Seagate is a launching a pair of 1TB capacity disks with advanced power-saving technology. This could save up to a quarter of the power consumed by normal drives. It has also announced a ruggedised 2.5-inch drive holding 80GB. Hitachi was the first to market with a 1TB drive a month or so ago.

The Barracuda 7200.11 is a 3.5-inch format drive, spinning at 7,200rpm and holds 500GB, 750GB or 1TB of data. Its sustained data rate of 105MB/s is the highest ever attained for a desktop drive and it is also the world's quietest desktop drive. Conceptually the 1TB drive is four 250GB platters using Seagate's 2nd generation perpendicular recording technology. The interface is serial ATA (SATA) II running at 3GB/s.

The Barracuda ES.2 is the enterprise version of the drive with improved mean time before failure of 1.2 million hours compared to the consumer version's 1 million hours. It has both SATA and SAS (serial attached SCSI) interfaces and comes in 250GB, 500GB, 750GB and 1TB configuration.

Micro-control of power

Seagate has added a power-saving technology, branded PowerTrim, to these drives. Their electronics are managed by new firmware and hardware that monitors what the drive is doing and switches off power to unused parts of the drive electronics. If the drive is reading then separate read electronics can be switched off. Ditto for the write electronics if the drive is reading data. If there is no data being transferred then the cache and memory can be switched off and/or refresh cycles delayed.

This micro-control of power within the drive yields an average power saving of about 25 percent over a drive without the technology. That translates into quite a substantial power saving in an array of such drives. It generates a 125GB/watt rating compared to the previous ES generation's 80GB/watt.

The drives come with either SATA (for consumers and enterprises) or SAS (for enterprises) interfaces and have an MFRP of $329 (c£180 at ordinary conversion rate) compared to competitor Hitachi GST's $399 (c£210) for its 1TB drive. So customers save on acquisition cost and again on total cost of ownership.

Htachi's 5-platter 1TB drive does not come with an SAS interface making it less attractive to enterprise customers.

Seagate has also announced the ES25.2, a hardened 80GB, 2.5-inch, SATA drive built to operate in rough environments with hostile temperature, vibration, humidity, shock and altitude conditions. It can withstand more vibration than any other stand-alone drive and comes with a 5-year warranty.