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Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 HDD - 9th generation emerges

By: Cameron Johnson | HDDs in Storage | Posted: Dec 5, 2005 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.5%Manufacturer: Seagate

Taking a closer look at the drive



Physically the drive doesn't look any different than that of the past three generation of drives. The Seagate Barracuda ATA-V was the first to adopt the simple look that the Seagate drives now entail, making them easy to spot in the stores.



Seagate Barracuda ST3500641AS 500 GB Hard Drive

The back of the drive houses the SATA port and DATA ports. The SATA DATA port has been redesigned to take the new click connect cables that lock into the drive and prevent accidental release during transport. A number of OEM's have complained to the SATA-IO over the cables popping out of their PC's during transport to the local stores and consumers. Though the data port has changed, the power has remained the same and is also prone to sometimes popping out - perhaps a new power plug is in order?


Unlike Western Digital, there is no 4 pin Molex power connector on the back for legacy, this is a requirement for SATA 2.5 to remove this power connector and use the SATA power with the 3.3v rail to support Staggered Spin up.



The underside of the drive is almost identical to that of the 7200.8 models with a few exceptions. First the controller chip has been upgraded from the pervious series to support the latest 300MB/s data transfer rates to the cache. Second the cache chip location has been moved, rather than 2x8MB cache chips like on the 7200.8, the latest drives with 16MB use a single Hynix 16MB chip sandwiched between the PCB and the underside of the drive.


While there is no definitive reason why the board still contains the trace wires for the other cache chip, we were told on drives in the ultra high performance and capacity ranges above 500GB will make their way into the market in the near future with up to 32MB of cache memory. Certainly this will increase the speed of SATA 2.5 drives with more cache memory meaning faster transfers from the HDD to PC logic.



Here we see the Agree YUMACPA2-E16 silicon chip. This handles the SATA 2.5 interface to the motherboard. This chip automatically senses the speed of the connection to the PC logic and setups its speed accordingly. This drive requires no jumper settings to lower it back to SATA-150 speeds if you place it on an older SATA generation board, a handy feature, as WD drives would require a jumper setting in order to make them work on a number of boards.




Install of the drive was totally painless as with SATA you simply plug and play. There are no Master/Slave jumpers. All drives are a master. SATA removes paired drives and gives each drive a point to point connection to the PC. After installing the drive we formatted the drive under the NTFS dos environment and ghosted a copy of Windows onto the drive and bingo, Windows loaded without a single problem.


We also did a complete install without Ghost to make sure the drive would be recognised from scratch, without a hitch we saw our drive under the Windows XP install with a full 500GB ready to go.


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