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Seagate Strikes Back

Last December Seagate announced a new generation of hard disk drives aka Barracuda 7200.7, having become the second manufacturer to reach the data density over 50Gbit per square inch. And the first one here was Maxtor, as you all know, which announced this data density in September already. It is very interesting that two last HDD generations from Seagate are only a little over five months away from one another. For various reasons Seagate decided to force the events and prepared the next generation of high performance hard disk drives for desktops (successors to Barracuda ATA V) in a really short period of time. This way the entire product range from Seagate has been slightly rearranged.

After they discontinued the 7200rpm SCSI solutions, Barracuda brand has been fully occupied by ATA HDDs, which automatically eliminated the necessity to us this “ATA” work in the model naming. They have also terminated the U Series family, and 5,400rpm HDDs have been transferred to Barracuda, which resulted into numeric indexes added to the name, such as “7200” and “5400”. And the generation name is now indicated with a digit after a point. As a result, the next generation after Barracuda ATA V is called Barracuda 7200.7.

In this case a question arises: and why is the fifth generation followed by the seventh? No, this is no marketing mistake, Seagate really has already had six HDD generations with 7,200rpm spindle rotation speed. The thing is that the very first model of this class (by the way, it was not only the first model from Seagate, but the first model for the entire industry) announced in October 1997, was manufactured under Medalist Pro brand name. Actually, it was the world’s first hard drive with fluid dynamic bearings (FDB), which allowed to combine the server spindle rotation speed with an acceptable noise level for a home system.

Only a year and a half later when the competition came into this market segment (and all HDD manufacturers were very eager to start working on the new technologies), Seagate marketing department got a great idea to take advantage of the already well-known in the SCSI market Barracuda brand name and to use it in the ATA market as well. The second generation of 7,200rpm HDDs from Seagate, which appeared in June 1999 was already called Barracuda ATA.

Later Seagate tried to stick to aggressive 6-month cycle for the new product announcements. The third HDD generation came into this world in January 2000. Barracuda ATA II acquired larger buffer increased up to 2MB and Ultra ATA/66 support. In September 2000 they released Barracuda ATA III, which boasted third generation fluid dynamic bearings, almost twice as high data density and new Ultra ATA/100 interface.

Starting with this product family, Seagate gave up the production of three-platter models. Once again the data density and the hard disk drives storage capacity doubled in June 2001 when Seagate launched barracuda ATA IV. This HDD family didn’t boast as much of a speed boost as the previous one, but instead brought a revolution in terms of noise parameters (even now that more than two years have passed already, it is still one of the quietest hard drives in the market). After that a period of calm set in. :)

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