Can you really ever have enough hard disk storage? We don’t think so. All too many times we’ve gone and bought a monster hard drive and uttered those immortal words “I’ll never fill this!” only to find six months down the line that ripping our whole CD and DVD collection has made that once mighty drive seem woefully insufficient.
Of course hard disk manufacturers are always striving to release ever larger drives to slake our continued storage lust and 1TB hard drives are now increasingly commonplace in enthusiast systems thanks to continually tumbling prices that have made even a high performance 1TB drive well within everyone’s reach.
Going beyond 1TB of capacity is still rare though, and as of yet only Seagate has released such a drive with its 1.5TB Barracuda 7200.11. With an NTFS formatted capacity of 1397.26GB, it manages to pack more storage space into a shiny 3.5” wide box than any other hard disk drive (that is unless you count continued rumours of a 2TB Western Digital drive).
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Seagate’s massive drive is able cram in all this storage thanks to the use of four massive 375GB drive platters, a shift from the quad 250GB drives used in Seagate’s smaller 1TB drive. This increase in platter density should certainly help to improve drive performance, especially when you consider the next highest densities per platter are the 334GB platters found in Samsung's Spinpoint F1 1TB.
With a higher density, the drive’s read/write heads have a shorter distance to travel between data on the platter, improving performance, so we’re hopeful for a noticeable step up in performance from Seagate’s 1TB.
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However, the use of four newer, larger platters, and their accompanying read/write heads means the price is going to be a fair bit higher than competing 1TB drives - over £35 in fact. Bizarrely though this doesn’t seem to be so much the case in the USA right now, with Seagate’s 1.5TB much more appealing to the wallet at just $30 more than Samsung’s 1TB champion.
Other than the larger capacity platters though this is still a very similar drive to Seagate’s 1TB drive, with the same 7,200 RPM platter speed, 32MB of cache and second generation perpendicular recording technology used on both drives. This is more of a next step up for Seagate’s line of 7200.11 drives rather than a totally redesigned disk, which certainly brings up some concerns – while nippy the quad platter Seagate 1TB drive isn’t the fastest 1TB drive we’ve tested. Will the 125GB improvement in drive platter density prove enough to topple the competition? Let's find out.