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Score giant Seagate hard drive for less than $200

The 1.5TB Seagate hard drive can be had for a very good deal.

Dong Ngo/CNET

I just got my hands on the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11, which at 1.5TB is the largest consumer hard drive you can get presently, and now I realize just how big it really is.

If you bought a new computer in the last two years, chances are it came with a hard drive somewhere between 250GB and 500GB. This is already a huge amount of storage considering that just four years ago, most hard drives offered 100GB or less.

A 250GB hard drive offers about 16 times more storage space than the 16GB version of the iPhone 3G. For context, my iPhone can hold enough music for me to listen to, literally, for a few days nonstop.

The new 1.5TB hard drive, which started selling in late August, has the same amount of storage as six 250GB hard drives or three 500GB hard drives. On the other hand, it still has virtually the same physical form factor--it's a standard 3.5 inches and supports the popular SATA II interface. This means the drive works the same as well.

I tried the Seagate Barracuda with our test bed, and it did offer about the same throughput speed as other 7200rpm SATA II hard drives. It was also quiet and didn't generate too much heat. It is recommended, though, that you use Seagate's DiscWizard utility, rather than that of the OS, to format the drive.

One thing that's truly different here: you can get the hard drive online for about $190, which translates to about 12 cents per gigabyte. That's about the best deal for a storage device I've seen. As a bonus, the 1.5TB Segate Baracuda 7200.11 also comes with a five-year warranty.