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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  • Nihility - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    Short stroking should be a feature of the file system. Put data that is mostly unused at the end and so the drive spends most of its time in the high performance area.

    That way you get high performance and the storage capacity you need. Long term archives of documents and photos that you only need once a year will be kept on the inner tracks where they prevent data that is used more often from being placed there. Could be done as a part of the weekly defrag.
  • apriest - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    Shouldn't a good defragmenter put data on faster parts of a drive already? I would also expect a well designed controller to do the same. This seems more like a way of avoiding an issue than brilliant engineering. Reply
  • Casper42 - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    Not to mention all you have to do is create 2 partitions on the drive to achieve the same thing.

    Rather than Short Stroking the drive to something like 500GB, just create a 500GB partition and then another 1.5GB partition.
    The 500GB will be fast and the 1.5 will be slower.

    Don't want the 1.5 to get in the way? (steal IOPs) Then don't partition it and just leave it unused.
    Its not rocket science.
  • Tuor - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    Excepting an unexpected failure, I don't intend to buy another HD. My next drive is going to be a SSD. It seems to me that by next summer, maybe earlier, SSD prices will come down to the point that there will be little reason to buy a HD.

    Yeah, this drive is 2 TB, which is huge... but I don't need that much space. Even if I stuck all the games I own on my HD, I doubt I'd even hit 1 TB. Yeah, there are certainly people that can make use of such a drive, but I think most people, when they look at the transfer speeds and other factors that a SSD brings to the table, are going to forego a bigger drive in favor of a SSD that is faster and has no moving parts.

    Next year I think the SSD will come into its own, and I'm putting off any purchase of data storage until then. I'm sure I'm not alone.
  • afkrotch - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    Little reason for you to buy a regular hdd, but not little reason for me.

    I currently have 7 TB of storage with 4 TB of external storage for backups. I already need to purchase some more external storage, as I've broken the 4 TB mark in data. I give it another year, before I'll need to increase from 7 TB.

    I can't even imagine getting an SSD for my OS drive. I couldn't feel a difference going from a 7,200 rpm drive to a Raptor. Maybe games loaded faster or something, during loading, I'm watching a TV show on my other comp during a load sequence. I usually notice well after the load has completed, that it actually completed.

    I'd rather build a new computer with a 2TB hdd, than buy multiple SSDs just to hit 2 TB. Then the leftover money, I'd buy some hookers and play blackjack.
  • Tuor - Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - link

    I did mention that I know others will actually find use for such a huge amount of storage space. It's just that I think that the vast majority of people will not need that much space any time soon. Maybe I am underestimating the amount of data most users need, so you guys could be right and I am lowballing things.

    But if I am right about this, then it seems to me that Seagate and those that follow are going to find it increasingly difficult to market HD drives over SSDs as the latter begin to mature and the economy of scale begins to take effect. I think we'll have a good idea by next summer.
  • Fanfoot - Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - link

    Actually, I agree with you. Personally, I'll be putting at least two drives in most of my systems--an SSD boot/application drive, and a spinning disk media drive. But I don't think I'm remotely typical. I think most people's needs will be fulfilled by a single drive, and that drive will be an SSD reasonably soon. The prices still need to come down quite a bit though.

    Will a typical user choose the $100 500GB drive, or the $300 80GB drive? I thinks its obvious they'll choose the 500GB drive for now. Eventually though as prices come down and capacity creeps up, they'll realize they'd rather have a $100 SSD even if its 1/2 or 1/4 the size of that rotating platter, given that they probably don't need all the space that platter offers...
  • strikeback03 - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    Anyone who keeps lots of photos or rips/downloads videos is probably not going to be using SSDs for all their storage anytime soon. That may not be you, but I'm sure there is a group with multiple terabytes worth of videos on HDDs. Reply
  • QChronoD - Monday, September 21, 2009 - link

    I've been ripping all my DVDs to hdd so that I can easily browse through everything. (still looking for a better interface box, 360-MCE is slow and doesn't play the majority of my anime)

    Right now I have 3x 1.5T hitachi's that are each about 60-80% full.
    I think I'll hold of on upgrading those until they either fail or there are 10TB drives out.

    OT - Does anyone know a site that has a good comparison of the more popular media boxes and has a good list of what does/doesn't work on each? I'm looking at the new PCH C-200 cause it seems to play everything ever invented. (except HDDVD)
  • somedude1234 - Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - link

    Try MPC Club for info on the various devices:">

    I have an iStar Mini (same chipset & FW as a PCH), PS3, and a DLNA-capable Samsung TV. I can stream to all of them using PS3 media server (really really great software):">

    IMHO, from an interface standpoint, it goes PS3 > PCH > DLNA-TV (my sammy at least). It shouldn't surprise you that the more powerful devices have much better & smoother interfaces.

    Also, for some reason the url and quote features aren't working for me right now.

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