Seagate Barracuda 2 TB,Internal,5900 RPM,3.5" (ST32000542AS) Hard Drive Reviews

Seagate Barracuda 2 TB,Internal,5900 RPM,3.5" (ST32000542AS) Hard Drive

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The Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB drive is faster than my Western Digital Raptor!

Nov 5, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:SATA 2 (300 Mb/s) interface, 2Tb total capacity, 32Mb cache, energy efficient

Cons:OEM models do not include SATA cables, not compatible with older SATA I chipsets

The Bottom Line:

You will enjoy the high capacity of the Seagate Barracuda 2Tb but the real story is the high performance and eco-friendly features that set this drive ahead of the pack.


The Seagate Barracuda LP 2Tb is a large SATA hard drive that most of us would think is only good for storing files but as you read this review, you will find that the heart of a wild animal lurks inside just waiting to accomplish any task at very fast speeds!

My problem lately has become finding a place to store all the digital photos taken with my Nintendo DSi Matte Black Console, Mustek DV4000 Flash Media Camcorder and Aiptek DV5700 Digital Camera.  My older hard drives were filling up and they took to long to transfer files back and forth over my network at home.

I visited Amazon and numerous other electronics websites to find the best deal.  After scanning several listings, I found that this hard drive was the lowest priced model on the market and bought it.  Amazon shipped the drive to me in a large protective cardboard box filled with air filled pillow bags to ensure the inner box had no damage during shipping.

How To Install The Seagate Barracuda LP 2Tb Hard Drive
When the hard drive came in I quickly removed it from its protective, gray plastic bag and inspected it for any defects.  You should always check for defects like stray wires or bent metal so that you will not damage the new hard drive when first powered up. 

One of the biggest problems for consumers purchasing this high capacity, SATA II hard drive will be purchasing the OEM version which does not include an installation kit.  If you, like me, are attracted to OEM pricing make sure that you purchase a Tripp Lite SATA cable ahead of time so that you do not have to purchase one in a brick and mortar retailer which will charge more for the cable.  You can search your computer part bins to see if you already have a Tripp Lite SATA cable.  The cable will have two half inch black connectors on a long, red, ribbon cable. 

In my excitement to play with my new toy, I attached it to the Intel D865GLC Socket 478 Motherboard.  I soon discovered my error because the BIOS and Windows XP Professional did not recognize the 2Tb SATA hard drive.  The reason is that the Intel D865GLC Socket 478 Motherboard does not support SATA 2.0 hard drives.  You should visit the manufacturer’s website of your desktop computer system to verify it is compatible as well.

On the MSI G31M3-L V2 Desktop Board, my installation ran a lot smoother because the computer was designed from the factory to support these higher capacity hard drives.  I placed a Tripp Lite SATA ribbon cable in an open female SATA II connector on the motherboard and then connected it to the Seagate LP hard drive.  Next, I booted the computer and watched as the BIOS automatically detected and allocated the full capacity of the new drive.  Once, Windows XP SP2 was fully loaded, I opened the Computer Management suite and performed a quick format for the full capacity of the drive in an NTFS partition.  Finally, I was able to open the My Computer console to see my new drive installed as drive D.

Operation And Noise Of The ST32000542AS
The 2Tb Barracuda only spins at 5900 RPM which is going to reduce your operating noise levels when compared to a faster, higher RPM hard drive.  RPM stands for Rounds Per Minute.  In the past, everyone wanted to make 7200 RPM or even 10,000 RPM hard drives because they were supposed to be faster.  The problem was that these faster drives also created more heat from the friction involved in spinning as these high RPMs. 

In fact, the 5900 RPM drive makes a little less sound than a standard 80MMx80MM computer fan when copying files.  I checked the onboard temperature sensor and found the highest reported value to be 80 Fahrenheit.  For comparison the Western Digital WD1200JD 120Gb hard drive is louder than a Socket 775 processor fan and makes a loud clicking noise when retrieving files.

Performance Testing The Seagate Barracuda 2TB SATA
The most important number to anyone shopping for this type of product is how a hard drive performs in Real World File Transfer situations. To answer this question, I created a file folder with 133 MP3 files across 4 subfolders for a total of 714Mb and transferred it from a 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.  The Seagate Barracuda ST32000542AS handled the transfer with ease.  I was able to transfer the remainder of my Metallica and Green Day MP3 collection over in about 2 minutes for all 9 Gb worth of data. 

