hard drive history

revolutions: 3600 > 4500 > 7200 rpm

Seagate Decathlon 851

Photo: Red Hill.

Seagate Decathlon 851

The Decathlon 850 went end of life while it was still a very popular drive, and with no real successor announced. For Seagate, it just cost too much to make. Quantum was starting to make some excellent drives at around this time, but here at Red Hill we switched to the very satisfactory Western Digital Caviar 850 as a substitute.

Two months later there was good news: Seagate had released a new model Decathlon. This one, the ST5851, was cheaper to make. It had a single-sided circuit board and 128k rather than the very generous 256k cache of the older drive, but the faster media transfer rate made up for that loss. If anything, the new Decathlon was even faster than the old. And just like the previous model, it was a huge success.

We never sold the related ST5540A, by the way: it came much later on and was a single platter version of the Decathlon 1080. By the time those arrived, performance-conscious buyers wanted 1GB or 1.2GB drives.

Data rate67.7 Mbit/secSpin rate5376 RPM
Seek time10.5msBuffer128k
Platter capacity427MBEncodingRLL
Form3½ slimlineInterfaceIDE mode 4
ST5851A845.7MB4 thin film heads*****