Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Seagate Barracuda 3TB Hard Drive Review:Is it king of the hard drive waters?


This past Black Friday had tons of storage deals and this 3TB Barracuda might have been the highlight of those storage sales.With prices as low as $89.99 for this particular drive from several online retailers this drive quickly became a must buy item even if it wasn't a necessity such as my purchase of it.I bought this particular drive for $99.99 at Amazon and received it a day later.Now with the drive finally in hand lets see if there is something more than a low price that makes this drive so highly sought after.
Seagate Barracuda 3 terabyte hard drive

The Seagate Barracuda model ST3000DM001 isn't a new drive.It's been on the market a while now.This drive has common features seen in performance desktops like a 7,200 rpm disk speed,64mb cache buffer,and a SATA 6gb/s interface.To differentiate themselves from the competition and give their products a lead in performance Seagate has infused their drives with the latest in hard drive technology and made them standard features on their latest 7200.14 generation Barracuda lineup.Those features are:high density 1tb capacity disk platters and 4k Advanced Format.By increasing the density of the data tracks to an amazing 340,000 tracks per inch Seagate has squeezed an entire terabyte of capacity on a two-sided disk platter.Thanks to the increased density there is only 3 total platters inside this Barracuda versus 5-platter designs of the previous 3tb Barracuda XT model and competitor 3tb hard drives.To help transition to such higher capacities Seagate has dumped the legacy 512 byte sector format for the 4K or 4,096 byte Advanced Format that is 8 times larger than the old standard.This size increase enables a much larger amount of data to be read and written per sector block.AF also introduces improvements in ECC by allowing twice as much ECC data to be present in a sector block.This allows for greater ECC algorithms for error detection and correction.Just these two new features should yield improved performance and greater data integrity. 

The Seagate Barracuda also has other functionality and peformance features that are comparable to what may be seen on compeititor's drives and are noted below.For more detailed information of this drive click here

  • Seagate OptiCache™ technology improves performance by up to 45%
  • Seagate AcuTrac™ technology enables reliable read/write performance even in high touch operating environments
  • Seagate SmartAlign™ technology for no-hassle transition to Advanced Format 4K sector technology
  • Free DiscWizard™ software enables 3TB drive use on legacy PC BIOS as well as Windows XP-based systems

Performance Testing

I will be testing the drive on a X79 Asus P9X79 Workstation motherboard.The Seagate will be connected to one of the native Intel SATA 6gb/s port with ACHI mode enabled and the latest Intel RSTE driver installed.Operating system is 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate edition.The drive's firmware was also updated to version CC4H.Drive was allocated a 4096 allocation size in windows,quickly formatted and tested f
ree of data.

Crystal Disk Mark 3.0.1
 Looking at the results.One should be immediately impressed.Peak sequential reads and writes were just over 180 mb/s!.Such hard drive transfer speeds are only common in enterprise level 2.5 inch SAS hard drives.Certainly the greater density and 4K Advanced Format play a strong role in the exceptional sequential results.512K results aren't shabby either posting reads over 50mb/s and solid writes nearing 90mb/s.Looking at the 4k results there is nothing to write home about.Hard drives have never posted high 4k results and never will due to the physical limitations of their design.Only solid state drives will toss out huge and impressive 4K numbers.Don't feel too disappointed, as paltry as the 4k numbers are compared to an ssd the hard drive numbers are more than capable of delivering a quality computing experience.   

HD Tune Pro 4.61
Read Benchmark

HD Tune Pro is a really comprehensive bench mark tool.It offers a plethora of features that are very useful.One of them is the Read/Write benchmark.The above pic is the results of a read test.Looking closer at the read results we see reads having a maximum 216.8 mb/s,minimum of 90.3 mb/s and an average of 162.8 mb/s.Exceptional read performance throughout.The minimum 90 mb/s read of this drive is still faster than the maximum read rates of some hard drives that are barely 5 years old.Hard drive technology certainly has improved in recent years.Looking on to the access time we see a modest 15.2 millisecond result.That number isn't very quick but falls in line with the majority of high capacity 7,200 rpm drives.If your worried about access times with this drive then you are looking at the wrong drive entirely.Burst rate is speedy 346.5 mb/s.CPU usage was somewhat high for a modern hard drive but I felt no negative impact on system performance.

Now on to the write benchmark.The writes aren't as high as the reads which is typical of storage devices.The drive posted a maximum of 212.8 mb/s, minimum of 69.9 mb/s, and an average of 159 mb/s.Solid numbers throughout but it appears the minimum writes took a shot when compared to the 90 mb/s read result.Still the performance outclasses previous generation's of 3.5 inch hard drives.In looking at the write access time one would have give a  double take looking at the 0.533 millisecond result.I ran the benchmark several times and kept getting this astonishing low number.It appears either something is skewing access reading or the Barracuda became a solid state drive overnight.I don't think it's the latter or this would be the worst performing ssd I've seen in years.I believe the write access time is from the drive's cache.I'm sure Opticache,Seagate's cache optimizing technology is the culprit in this matter.Never had this happen on Western Digital or Hitachi manufactured drives.No matter the reason the drive works and performs like it should.Burst rate is 348.2 mb/s.Even the cache performance is some of the fastest I've seen from a hard drive.Opticache has had another impact in the benchmarks but in a expected way.C
PU usage was again high but I still felt no negative impact to system performance.


For a diehard Western Digital fan and proud owner of nearly a dozen Western Digital hard drives I am extremely impressed by this 3tb Barracuda from Seagate.It is one of the fastest hard drives on the market and has the latest features like 4k Advanced Format and 1 terabyte disk platters.Even Western Digital's touted performance line of Caviar Black drives doesn't include those two features and sell at a much higher price for lesser performance.Although the Black hard drives offer a generous 5 year warranty versus 2 years for the Seagate.Odds are in favor of most drives lasting well beyond their warranty periods and with such great deals to be had on these drives it's pretty much impossible to pass on
this hard drive.I didn't and you shouldn't either.I highly recommend this hard drive for any desktop usage.


  • Low price
  • 1 terabyte disk platters
  • 4k Advanced Format
  • Excellent sequential speeds
  • Huge 3 terabyte capacity


  • 2 year warranty.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I hope you spent lot of time for update this Blog. Thanks for sharing.
    Online Hard Drive