Seagate is launching the industry's first 6Gb/s7200rpm 2TB hard drive today. The 2TB Barracuda XT contains a four platter design sporting 500GB each and rotating at 7,200 RPM. Seagate is including a new 64MB cache scheme, five-year warranty, maximum sustained transfer rate of ~140MB/s, and an estimated street price of $299. The drives should be available later this week in the retail channel.

The big news is full support for the SATA 6G interface along with auto-configure support for the older SATA 1.5 or 3Gb/s interfaces. Seagate is also launching a new version of their SeaTools software that will allow users to short stroke the drives for increased performance, at the cost of capacity.

Of course, one might be wondering where the SATA 6G controllers are right now. It turns out that Marvell is finally ready to start shipping their 88SE9123 controllers after several delays due to a variety of problems, most centering on dual controller designs planned for several motherboard updates in the next 60 days. We expect to see the first native SATA 6G implementation on a Southbridge from AMD early next year.

In the meantime, ASUS will be shipping their P7P55D Premium shortly with the Marvell 9123 chipset. This board features a PEX PLX8613 PCIe bridge chip that will convert four of the PCIe x1 lanes (250MB/s each) into two 500MB/s lanes. While still short of the maximum theoretical 600MB/s transfer speed of the SATA 6G specification, it will provide enough burst bandwidth for these first generation 6G hard drives. Expect to see Marvell 9123 equipped boards from Gigabyte in the near future.

We will be comparing the Barracuda XT 2TB drive to the latest WD Caviar Black 2TB shortly.


Gallery: Seagate XT
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  • Casper42 - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    Also keep in mind that SAS controllers have been upping their speeds to 6Gbps for the past few months now, and with STP in place, you could easily drop a few of these drives into an environment where you have a mix of SAS 15K and SATA 7200. Reply
  • faxon - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    couple of them actually. first off, drives with this interface will have double the cache read/right speed of drives using SATA 3Gb/s, and since a large majority of the IOs hard drives do will fit in this cache, it will increase performance pretty significantly in these situations. as for why they put it on the platter drive at all, my guess would be that they are planning faster products with this interface, and they want to test the controllers out on drives which wont be significantly hindered if the controller isnt capable of performing where they need it to for a higher performance drive Reply
  • plague911 - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    Any one know why manufactures don't put a huge cache on their hard drives? I could be wrong but with the battle going on with SSDs and HDs a 256MB cache would be a nice feature that would potentially not add that much to the cost? Reply
  • chizow - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    Hehe you guys are funny, the only amount of cache that will make any difference is measured in GBs, and then they'll call them SSDs.

    Seriously, look at current drives and the negligible advantage gained from 8 > 16 > 32. 32 > 64 will be even less significant.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it'll be a great HDD with the 500GB platters, high STR, and high capacity (I have two of the 7200.12 1TB drives), but lets not kid ourselves, if you're buying them for SATA 6Gb/s and 64MB cache and undoubtedly paying a hefty premium in the process, you've been Jedi mind-tricked by marketing checkboxes! ;)
    Reply
  • Ipatinga - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    "Seagate is also launching a new version of their SeaTools software that will allow users to short stroke the drives for increased performance, at the cost of capacity."

    How is Seagate going to do that? As far as I know, short stroke only increases performance with benchmarks (since you are benchmarking the fastest part (outter one) of the drive (platter) (depending you the capacity you limited the drive)).

    But hey... if Seagate is smart enough to say this XT with 6Gb/s is going to rock your world and there are people that believe blindly in marketing teams... what the hell right?
    Reply
  • Voo - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    Why should only benchmarks profit from using the outer tracks?

    Even modern OS try to install themselves there because it's a noticable performance boost.
    Reply
  • StraightPipe - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    Short stroking is all about increasing access times.

    Affects performance, not just benchmarks.

    The whole idea is to buy a 2TB drive and only use 5 or 10% of the disk (or whatever portion you like)

    Reply
  • jp7189 - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    Call me goofy, but I'm pretty sure short stroke uses the inside tracks. That's how the 15k RPM short stroke drives do it. It's about reducing head movement and rotatational latency. It takes forever (relatively speaking) for data to come back around at the outter edge vs. much quicker at the inner edge. Reply
  • davekozy - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    The whole platter takes the same amount of time to go around so a bit of data would take the same amount of time to come back around on the outer tracks as on the inner tracks.

    Since the outer tracks are longer they are moving faster then the inner ones so more bits pass the head per second increasing the transfer rate.

    At least I think that's how it works and why short stroking uses the outer part of the discs.
    Reply
  • afkrotch - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    Correct. All you have to do is look at the transfer rates of a CD to understand how short stroking works.

    Course if a drive changes it's rotational speeds to keep a constant transfer rate between the outer tracks and inner tracks, then short stroking doesn't work.

    I'm assuming CAV is how these drives would rotate.
    Reply

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