Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 SATA review

£200
Price when reviewed

If you keep a lot of media on your PC, the Barracuda 7200.9, which offers 465GB of storage after Windows formatting, is a seriously tempting proposition.

As a SATA 2 drive, the interface allows a bandwidth of 300MB/sec, although in practice the mechanics of the drive prevent the Barracuda coming close to this. Using HD Tach we saw a maximum burst read speed of 133MB/sec, and a random access time of 14.1ms – comfortably close to Seagate’s claim of 11ms. The sustained transfer rate (STR) was 51.8MB/sec, which is on a par with the A-Listed Maxtor DiamondMax 10, which scored 53.9MB/sec in the same test in our last hard disk Labs.

On our 3.6GHz Pentium 4 test rig, we copied 3,967 files (a total of 100MB) in 29 seconds – a write speed of 3MB/sec. Writing a single 100MB file took just five seconds – a write speed of 20MB/sec. Reading the large files took just two seconds (50MB/sec), and the small files 19 seconds for a read speed of 5MB/sec.

Although all these speeds mean the Barracuda will stand up well to everyday use, it isn’t the fastest drive around. Seagate’s previous 160GB 7200.8 disk had a large file write speed of 61.3MB/sec, and a small file write speed of 9.3MB/sec, while its STR speed was 57.8MB/sec.

The primary downside for the Barracuda is its value for money. Per gigabyte, the DiamondMax 10 costs 23p, while the Barracuda costs nearly twice as much – 40p. One factor in Seagate’s favour, though, is its excellent record of reliability: it shared top spot for this in our reader-voted Reliability & Service Awards. It’s also a quiet runner, being barely audible when in a chassis.

If your system chassis is lacking free 3.5in internal bays, the Barracuda is a decent drive – respectable speeds and lots of storage space make it perfect for media applications, and future-proof for everyone else. But if you can install more than one hard disk at a time, you’ll find the same storage and better performance for less cash

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