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Lots of changes have taken place in the industry since our last hard drive review: higher aerial density, PATA to SATA interface change, drive manufacturer merger/buyouts, to name a few, so it seemed to be a good time to do another hard drive review. The drive we are testing today--a Seagate ST 3500641AS 500GB 16MB cache model--was provided us by Geeks our main site sponsor.

Seagate 500GB     Seagate 500GB

The drive we are looking at today is factory re-certified and ships bare in OEM packaging. For the vast majority of you reading this is all you need. If you happen to be running a really old PC without appropriate large drive BIOS support Seagate offers free drive utilities for you that you can download here. I found it interesting that the drive label says “Caution. Product warranty is void if any seal or label is removed, or if the drive experiences shock in excess of 350 Gs.” While that G rating is awfully impressive I still wouldn't drop it on the floor if I were you.

Seagate 500GB Box


Here is where we normally list a handful of notable item specs. Not this time, though; there are just too many for this space, so instead of leaving some out that you might be interested in I took these two screen caps from the .pdf product manual.

Seagate Stats     Seagate Stats

Before we jump into the benchmarks I have a few thoughts on general usage I want to share. First, the Seagate ST 3500641AS doesn't have dual PATA/SATA connectors like my last drive. That meant it took me several hours of rummaging through my monster-sized pile of old computer parts that most of us seem to have to find the SATA power cable for my modular OCZ ModStream before I could even use the new drive. Even though my last drive was also SATA it had both a standard four pin connector, as well as the newer SATA connector. The Seagate ST 3500641AS has a SATA connector only, so if you have an older power supply check that it has a SATA connector before buying this drive. Next while this new drive was fairly quiet, it was definitely louder than my previous drive (particularly during avg access tests) which was completely inaudible inside my case over my system fans. I am not sure I would choose the Seagate ST 3500641AS if I was building a HTPC.

Test System:

AMD X2 4600+ O/C 2.78GHZ (265X10.5)
ASUS A8N-E Motherboard
1024MB Kingston Hyper-X PC4000
Seagate ST 3500641AS 500GB SATA HD
Western Digital WD1600JD 160GB SATA HD
BenQ DW1620 DVDR
Leadtek 7950 GT (600/1450)
Thermalright XP-120 HSF
OCZ ModStream 520W PS
Win XP Home – SP2
nForce4 series 6.86
Direct X 9C
Det 93.71


SiSoft Sandra 2007 SP1
HD Tach
Windows load time
Quake 4 load time

This is what I feel is a nice mix of synthetic and real world benchmarks. While it might seem weird to include benchmarks for Windows startup and Quake 4 load times, those are truthfully these days the two times I seem to spend the most time waiting for the PC to finish so I can do something. Quake 4 load times are especially brutal, taking the longest to start or load a new level of any game I have played recently. I usually use this as a excuse to score a quick Diet Mountain Dew.

Seagate Graph 1     Seagate Graph 2

Doesn't seem to be much difference here in the combined scores. That will change in some of the other tests later on, though. If you are keeping score at home the Western Digital pic is on the left with the Seagate pic on the right.


Access times and buffered read are the two items that really jump out at you with this one.

HD Graph 1     HD Graph 2

Access times and burst read once again stand out with the Seagate drive. Again, the Western Digital pic is on the left with the Seagate pic on the right.

Boot Time

Although small, this one was noticeable before I started benchmarking.

Quake 4

Nice noticeable decrease in level load times just by swapping out the hard drive.


Other than the slight noise issue mentioned earlier I have no complaints with the Seagate ST 3500641AS hard drive. While some of you might have concerns about the fact that this hard drive is factory re-certified and not brand new, I haven't had any reliability issues with factory re-certified hard drives. The Seagate ST 3500641AS has been running 24/7 in my main rig problem free now for the last four weeks--a trend I expect to continue. With its combination of size, price, and speed, the Seagate ST 3500641AS is a good choice for those interested in bang for their buck. Anyone have a digital copy of the complete library of Congress? I think I have room.


  • Fast
  • Decent price/performance ratio
  • Five year warranty (If new)


  • Not as quiet as some other drives

I would like to thank Geeks for providing us with the Seagate ST 3500641AS 500GB HD for review. This item can be purchased at Geeks for 112 usd. If a bare drive is not your cup of tea Geeks also sells a 500MB Seagate external drive kit.


Added: May 15th 2007
Reviewer: JimAdkins
Score: 9  
Related Link: Seagate
Hits: 16766
Language: english


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