Seagate Barracuda

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Seagate Barracuda is a hard disk drive series, most of which operate at a spindle speed of 7200 RPM. They are produced by Seagate Technology. Although initially they were marketed as high-performance drives with SCSI interfaces and high capacities for their time, since about 2001, they have become Seagate's main mass-market product as the hard drive industry moved to 7200 RPM for desktop drives.

SCSI models[edit]

Seagate's original Barracuda hard drive, released in 1992, was the industry's first ever hard disk spinning at 7200 RPM. As can be expected from the rotational speed milestone, the drives were very expensive but very fast, and mostly targeted toward servers. The original models, dubbed the Barracuda 2LP series, were available in 2.5GB or 1.2 GB unformatted capacities with up to six platters and SCSI-2 interfaces.[1]

ATA and SATA models[edit]

Barracuda ATA[edit]

This is the first Barracuda family using the AT Attachment (ATA)/IDE interface, specifically ATA/66. They were available in capacities between 6.8 GB and 28.2 GB, with a 512 KB cache buffer.

Barracuda ATA II[edit]

These were available in capacities between 10 GB and 30 GB, with 2 MB cache buffers and the ATA/66 interface.

Barracuda ATA III[edit]

These were available in capacities between 10 GB and 30 GB, with 2 MB cache buffers and the ATA/100 interface.

Barracuda ATA IV[edit]

These were available in capacities between 20 GB and 80 GB, with 2 MB cache buffers and the ATA/100 interface. They are widely known for their very quiet operation, even compared to much newer models.

These disks cannot operate reliably at ATA 100 on RCC/ServerWorks IDE controllers. The drivers of these controllers blacklist the disks and limit their operation to ATA 66.

Barracuda ATA V/Barracuda ATA V Plus/Barracuda Serial ATA V[edit]

This was the first Barracuda family available with the SATA interface as well as ATA/100. Their capacity ranges from 30 GB to 120 GB, with 2 MB cache buffers.

The SATA models have many problems, including random data loss (such as disappearing partitions). These disks cannot work with some Silicon Image SATA controllers. The drivers of these controllers blacklist the disks and limit the maximum sectors of each transaction below 8 KB (15 sectors), which slows performance considerably.

Barracuda 7200.7/Barracuda 7200.7 Plus[edit]

Available in capacities between 40 GB and 200 GB, these were available in ATA/100 as well as SATA with NCQ support. Their buffer size is 2 MB or 8 MB depending on the drive model.

Barracuda 7200.8[edit]

Available in capacities between 200 GB and 400 GB, with either an ATA/100 or SATA interface with NCQ. These were sold alongside the 7200.7 series, providing higher capacities than the 7200.7 could provide. Their buffer size is 8 MB or 16 MB depending on the drive model.

Barracuda 7200.9[edit]

Available in capacities between 40 GB and 500 GB, with ATA/100 or, for the first time, a SATA II 3 Gbit/s interface. Their cache size can be 2 MB, 8 MB or 16 MB, depending on the drive model and interface.

Barracuda 7200.10[edit]

This was the first Seagate product family to implement perpendicular recording for higher capacities. They were available in capacities between 80 GB and 750 GB, and either an ATA/100 or SATA II 3 Gbit/s interface. Their cache size can be 2 MB, 8 MB or 16 MB, depending on the drive model and interface.

The SATA models of this family with firmware 3.AAK [codename GALAXY] or older (e.g. 3.AAE[dubious ][codename TONKA]) have introduced a firmware (microcode) bug:

  • There is a performance anomaly using hdparm with an NCQ queue depth of 31 in AHCI mode. Speed test measures only 55–64 MB/s (expected: >70–75 MB/s).

Seagate does not officially provide firmware updates for this issue.

However, an unofficial firmware update[dubious ] (3.AAM) exist for ST3320820AS with P/N 9BJ13G-308, ST3320620AS with P/N 9BJ14G-308 (with firmware 3.AAK), ST3500830AS with P/N 9BJ136-308 and ST3500630AS with P/N 9BJ146-308. For these drives, update the firmware to 3.AAM to fix the bug.

Barracuda 7200.11[edit]

Their capacity ranges from 160 GB to 1.5 TB. They support SATA 3 Gbit/s only. Codenames are Moose (earlier revision) and Brinks (later revision). Their cache size can be 8 MB, 16 MB or 32 MB, depending on the drive model.[2]

This family has introduced many severe firmware (microcode) bugs:

  • Disks may not show and utilize all the cache.[8]
  • FLUSH_CACHE commands may time out when NCQ is used.[9]
  • There is a performance anomaly using hdparm with NCQ queue depth 31 in AHCI mode. Speed test measures only 45–50 MB/s (expected: > 100–110 MB/s).
  • Disks may be inaccessible at power on.[3]

Disks affected by the last bug will not be detected by the computer BIOS after a reboot. Numerous users have complained of this and are discussing it in a public forum [10] when discussions in the Seagate forums [11] were subjected to heavy moderation and subsequently closed. The symptom of the problem is that the computer BIOS will no longer detect the hard disk after a reboot, and upon connecting to the hard disk with a serial TTL board, this error code will be seen as "LED:000000CC FAddr:0024A051". Faulty firmware triggers this "failure", and the hard disk "disappearances" seem to be happening in November and December, 2008 and 2009, and are still going on as reported in the forums.

