Only a year later, in June 2002, Seagate prepared a replacement for this one of the most successful HDD families. Barracuda ATA V didn’t boast any brilliant performance characteristics, didn’t turn into a breakthrough in terms of the noise level, but enlarged the Seagate’s product range quite noticeably. Barracuda ATA V Plus acquired a larger 8MB buffer, and became the world’s first hard drive supporting new SerialATA interface. And now that only 5 months have passed a new HDD generation seems to be coming out. Does it mean that Seagate is coming back to a half-year cycle in terms of new product announcements?
I assume that the reason for this rush with the new generation launch was the recent activity on Maxtor’s side. However, you already know that Maxtor’s announcement appeared a kind of “paper” one (read our article called Real Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 HDD with 80GB Platters Reviewed! for details), because only one model aka 6E040L0 acquired a high-density platter. This is the eldest hard disk drive from the budget DiamondMax Plus 8 family (see our Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 8 HDD Family Review. Part I), therefore its arrival didn’t affect the market that much. It turned out that the hard drives with 80GB platters from two largest manufacturers started selling at about the same time, in February this year. After a while Seagate started a massive attack along all front-lines offering the customers a rich choice of models featuring four different storage capacities, two different buffer sizes and two types of supported interfaces.
A Family of Nine
The new family of Seagate’s hard disk drives is unusually numerous. It includes 9 models, which are already in mass production. In the table below you can see what the difference between them is:
OEM customers have a much richer choice, actually. In particular they can also order ST80013A model (80GB, 8MB buffer and Ultra ATA interface), and 7 modifications of SerialATA hard disk drives.
Starting with Barracuda ATA V the models with 8MB buffer and ATA interface get a “Plus” word in the name.
In order to get a better idea about how good or bad the new family is, we collected all nine officially manufactured Barracuda 7200.7 models and for a better comparison added the performance results for Barracuda Serial ATA V. To ensure that the results are all easy to read and analyze we will use the following naming legend:
As you see, the hard drives in our today’s test session feature different firmware versions, which will allow us to compare different firmware versions with one another. And due to the fact that we have so many testing participants, we will be able to evaluate highly objectively the performance of all Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 HDDs. The matter is that sometimes the review sample you get may not be quite OK, therefore with a big variety of test pieces today we are safe from these “incidents”. Moreover, when we will work on further reviews we will already know if the results obtained for this or that Barracuda 7200.7 model suit for comparison with competitors’ products, or if we have to retest it anew.
And now let me describe what changes have been introduced in the new Barracuda 7200.7 family.