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Closer Look at New Features of Barracuda 7200.7

The case construction which has already stood the test of time in two generations of Barracuda drives, has been inherited by the new 7200.7 family:

It is worth pointing out that Seagate is little by little replacing the polished top cover of the HDD case with the matt one, which seems to be more suitable for better heat take off.


Polished case cover


Matt case cover

The ever growing data density now allows storing up to 80GB of data on a single platter, that is why the storage capacity of a dual-platter drive can no longer be addressed in a standard LBA mode. Therefore, Seagate followed in Maxtor’s, WD’s and IBM’s footsteps and introduced LBA48 mode support. You can read more about the differences of these two addressing modes in our article called Neptune: Missing Piece of the Maxtor HDDs Evolution.

For some unknown reasons the new Barracuda drives do not support the already traditional acoustics management, although the user’s guide for SerialATA models indicates this option. This way, you will not be able to make your drive work faster or quieter, than it was set to during the production stage. But which is even more surprising, Serial ATA Barracuda 7200.7 supports UDMA6 data transfer mode, i.e. it is capable of transferring over 100MB of data per second! Although our express testing showed that the today’s only SerialATA controller, which allows achieving such a high speed  is the one integrated into Intel’s ICH5 South bridge.

I was very much excited about this great feature of the new product and decided to undertake a detailed investigation of the HDD’s electronic components, especially since the PCB is no longer hidden behind the metal plate.

 
Barracuda 7200.7 ATA

 
Barracuda 7200.7 SerialATA

The electronic components on the PCB of ATA and SerialATA Barracuda 7200.7 are completely different. The first one uses 10252820 processor from Agere or STMicroelectronics (it turned out that these two manufacturers produce similar processors for Seagate!), while the second one uses 10258581. Having taken a really close look I discovered that the electronics is very similar to what we saw on Barracuda ATA V.

 
Previous generation
ATA Barracuda drive

 
Previous generation
Serial ATA Barracuda drive

Although the previous generation HDDs used 10226836 and 10238949 processors for ATA and Serial ATA models respectively. Both of them use 16bit SDRAM chips with 6ns cycle time, which indicates a potentially possible data transfer rate of up to 333MB/sec. I wonder how big will the difference be between Barracuda ATA V and the new Barracuda 7200.7?

 
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