Here are the actual results of the MP3 file transfer test:
Run #1, 13 seconds
Run #2, 12 seconds

Determining 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.  Luckily, I have an Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 and MSI G31M3-L motherboard that can stress the drive.  The boot drive was a Patriot 32Gb SATA SSD running Windows XP Pro SP2 with the 2Tb Seagate Barracuda operating as a spare and formatted using NTFS full partition size.
 
Super Pi V1.1 is a benchmark that writes 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 so this is yet another reason to get a quick hard drive so you will not experience any lag.  According to tests on other SATA hard drives, just completing this benchmark with the 3.33Ghz Intel E8600 is an accomplishment because it generates a lot of I/O traffic.  While this Seagate drive was still slower than a Patriot 32Gb SSD, it still returned an impressive number. 

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 9 seconds
#3; 14 minutes 9 seconds

HD Tach Version 3.0.4.0 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.  I think the burst speed of this drive was so high because of the 32Mb of buffer cache.   For comparison, my Maxtor 160Gb SATA hard drive can only achieve a Burst Speed of 120.5 Mb/s and an Average Read of 48.9 Mb/s.

Here are the results of three runs at Long Bench setting (32mb zones):
#1 Burst Speed: 228.9 Mb/s, Average Read: 96.4 Mb/s, CPU Utilization: 1%, Random Access: 14.5ms
#2 Burst Speed: 232.6 Mb/s, Average Read: 96.4 Mb/s, CPU Utilization: 3%, Random Access: 14.5ms
#3 Burst Speed: 233.3 Mb/s, Average Read: 96.4 Mb/s, CPU Utilization: 4%, Random Access: 14.5ms

SiSoftware Sandra 2009.5.15.99 in the File Systems benchmark, I obtained the following performance figures for the 2Tb Seagate Barracuda.

Test 1
Device Index;  95.67 Mb/s
Drive Index; 16.61Kb/s/rpm
Buffered Read; 236.64 Mb/s
Sequential Read; 116.43 Mb/s
Random Read; 62 Mb/s
Buffered Write; 71.6 Mb/s
Sequential Write; 113.45 Mb/s
Random Write; 79.47 Mb/s
Random Access Time; 7.56ms

Test 2
Device Index;  95.6 Mb/s
Drive Index; 16.59 Kb/s/rpm
Buffered Read; 232 Mb/s
Sequential Read; 116.5 Mb/s
Random Read; 61.55 Mb/s
Buffered Write; 76.31 Mb/s
Sequential Write; 113.39 Mb/s
Random Write; 79.79 Mb/s
Random Access Time; 7.66ms

As a final test and experiment to satisfy my need for speed, I plugged an Adaptec 2410SA hardware raid card into a free PCI slot on my MSI motherboard.  Sadly, the 2TB Seagate hard drive was not recognized because it was firmly within SATA 2.0 specification.  The 2TB Seagate also had the same problem with a PCI raid card at my office.  Keep this in mind if you wish to use this hardware as an upgrade hard drive because not all file systems will recognize it.

Product Specifications
Manufacturer:  Seagate
Series:  Barracuda LP
Model: ST32000542AS
SATA Interface: 3.0Gb/s
RPM: 5900
Onboard Cache: 32Mb
Average Latency: 5.1ms
Acoustic (bels sound power) at idle 2.5 and at seek 2.6
Weight in lbs: 1.44

Seagate Warranty And Support
Seagate offers an exceptional 3 year parts warranty on the drive. 
Seagate offers an exceptional 3 year labor warranty on the drive.

If you have any need for support, the Seagate Barracuda website answers many questions that can help you make the best decision in your purchase.  They have a list of the green features like ROHS compliance, manufacturing in green friendly facilities and the fact that 70 percent of the drive can be recycled.  To learn more visit here: http://www.seagate.com

Summary
You will enjoy the high capacity of the Seagate Barracuda 2Tb but the real story is the high performance which gives you the ability to transfer files at relatively high speeds.  The high performance and eco-friendly features really do set this drive ahead of the pack.  The low spin speed, 5900 RPM, of the drive also means that you will experience reduced power consumption and heat production than traditional hard drives on the market today.  The only problem you face is ensuring that your motherboard or raid card supports 48bit LBA.  A quick check of the manufacturer’s website should verify this for you.

In all, I give the Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB ST32000542AS Hard Drive two thumbs up.


Recommend this product? Yes

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