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Seagate ST31000524AS

It's been interesting these last several years to watch the evolution of the Computer Hard Drive market. Due to both internal (Consolidation), and external forces (SSD), the Hard Drive industry of today looks much different than the one of five or ten years ago. Each of the last three drives I have reviewed here has been larger, faster, quieter, and cheaper than the previous model in years past. While I am obviously interested in SSD, all but the very largest are too small for my tastes, and those that are large enough to meet my needs are still way out of my price range. So, here we are today with the Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1000GB (or 1TB) 32MB cache SATA HD, a decidedly blue collar storage option, with a price tag to match. As usual the drive we are testing today was provided us by Geeks, our main site sponsor.

1TB Box     1TB Wrap

Unlike the past several refurbished Hard Drives I have reviewed the Seagate ST31000524AS is a new drive, and as such it comes with a full three year warranty instead of a lesser 90 or 180 warranty the Seagate refurbished drives normally ship with. The drive itself ships bare OEM style (No utility software, no user's manual, no SATA cables). Although the packaging looks rather spartan I have received numerous OEM drives in the past few years all of them have shipped in this manner and none of them arrived damaged. The floating design seems to offer a fair amount of protection, more than would be had I would guess, than by shipping something the size and weight of a Hard Drive loose in a carton of peanuts, or even air pillows.

1TB      1TB Back

Specs: These specs are a screencap from the Seagate Product Page If you want even more info try the Barracuda SATA Product Manual They contain everything you would likely want to know about the specs of the Seagate ST31000524AS 1TB and probably, alas, more than a few things that you could care less about.

1TB Specs

In the last Hard Drive review I wrote I was by necessity mainly limited in my acoustic testing to a subjective listening test of how much Drive noise I was able to hear while the drive was seeking/writing. This was because my Radio Shack db meter was not able to measure any sound level differences while the Drive was in use inside my case over ambient case noise, even with the side panel open. Although, technically accurate, it was nonetheless frustrating to write that the previous drive I reviewed (Seagate ST3750330AS 750GB SATA HD) was in my usage under ambient sound levels, especially since I am sure most of my readers don't have 10 fans (6 case fans, 1 PS fan, 2 CPU fans, 1 video card fan) in their case, greatly muffling any Hard Drive noise there might be. To this end I have done some digging and provided the manufacturer supplied sound levels below. As you can see the Seagate ST31000524AS is even quieter than the Seagate ST3750330AS Hard Drive which was itself silent inside my personal wind tunnel (well-ventilated case).

Sound Levels 1     Sound Levels 2

I am not sure if either of these Seagate Hard Drives are quiet enough for a HTPC, since I don't have one to test them in, but I seriously doubt you will hear any complaints (pun intended) about the sound levels from the enthusiast crowd.

Power Levels 1     Power Levels 2

The Operating power levels of the Seagate ST31000524AS 1TB Hard Drive are nearly half of those of the Seagate ST3750330AS 750GB Hard Drive we reviewed here previously.

Some thoughts on Seagate reliability:

The last two Hard Drives I have reviewed here have been Seagate Barracuda, (500GB & 750GB) Neither have yet failed, both are still working fine with no SMART warnings, data loss, or bad sectors. Both have been used 24/7, the older one is just over four years old, while the newer one is only two years old. It was also one of the models affected (Seagate ST3750330AS 750GB) by the Seagate firmware fiasco that plagued some models of their Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 line. I did flash the firmware as a precaution, but again I wasn't having any problems before the firmware update and the drive has been rock solid since. The new Seagate Barracuda that is the subject of this review has also performed flawlessly.

If you are concerned about long term reliability I suggest you run the manufacturer provided drive utility software (Seagate SeaTools) while the drive is new and do a complete surface scan of each drive you receive. Yes it is inconvenient, and yes it can take a few hours or longer to complete depending on your system speed and/or drive size, but then you know whether you have any disk drive problems lurking on your drive like a time-bomb ticking waiting to blow up and take out your data later. It is also not a bad idea to run drive utility software periodically over the life of the drive. If you just need to copy all your data from one drive to another then try Seagate DiscWizard both of these programs are free to Seagate Hard Drive owners.

A word about these benchmarks before we begin: Geeks has this Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB Hard Drive we are reviewing today mislabeled as SATA/300 rather than the newer SATA 6Gbps model that is actually is. On the one hand this is great because the drive has better paper specs and is slightly more future-proof than I was expecting. Unfortunately this also presents a problem since my ASUS M4A78-E Motherboard is NOT a SATA 6Gbps model; therefore, I am not able to test the drive as such. All benchmarks today are run in SATA/300 mode which the drive functions fine in, but is probably not providing the best possible performance showing the drive is capable of, especially in the burst speed benchmark portions. Please keep this in mind as you view these benchmarks.

Test System:

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T O/C 3.81GHZ
ASUS M4A78-E Motherboard
4096MB Corsair XMS DDR2 6400
Seagate ST3750330AS 750GB SATA HD
Seagate ST31000524AS 1TB SATA HD
Lite-On SHM-165S6S DVDR
Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 Xtreme 1GB
Corsair A70 CPU Cooler
Corsair 620HX Power Supply
Windows Vista Ultimate SP2

Benchmarks:

HDtune 2.55
HD Tach 3.0.4
ATTO 2.46
SiSoft Sandra 2011 SP2

1TB Graph 1     1TB Graph 2

What stands out here is that the Seagate ST3750330AS 750GB SATA HD has slightly better access times than the Seagate ST31000524AS 1TB SATA HD.

1TB Graph 1     1TB Graph 2

Since the Seagate ST31000524AS 1TB SATA HD supports SATA 6Gbps but is only running at SATA/300, I wouldn't read too much into the Seagate ST3750330AS 750GB SATA HD posting significantly better burst speed.

1TB Graph 1     1TB Graph 2

If you read this far you probably know the routine here, the Seagate ST3750330AS 750GB SATA HD is on the left, the Seagate ST31000524AS 1TB SATA HD is on the right.

1TB Graph 1     1TB Graph 2

SiSoft Sandra, this is the last one.

Conclusion:

The Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB beats the Seagate Barracuda ST3750330AS 750GB in nearly all of our testing, (posting a slightly higher access time being the only exception). The Seagate ST31000524AS is a 7200.12 model so should be free of the firmware bug that plagued certain models of the earlier 7200.11 line. In addition the Seagate ST31000524AS 1TB is a new drive and has a longer warranty than the refurbished Seagate ST3750330AS 750GB earlier reviewed. Even though being larger and generally performing better, the Seagate ST31000524AS also is quieter and uses less power than the older Seagate ST3750330AS, all this and it costs less as well. If you are in the market for a mechanical Hard Drive the Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB is a good choice.

Pros:

  • Good performance
  • Quiet operation
  • Three year warranty
  • Cheap price

Cons:

  • Higher access times than some previous models
  • Slower than a SSD (But larger and much cheaper)

I would like to thank Geeks for providing us with the Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1 TB SATA Hard Drive for review. This item can be purchased at Geeks for 60 usd (well 59.99 actually).

Geeks

Added: June 21st 2011
Reviewer: JimAdkins
Score: 9  
Related Link: Seagate
Hits: 18953
Language: english

  

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