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Seagate ST3120022A Barracuda

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  • not really 120gig for you to use
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      16.10.2003 06:23
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      • "not really 120gig for you to use"

      ---Introduction---- Recently I wrote a comment on the IBM Deskstar 75GXP series of harddrives to be found here : http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/computers/hard_disk_drives/ibm_deskstar_75gxp/_review/ 423529/ You can either read it or not but if you do you'll understand that currently I am quite sensitive when it comes to buying harddrives. So this time my bad experiences with the IBMs made me turn to another manufacturer to satisfy my need for bigger a bigger harddrive. Especially that since the purchase of my Leadtek TV capturecard I am using my PC as a digital videorecorder and therefore my needs for more storage capacity have grown considerably. And if this review turns into a bit of a rant it can only be attributed to the above mentionned sensitivity, which is helped in no way by the fact that only last monday my "replacement" IBM DTLA307045 had in its turn to be sent off after only nine months of dubious duty and I have every chance of receiving the exact same type of "re-serviced useable part" under IBM's warranty policy. --- Now Why the Seagate ST3120022A Barracuda ? --- For no particular reason really, only that I have bought several Seagates in the past and that when you search for comments on it on the web, on the whole Seagate seems to have a reasonable general trackrecord when it comes to reliability. Also with the Seagates I myself never (and i really mean never) had the kind of nightmare experiences the IBM Deathstars made me go through. The choice of the 120Gb capacity was based solely on the fact that at my usual dealer's it seemed to be size of harddrive that offered the best value for money. Quick technical overview : Theoretical storage capacity : 120Gigabytes Real world storage capacity (formatted under NTFS) : 111,8 gigabytes (*) Spindle Speed : 7200 rounds per minute Cache buffer : 2 megabytes Average
      access times : seek 8.5milliseconds /read 8.5 milliseconds /write 9.5 milliseconds Interface : Ultra ATA/100 Of course I'm fully aware that is not the best (in terms of performance) Seagate harddrive money can buy today, in its catalogue Seagate has drives of much higher specifications on offer. This Seagate ST3120022A Barracuda is member of the Barracuda 7200.7 family of harddrives, which is really their budget line. Besides that there is also the Barracuda ATA V - series with ATA133 interface and 8 megabytes of cache and even further up the scale there are the Cheetahs. But since my misadventures with the IBMs, which were at the time highly praised in the press for their top performance, I think I have learned my lesson and I simply no longer care about that. I am already quite satisfied settling for just plain "good" performance if it will increase my chances of not having to say bye bye to my precious data at the next hiccup. I've also now learned the hard way that a harddrive product can only really be evaluated over a longer period of time, let's say up to and over a year of regular use. Only then you can start claiming that a harddrive is good. Therefore I was fairly angry when I recently saw Tomshardware.com praising the latest Hitachi Deskstar product skyhigh. Exactly what happened now three years ago with the 75GXP series and see where that got me. Also, in the meantime, all major harddrive manufacturers have reduced the warranty period for all but their topmodels from three to just one year (!). This gives you really something to think about as I interpret this as they themselves having litle confidence in their new products. Maybe it is a questionof murderous competition : price per gigabyte seems to be tumpbling down at an astonishing rate. But from us the consumer's point of view it is a move that inspires very litle reassurance indeed. ---Conclusion--- Therefore I will be very careful in rating this Seagate product : I'll start by giving it just three stars since it works as expected, it is quite silent in operation (although this is hard to evaluate when installed in today's noisy high performance PCs) and hasn't reported any errors yet. With Seagate's own installation software, called "DiscWizard", freely downloadable from the Seagate website, installing the harddrive in a new (via a bootdiskette) or adding it to an existing system (via an application running under Windows) is a breeze. Much much easier than when you have to call upon Microsoft's own akward and antiquated fdisk programme. (*) Note : when it comes to storage capacity we are being tricked (and swallowing it) in the same way as with CRT Monitors, where a 17 inch monitor never gave you 17 inches of viewable surface - you were lucky if you got 16 !- such is the fact that in harddrives the mentionned capacity is never the real amount of data you can store. After formatting one of today's large capacity drives several gigabytes seem to have vanished into thin air. Or have they been sacrificed on the altar of the Hardware Gods ? Cheers, Vik

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