Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB review
Ultra-high capacity internal hard disks are slowly entering the mainstream, despite their associated hardware limitations. The Barracuda XT, Seagate’s first 3TB disk, doesn’t include a hardware workaround to prepare it for use with older operating systems; instead, a downloadable software utility is available from Seagate's website.
DiscWizard is a straightforward tool that partitions and formats the disk from within Windows, enabling support for 32-bit operating systems including Windows XP, which can’t natively recognise disks with capacity higher than 2.2TB. Much of its functionality is built into Windows 7, so we didn’t need to use it when installing the disk in our test system. One benefit of installing the software is that it can clone an existing disk onto the Barracuda, which should make system upgrades much simpler.
With SATA3 support and 64MB of cache, we expected decent performance from the disk. It was very quick at transferring large files, writing them at 125MB/s and reading at 141.6MB/s; by themselves, these results make it the fastest 3TB disk we’ve tested, but small files were noticeably slower. Write speeds of 74.5MB/s are average, but 32.7MB/s read speeds were very disappointing.
Performance aside, the Barracuda XT impressed us with its straightforward setup. Anyone using an older operating system may be put off buying an ultra-high capacity disk because of compatibility issues, but Seagate has produced a comprehensive software tool that makes installation a breeze.
It’s unfortunate that it costs so much more than other 3TB disks, effectively pricing itself out of the competition. Buy the Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 3TB instead.
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