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Seagate's Barracuda Pushes Drive Ranges

Big just got bigger.

Seagate, which makes some of the highest-capacity storage drives for desktop computers and lower-end servers, has overhauled its Barracuda line of hard drives with an extra 500 gigabytes (half a terabyte).

Designed for low-cost and Serial ATA (SATA) servers, mainstream and high-performance PCs, PC gaming systems and media PCs, the Barracuda 7200.9 line ranges from 40GB to 500GB and offers a speed of 3GB per second.

Seagate said it now offers the industry's most comprehensive line of 3.5-inch drives with capacities of 40, 80, 120, 160, 200, 250, 300, 400 and 500 GB.

"We have storage for just about anything you can do in personal computing and even low-end servers and media workstations," James Knight, Seagate product marketing manager told internetnews.com.

Until now, the highest-capacity Barracuda drive topped out at 400GB. Hitachi shipped a 500GB drive earlier this summer, though Seagate is claiming an advantage in its offering, which it says is quieter and uses fewer components.

The Barracuda drives are already shipping to computer dealers and distributors. They will also begin appearing in PCs and servers later this year.

Desktop storage of hundreds of gigabytes might have seemed outrageously high a few short years ago. But today, with the increasing popularity of music and video downloading, as well as the growing creation and exchange of photo and graphics files, the more capacity the better.

As a rough benchmark, Seagate said 5GB can store up to five hours of digital video, 1,600 digital photos or 83 hours of digital music.

Seagate has reached top marks in shock resistance and quiet operation with the 500GB Barracuda, according to Knight.

The hard drive is designed to withstand up to 63 Gs of operational shock and up to 350 Gs of shock when not in use. At 3.2 bels, seek operations in the 500GB drive are barely audible (2.6 bels is considered the lowest volume the human ear can detect. Seagate's new 160GB drive just beats that at 2.5 bels).

The new Barracuda line includes a five-year warranty as standard. Suggested retail prices start at $61 for the 40GB Barracuda 7200.9 PATA (Parallel ATA) drive; $75 for the 80G SATA; and $429 for the 500G SATA drive.