Seagate Desktop HDD.15 4TB Hard Drive Review

Author: AkG
Date: May 20, 2013
Product Name: 4TB Desktop HDD.15
Part Number: ST4000DM000
Warranty: 2 Years
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Seagate’s hard drive lineup is in the midst of some significant changes and their new Desktop HDD.15 4TB drive is the headline act. Gone are the Barracuda, Constellation, Barracuda XT and Momentus lines of yesteryear, all of which have been replaced with a simplified naming scheme. For example, the Barracuda 7200.14 lineup is now being rebranded Desktop HDD.15 while the Baracuda XT series will now carry the SSHD branding. These changes are being carried out in parallel with the inclusion of new, next generation drives like the Desktop HDD.15 4TB in today’s review.

This unique drive’s design has been reworked from the ground up and is radically different than Seagate’s previous fourteen generations, allowing the HDD.15 to take an entirely different approach to consumer storage. The new philosophy can best be summed up in two words: efficient performance.

While power consumption hasn't been overly affected, quite a bit of work is being focused on optimizing data throughput and efficiency. Even acoustics have been analyzed and improved, perfectly avoiding the loud, clicking drives that Seagate released a few years ago.

Even though every generation of consumer-grade high performance HDDs has become slightly more efficient and have typically consumed a touch less power, none could hold a candle to the - now defunct – Barracuda LP line in the efficiency category. They used a unique 5900RPM rotational speed while other models like the Barracuda and Western Digital’s Black series hovered at 7200RPM. Much like Western Digitals ‘Green’ line, this approach tended to translate into lower power consumption, though with a rather large performance hit.

Believe it or not, the new Desktop HDD.15 4TB isn’t a 7200RPM drive, but it doesn’t stride into the low performance territory of 5900RPM models either. Rather, it takes key ingredients from both high performance and high efficiency segments to create an all new fusion which should offer reasonable power consumption with great performance.

Seagate has been able to accomplish this by taking the 1TB platters of the previous 7200.14 Barracuda and pairing them up with a lower spindle speed of 5900RPM. However, Seagate states that a good portion of this reduction in spindle speed should be mitigated by more intelligent caching algorithms – ‘OptiCache’ – and 64MB of local cache space.

Of course, the four 1TB platters will also help boost the overall performance of this drive as it is the only 4TB drive on the market which doesn’t use five or more platters. In practical terms, less platters allows the tracking heads to find information quicker across each spindle. This fact alone should help boost the performance over typical 2TB and 3TB models.

With an online average asking price of only $179 – or about $35 less than a Western Digital Black 3TB – these factors may indeed allow the HDD.15 4TB to perform above most consumers’ expectations. However, compared to the Seagate Barracuda 3TB – one of the few 7200rpm drives available with 1TB platters– this reduced rotational speed will indeed be seen as a major weakness considering the Desktop HDD.15 4TB does come with a ~50% price premium.

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