Seagate Barracuda LP, 2TB: ST32000542AS
Like the other manufacturers, Seagate once used to produce 5400rpm drives, e.g. Seagate U6, to achieve a lower manufacturing cost and higher reliability together with reduced noise. Then, the cost benefits vanished, the reliability increased, the bearings got quieter, and 5400rpm HDDs left the market. The manufacturers found it more economically profitable to release extensive 7200rpm HDD series including small-capacity models. But now, following the other makers, Seagate has begun to produce HDDs with lower spindle speed again.
To be exact, the spindle rotation speed of the new Barracuda LP series is not 5400 but 5900rpm. There is nothing extraordinary about that. The traditional speeds of 4200-5400-7200rpm simply represent round numbers, i.e. 70-90-120 rotations per second. Moreover, the spindle speed is not something fixed. It varies from one specific sample of a HDD to another (usually within a 20rpm range). Long ago, you could even see a HDD with a specified spindle rotation speed of 3524rpm, for example. We suspect that Seagate had to use this speed for the spindle because its hardware platform could not be used to make HDD with high recording density, more than two platters, and with a spindle rotation speed of 7200rpm. Therefore the speed is reduced to 5900rpm. The other parameters being equal, this gives the HDD an edge against its opponents in terms of sequential speed and access time. And of course, this is a clear marketing advantage. Thus, Seagate has become competitive as it now offers economical HDDs of large capacities. By the way, the letters LP stand for Low Power rather than Low Profile. The latter term is applied to expansion cards.
Western Digital Caviar Green, 2TB: WD20EADS
The 2TB Western Digital was the first (and, for some time, the only) hard disk drive of that capacity that came to retail. It was covered in our previous review, but has got much more opponents today.