't always make for a successful product. The good thing is that Seagate has a very fast drive with the Barracuda XT, one of the fastest and quietest platter based drives I have tested. The problem is the rest of the industry is going to have to catch up. At this time LSI and Intel both have SAS / SATA controllers like the one we used today to test with. Promise and Highpoint Technology just announced their controllers today as well. ASUS and GIGABYTE have motherboards in stores or shipping to stores and they will both use a PCIe 2.0 to SATA 6 Gb/s bridge chip to Marvell controller.
ASUS has also told us that they will have a PCIe 2.0 controller card in our hands in the next few days so that will also be an option. These controllers are going to go a long way for users who want to add SATA 6 Gb/s to their existing systems, more importantly enthusiasts that have already chosen their X58 motherboard and who are not looking to downgrade to a P55 based product. These are the types of users who will look to add a SATA 6 Gb/s drive or several in RAID to their systems.
SATA 6 Gb/s with a Seagate Barracuda XT does add some interesting features, but nothing as groundbreaking as NCQ did with SATA 3 Gb/s. Just like the first SATA 1.5 drives, SATA 6 Gb/s will not show major improvements until the drives can really start to break the barriers put in place by the previous generation. Burst speeds will be improved with SATA 6 Gb/s, but how many times will this fraction of a second of performance increase really add to the user experience?
The cost of the Seagate Barracuda XT is really the biggest challenge for enthusiasts and mainstream users. At 299 USD there is a huge price premium over the 5,900 RPM 2TB Seagate drive. Enthusiasts will be ready to take advantage of the additional cache, platter density and increased peak performance from the additional platter rotational speeds but spending nearly double for those is a hard package to sell.
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