Seagate FreeAgent external drives have also utilized 7200.11 hard disks with SDxx firmware and people have reported failures of these drives as well. The access LED remains permanently on even after a USB disconnect and the drive is no longer detected. Seagate, however, says that they are unaffected by the firmware problems, so only the opening of the drive enclosure reveals the truth. The drives have also become known for their unusually high failure rates, including sudden mechanical failures, the rapid development of large numbers of bad sectors, the motherboard detecting the drive as a different model, and the drive regularly "freezing" when being read from or written to.[citation needed]

Two companies have claimed to be able to resolve this problem using their solution, namely Ace Laboratory PC3000-UDMA (version 4.13) [12] and Salvation Data HD Doctor for Seagate (version 3.0) [13].

In order to fix the first bug, Seagate released a firmware update (version AD14) for the affected disk models. In order to fix the second, third and fourth bug, Seagate released firmware updates (version SD1A, SD1B, SD2B,SD81) for the affected disk models. Owners that have already updated their disks to AD14 have to repeat the process one more time with the latest firmware (version SD1A).

The SD2B firmware update for Brinks silently removes the DCO ATA feature from the disks while SD1A for Moose adds two ATA features.

Barracuda 7200.12[edit]

Their capacity ranges from 160 GB to 1.0 TB. Initial models (CCxx firmware) supported up to SATA II 3 Gbit/s, while later revisions (firmware JCxx) support the newer SATA III 6 Gbit/s standard.[4] Their cache size can be 8 MB, 16 MB or 32 MB, depending on the drive model. Power consumption is reduced from previous models, resulting in lower operating temperatures with reliability advantages but Seagate literature states no defined warranty period.

Barracuda LP[edit]

Meant for mass storage applications favoring low heat output, quiet operation, and better-than-average energy efficiency, these drives rotate at 5900 RPM instead of the standard 7200 RPM. Their capacity ranges from 500 GB to 2 TB. They support SATA 3 Gbit/s and their buffer sizes are 16 MB and 32 MB, depending on the model.

The Barracuda LP series also present firmware issues that might be alleviated by the latest firmware available on the Seagate web site (CC35)[5] – although there are reports that drives with the CC35 firmware loaded continue to exhibit the same problems as earlier firmware releases.[6] The most commonly referred issue with the Barracuda LP series drives appears to be one variation or another of the infamous click of death problem; the drive will start to emit a regular clicking noise at some point in its early life (possibly even at first start) and after some time will fail altogether, often not much more than a few months later. While the clicking noise is emitted, the hard drive is inaccessible and may prevent the BIOS detection.

Barracuda Green[edit]

The Barracuda Green series was introduced in December 2010 as a high-performance, eco-friendly, low-power internal drive, replacing the Barracuda LP series.[7] It is the first to use Advanced Format 4 KB (4096 bytes) sectors and operates at 5900 RPM. They are available in capacities of 1 TB, 1.5 TB and 2 TB, with support for SATA 3 Gbit/s or SATA 6 Gbit/s and 32 MB or 64 MB buffer sizes, depending on the model.

The Barracuda Green series was discontinued in February 2012. The SmartAlign technology that featured in the Barracuda Green drives was transferred to the Barracuda range.[8]

Barracuda XT[edit]

This is the first Barracuda family supporting SATA 6 Gbit/s and its buffer size is 64 MB. They are meant as a serious high-performance drive for expensive workstations and gaming PCs, essentially the polar opposite of the Barracuda LP/Green series. The disk is available in either 2 TB or 3 TB capacities. The disk's sustained data transfer rate is 149 MB/s.

Seagate discontinued the Barracuda XT series in early 2012.[9]

Barracuda 7200.14[edit]

Introduced in Q1 2012, these drives introduced the industry's first 1 TB/platter technology and continue the SATA 6 Gbit/s interface. Capacities vary from 250 GB to 3 TB at 7200 RPM with cache sizes varying from 16 MB to 64 MB depending on model. Seagate claims that the accompanying power savings removed the need for their previous low-power "green" models, which were phased out. Lower power usage is becoming more common from various drive manufacturers, as it reduces temperature rise which is a significant positive factor in drive reliability. As of Q4 2012, this is Seagate's primary Barracuda model.

Desktop HDD.15[edit]

With the introduction of its first 15th-generation hard drive product in April 2013, Seagate dropped the Barracuda name, and rebranded the series as "Desktop HDD". The first disk in the series is a 4 TB drive, rotating at 5900 RPM, rather than the traditional 7200 RPM.

Barracuda ES[edit]

ES[edit]

The original ES (Enterprise Storage) family were high reliability drives designed for business critical use with all drives having a 5 year warranty. Their capacity ranges from 250 GB to 750 GB. They support SATA 3 Gbit/s. Their buffer size is 8 MB or 16 MB. The performance is similar to the 7200.10

ES.2[edit]

Their capacity ranges from 500 GB to 1 TB. They support SATA 3 Gbit/s or SAS. Their buffer size is 16 MB for SAS models and 32 MB for SATA models. The performance (and probably the design) is similar to the 7200.11.

Similar to the 7200.11 family, this family has introduced many firmware (microcode) bugs:

  • RAID arrays using these disks may fail.[14]
  • Secure Erase command is not handled properly.[15]
  • There is a performance anomaly using hdparm with NCQ queue depth 31 in AHCI mode. Speed test measures only 50 MB/s (expected: >100MB/s).[16]
  • Disks may be inaccessible at power on.[17]

Warranty length[edit]

Seagate is offering only a one-year warranty with its standard Barracuda drives.[10]

References[edit]

External links[edit]