hard drive history

21st century: big, cheap, bland

Seagate Barracuda ATA IV

Photo: Red Hill.

Seagate Barracuda ATA IV

Good news from Seagate after a couple of disappointing 7200 RPM drives. Not by any means a speed demon, but back in touch with the leaders at last.

→ 40GB Barracuda ATA IV and Soltek SL-75KAV main board.

This fifth of the Seagate 7200 RPM IDE drives was astonishingly quiet. It had virtually no idle noise at all and ultra-quiet seeks too — even the Samsung 5400s seemed loud by comparison with a Barracuda IV.

It achieved its quiet seeks, in part, by firmware changes. The ATA IV shipped with acoustic management switched on by default, presumably because Seagate thought that most users couldn't tell the difference (which may well have been true). But if it was true, why would they spend the extra to buy a 7200 RPM drive in the first place? Whatever the reasoning, by slowing the seeks the acoustic management turned what ought to have been a very competitive drive indeed into a near-equivalent of the old Barracuda ATA III - a cheap but rather lack-lustre 7200 RPM product.

Performance1.42Reliabilityno data
Data rate555 Mbit/secSpin rate7200 RPM
Seek time10.8msBuffer2MB
Platter capacity40GBInterfaceATA-100
ST-32001120GB1 GMR head
ST-34001640GB2 GMR heads*
ST-36002160GB3 GMR heads*
ST-38002180GB4 GMR heads**