Higher density, faster transfers.
While a lot of people still use 7,200RPM hard drives as their main drives, SSDs are fast becoming the first choice for desktop enthusiasts. Even laptops have shown a tendency to go with SSDs because of performance gains. As such, 3.5-inch HDDs with higher capacities are relegated to data storage in today’s world. I’ll be looking at one such drive today, the Seagate Barracuda 3TB SATA III hard drive.
As far as most of us are concerned, higher capacity hard drives just mean more data to store on a single physical drive. What we ignore is the fact that how higher density platters can improve performance as well as lower heat & power consumption.
Basically higher density hard drives mean more data can be stored on a single platter. Now in a small area you’re getting access to more data resulting in better sequential read & write speeds. So like digital cameras, more pixels give better results; but not always.
For testing the Seagate Barracuda 3TB hard drive, I have used the below testbed.
I have used ATTO Disk Benchmark to get the sequential read and write speeds, while the burst speed was measured using HD Tach.
The PCMark 7 Storage benchmarks are some of the most stressing tests designed for modern hard drives and solid state drives. There are a number of tests performed, focusing on different aspects of the drive and eventually churn out a score based on the overall performance of the drive.
For testing how the Seagate Barracuda 3TB would perform if used as a primary device, I measured Windows 7 boot time and World of Warcraft loading time.
For the Windows 7 boot time, I installed a fresh copy of Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit on these hard drives, with just the basic drivers installed for the motherboard and graphics card. No antivirus or any other applications were installed since any programs installed by users are arbitrary and will change startup time. The time measured in seconds below is after POST (when the ‘Starting Windows’ logo appears) till the time I see the desktop and mouse.
As for the WoW test, I logged into my account and used my level 85 character who’s flying on a mount in the middle of Stormwind city. The actual measurements were from double-clicking on my character when the load screen begins, till the load screen ends and the world appears. This is an extremely strenuous test as the hard drive has to load the entire world with maximum graphical settings, including a very large draw distance, as well as all the people currently populating the city at the time, with all of their mounts and special gear and high-res textures.
The above real world tests show that despite the incredible transfer speeds thanks to higher density platters, the Seagate Barracuda 3TB is still limited by the harsh realities of life: 7,200RPM hard drives with relatively tiny cache just cannot hope to match with hybrid and solid state drives.
In a world where we need access to heavy programs and browsers that get larger by the add-ons, not to mention extremely demanding video games, normal 7,200RPM hard drives just can’t cut it anymore. On the other hand, sequential transfer speeds are exceptional, which is what you should be concerned about if you’re going to use the Seagate Barracuda 3TB just for data storage.