Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80GB review: Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80GB

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Affordable; extremely quiet; shielded electronics.

The Bad Mediocre performance.

The Bottom Line The Barracuda ATA IV is an exceptionally quiet, large-capacity hard drive at a nice price, but it's too slow. Choose it for ambience, not speed.

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The librarian in you will love Seagate's new, ultralow-noise, consumer-friendly, 7,200rpm 80GB Barracuda ATA IV hard drive. Indeed, this drive is as quiet as the reference room on the night before midterms. But if you need top performance, go with the IBM Deskstar 120GXP or the Western Digital Caviar 120GB, both of which handily outperform the Barracuda ATA IV. The librarian in you will love Seagate's new, ultralow-noise, consumer-friendly, 7,200rpm 80GB Barracuda ATA IV hard drive. Indeed, this drive is as quiet as the reference room on the night before midterms. But if you need top performance, go with the IBM Deskstar 120GXP or the Western Digital Caviar 120GB, both of which handily outperform the Barracuda ATA IV.

Easy installation
Seagate closely studied the competition to make its $159 Barracuda ATA IV as user-friendly as possible. The Barracuda's illustrated quick-installation guide covers all the bases, and the box includes mounting screws and an 80-conductor cable. A sticker on the bottom of the drive also provides exceptionally lucid instructions and a diagram for jumper settings; in fact, advanced users can skip the setup sheet altogether. Seagate also bundles its easy-to-use DiscWizard software to simplify installation and help older systems handle larger drives by overcoming certain BIOS limitations.

Shields up, Scotty
The Barracuda offers one unique feature long overdue in consumer upgrade drives: protection for the exposed electronic circuitry. Seagate covers the printed circuit board with a layer of foam and metal that the company dubs SeaShield. In addition to virtually eliminating the chance of damage from electrostatic shock or spillage, the SeaShield muffles sound, so the Barracuda ATA IV is the quietest drive on the block. We do have one complaint, however. The SeaShield traps heat; as a result, the Barracuda runs a bit warmer than the competition. As a precaution, make sure you adequately ventilate your system.

Seagate's SoftSonic fluid-dynamic-bearing (FDB) drive motor also contributes to the Barracuda ATA IV's hush-hush performance by eliminating much of the whine produced by older ball-bearing motors. Seagate claims 2.5 bels when just spinning and only 3.3 bels when seeking. What does this mean in a layperson's terms? In our hands-on tests, we had to hold the drive next to our ears to hear it. The drive also has very good shock ratings, which means that it can take a certain amount of abuse when being handled or installed.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Form Factor 3.5" x 1/3H
  • Capacity 80 GB
  • Average Seek Time 9.5 ms
  • Spindle Speed 7200 rpm
  • Buffer Size 2 MB
  • Hard Drive Type internal hard drive
  • Interface Type ATA-100