Pros: Intel E8600 compatible, low price,
Cons: pulls more power than SSD hard disks, only 160Gb capacity
Ever since my purchase of the Seagate Barracuda ST3160318AS 160Gb SATA, I have been impressed with value and power of this hard drive. As you read my review, I encourage you to consider it as a cost saving alternative to higher capacity drives in computers systems that you are trying to upgrade.
The drive is very slim in size and light as well. As a comparison in size, this drive is almost have the height of the higher capacity hard drives like the Seagate Barracuda 2Tb 7200 RPM SATA drive.
Why does my Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 160Gb SATA pull so much power?
The Barracuda spins at 7200 RPM (Rounds Per Minute) which requires quite a bit of power to get started. In fact, turning your computer on is when your power supply experiences the highest amount of strain and burden because it must get all of your hard disks spinning. You should consider getting an APC P1T Personal surge protector to protect the power supply from spikes of electricity which could harm it and the Seagate Barracuda ST3160318AS.
How does the Seagate Barracuda ST3160318AS sound?
The drive when running has a slight buzzing sound that can be heard when placed hear your ear. In fact, the sound of an Intel Socket 775 processor fan is louder than this drive. I had to unplug my processor fan just to hear it. Since the drive is so quiet, building a raid array of four drives is going to result in near silent operation.
Performance Testing The Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 160Gb SATA
Computer processors already have speed ratings specified before they hit the market. Hard drives do not and many of us in the IT industry struggle on a daily basis to find the right product for our desktop computers and enterprise level servers.
Finding the true speed of a hard drive is tough because you have to find a motherboard capable of generating enough I/O traffic that it will eclipse the SATA interface speed of the drive. To accomplish this goal, I have built an Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 using a MSI G31M3-L V2 Desktop Motherboard that can stress the drive. The boot drive was a Patriot 32Gb SATA SSD running Windows XP Pro SP2 with the 160Gb Seagate SATA drive operating as a spare and formatted using NTFS in a quick format with full drive space.
Real World File Transfer; I created a file folder with 133 MP3 files across 4 subfolders for a total of 714Mb and transferred it from the Patriot 32Gb SSD. The goal of this test is to see how fast you can copy your own MP3 collection to a new hard drive.
Here are the actual results:
Run #1, 18 seconds
Run #2, 17 seconds
Super Pi V1.1 is an application that extrapolates the specified digits of PI into a text file. The quick writes to hard drive exhibited by the 3.33Ghz Intel processor are a good measure of gaming performance. Video games often demand fast write performance while moving between stages.
Here are the results of three runs at 32 million digits of PI on the Intel E8600 processor:
#1; 14 minutes 8 seconds
#2; 14 minutes 7 seconds
HD Tach Version 126.96.36.199 was used next to test the burst, cpu, random access and sequential read of the hard drive. The benchmark is a widely recognized standard in the industry today. From my tests on the MSI G31M3-L V2 Desktop Board, we see that this hard drive is over 10 Mb/s faster in Average read than the Western Digital Caviar® SE WD1200JD 120 GB SATA drive. However, the Seagate Barracuda LP (ST32000542AS) 2 TB SATA II Hard Drive can get an Average Read of 96.4 Mb/s which is clearly faster but if your computer system is not SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) compatible is not an option. Like always, there is always a trade off when trying to buy better hardware for your computers.
Here are the results of three runs at Long Bench setting (32mb zones) on the MSI G31M3-L V2:
#1 Burst Speed: 136.5 Mb/s, Average Read: 63.4 Mb/s, CPU Utilization: 1%, Random Access: 14.9ms
#2 Burst Speed: 136.4 Mb/s, Average Read: 63.4 Mb/s, CPU Utilization: 3%, Random Access: 14.8ms
#3 Burst Speed: 136.5 Mb/s, Average Read: 63.4 Mb/s, CPU Utilization: 2%, Random Access: 14.9ms
Next, I realized that I had a total of two of these drives available from scrapped systems at work. I needed a fast SQL Server 2005 box, so I created a RAID 0 array on my ASUS NCCH-DL motherboard using the Intel 6300ESB SATA controller. The results were simply fantastic. The Average Read doubled to 116.8 Mb/s peak and my Random Access times remained the same. While, the results are still slower than what a SATA II drive can do, it still was a welcome boost of speed on my older server motherboard. You have to expect the CPU utilization to go up when using a software raid though. The increased performance is never free but on a multi-core system you will hardly notice the robbed cpu cycles.
Here are the results of two runs at Long Bench setting (32mb zones) on the ASUS NCCH-DL motherboard:
#1 Burst Speed: 200.0 Mb/s, Average Read: 116.8 Mb/s, CPU Utilization: 2%, Random Access: 14.8ms
#1 Burst Speed: 200.1 Mb/s, Average Read: 116.9 Mb/s, CPU Utilization: 3%, Random Access: 14.8ms
Are there any hard drives faster than the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 160Gb SATA?
Yes, of course there are faster drives on the market at this moment. First, for extreme speed you should consider purchasing the Patriot 32Gb SATA SSD because of its 0.20 ms access speeds and resulting seamless load times of software. Second, you if you want more capacity and are willing to pay a premium, I suggest purchasing the Seagate Barracuda 2Tb hard drive for its marginally higher speed but eco-friendly features.
Model Name: Barracuda 7200.10
Part Number: ST3160318AS
Rotational Speed: 7200 RPM
Buffer Memory: 8 Mb
Drive Interface: SATA
Interface Standard: SATA II (3.0Gb/s)
12th Generation Of Seagate Hard Drive Technology
The Seagate 160Gb SATA drive is by far the fastest that I own in the 160Gb to 80Gb capacity range. As seen by the benchmark results above, this drive can outperform your expectations in both SATA I (1.5Gb/s) and SATA II (3.0Gb/s) file system interfaces. I recommend that the drive can be used in a backup role, primary boot partition and as drive for a portable hard drive enclosure.
I paid just $40 for my first hard drive. If you search around, I bet you can get a similar deal from one of the venders listed in the SEE IT links below.
In all, I give the Seagate Barracuda ST3160318AS 160GB Hard Drive a solid two thumbs up if used for the purposes outlined in this review.