The Seagate Barracuda Serial ATA V 120GB Hard Drive is New Technology!

Mar 7, 2003 (Updated Apr 4, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Quiet and easy installation!

Cons:You computer has to be Serial ATA ready!

The Bottom Line: Overall it is a very quiet and seems to perform fairly well!

The Seagate Barracuda Serial ATA V 120GB (Gigabyte) Internal Hard Drive is new technology that breaks the transfer rates of the ATA133 (133MB per second) to the transfer rates of 150MB per second. To enhance the performance of this drive they use an 8MB cache built-in. The 120GB hard drive uses two 60GB platters and 4 Heads for the performance of this hard drive. In the near future the Serial ATA drives hope to bring out a transfer rate up to 300MB per second. The list price for the drive is about $200 and can be found for around $170.

Serial ATA (SATA)
Serial ATA drives use a different cable than the standard IDE cable. Your computer and motherboard must have the Serial ATA connections for you to use this drive. The Asus A7N8X Deluxe Motherboard has two connections for two drives and comes with two red Serial ATA cables. You also have the option of purchasing a Serial ATA card that plugs into a PCI slot.

The Serial ATA cables are much easier to use and are more flexible than the IDE cables making installation a lot simpler. You still need a regular power plug to power the drive like the one on an IDE drive with an ATA power adapter. The power connection is different than that for the IDE drives. Only one drive per cable came with the Asus A7N8X Deluxe Motherboard, though cables are available to connect more than one drive at a time. This can also free up an IDE connection for installing another CD or DVD for your computer. If you run a cable with two connections the host ATA adapter will make master and slave selections for you and it may run both as master. No jumpers to set, this is a plug and play hard drive. There is a jumper block in the rear but it is made for factory use only, you do not have to use it.

The cables go in only one way so you can not make a mistake on the connections.

Drive Protection
Seagate's Advanced Multidrive System (SAMS) reduces the rotational vibration effects of multiple drives seeking inside a computer case. They use Continuous Background Defect Scanning to proactively identify and eliminate defects with Safe Sparing that ensures that the drive returns to the same sector it was sparing after a power outage.

For thermal asperity recovery and resultant data integrity they have On-the-Fly Triple Interleave Reed-Solomon Code. Then there is End-to-End Path Protection that ensures data integrity from host to disc.

They also provide support for S.M.A.R.T. drive monitoring and reporting. S.M.A.R.T. drive provides near-term failure predictions for disc drives. There is also support for Read Multiple and Write Multiple commands.

Drive Specifications
Capacity: 120GB on two discs
Spindle Speed: 7,200 RPM
Average Seek Time: 9 ms
Interface: SATA/150
Maximum Internal Transfer Rate: 570 Mb/sec
Sustained Transfer Rate: 27 - 44 MB/sec
Idle Acoustics: less than 2.4 bels
350Gs of Non-Operating Shock
8MB cache buffer
3D Defense System
SoftSonic FDB motor
Size: 26.1mm x 101.85mm x 146.56mm (LxWxH)
Weight: 1.199lb

Seagate includes DiscWizard software a disc installation software utility and a diagnostic utility software.

You need Windows with a FAT32 or NTFS (Windows XP) file system, a serial ATA interface cable and a power connector ATA adapter. The drive I have is an OEM drive which doesn’t come with the extras so the Retail version may contain the serial ATA interface cable and a power connector ATA adapter. Your motherboard needs to be ATA ready or you need to add an ATA host adapter.

1. Run DiscWizard before you install the hard drive.
2. Mount the drive!
3. Attach the serial ATA interface cable and power cable.
4. Reboot the computer and it should be ready to go.

In case your computer didn’t recognize it try going in the BIOS and set it up to auto detect a new drive.

My Comments
Installation couldn’t be any easier, the drive is about the same size as the other drives and sits in the same spot. The Serial ATA cable easily plugs in the motherboard in the back of the drive and a power supply plugs in the back also. Once DiscWizard software was installed it automatically picked up the drive and it was ready to go.

As far as speed performance, well without any test equipment I couldn’t see any difference. The thing I did notice is that the drive is a lot quieter than the Western Digital 100GB EIDE Hard Drive. Also I had all my four IDE connections tied up and now with this 120GB drive I could pull out an old 20GB drive I had for storage and this gives me an extra IDE connection, since I have been wanting to install a DVD-R drive.

Bottom line is it is easier to install because of the more flexible cable, no jumper settings, it freed up one of my IDE connections and it is a lot quieter.

The price of around $200 may seem high but remember it does have the 8MB cache built-in.

Here are some of my Computer Hardware Reviews!
Western Digital 100GB EIDE Hard Drive
ATI ALL-IN-WONDER RADEON 8500 Graphics card
Visiontek Visiontek XTasy 6564 AGP 64MB Card
AMD Athlon XP 2100
AMD Athlon XP 2600 Retail
AMD Athlon XP 2700 Processor
Asus A7N8X Motherboard
EPoX EP-8K7A Socket A ATX Motherboard

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