Seagate has added two new 1 TB drives to its Barracuda fleet of HDDs, namely the Barracuda 7200.11 and ES.2. These use Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) technique on four platters, which results in higher data density than achieved with traditional Longitudinal Recording technology and hence high-storage capacity in small form factor, ie 250 GB per disk plate. The ES.2 is meant for storage-hungry business apps, while the 7200.11 hard drive is targeted at desktop users. Both drives support SATA II interface, which enables up to 3 Gbit/sec transfer rate. A high cache memory of 32 MB ensures that the number of accesses to the drive are reduced, thereby enhancing performance.
The ES.2 claims to boost reliability with an unrecoverable error rate that is ten times better than desktop class drives. It is primarily designed to be used for demanding business and Nearline enterprise storage environments like NAS, datacenters for disc-to-disc backup, or for archiving solutions, etc. With ES.2, Seagate has become the first to provide customers with a SAS (Serial attached SCSI) interface option in addition to SATA. This allows greater flexibility to both OEMs and end users, as they can use the interface they see most fit.
The 7200.11 with its huge 1 TB storage capacity also makes it ideal for Home Theatre systems and extreme high-end gaming machines where space is a constraint but storage capacity demand is always high. The 7200.11 uses Native Command Queuing (NCQ), which improves disk access speeds by internally optimizing the order in which received read and write commands will get executed. The drive also has lower acoustics along with energy efficiency that consumes less power during disk idle time.
We tested both drives on an Athlon FX 55 based machine with 512 MB DDR RAM. As can be seen from the graphs, the Barracuda ES.2 outperformed its cousin, the 7200.11 as well as Hitachi's DeskStar that we reviewed in August this year. Its performance in Business Disk Winmark was a little lower than DeskStar, but higher than the 7200.11. The 7200.11 itself gives a higher average transfer rate than the DeskStar, but performs lower in the other two benchmarks. The ES.2 gave an access time of 12.8 ms, which was a little higher than the DeskStar's 11.4 ms (lower is better). The 7200.11gave the highest access time of 13.2 ms. This also explains why its performance is lower than the other two in both Disk Winmark tests. The ES.2's scores clearly indicate that it's indeed meant for high-end apps.
Bottomline: The ES.2 drive is quite befitting for the data transfer rate-conscious systems like Network Attached Storage systems. While 7200.11 is ideal for desktop users who do not want two or more drives whirring and humming in their cabinets.