Seagate Barracuda 4XL ST34572W

Average Score

Business Disk WinMark 98 (KB/s)

1454

SS/Database

1270

WP

1796

Publishing

1354

Browsers

1638

Task Switching

1922

High-End Disk WinMark 98 (KB/s)

4184

AVS/Express 3.1

2720

Frontpage 97

3304

MicroStation 95

7758

Photoshop 4.0

3238

Premiere 4.2

7722

PV-Wave 6.1

3070

Visual C++ 5.0

9136

Disk/Read Random Access (ms)

14.0

Disk/Read Transfer Rate (KB/s)

Beginning

10700

End

6720

Disk/Read CPU Utilization (%)

5.8

Transfer Rate (KB/s)

10716

The Seagate Barracuda 4XL is a high-performance drive, posting solid benchmark results second only to its sibling, the Cheetah 4LP. Although it took second place honors in both the Business and High-End Winmark tests, the Barracuda XL is hard to recommend given its price. A prospective buyer can save about $200 with relatively little performance loss by going with Seagate's own Hawk 4XL or Quantum's Viking drive. Or, if one is seeking the ultimate in performance, the Cheetah 4LP offers substantial improvements in performance for about $50 more. The Barracuda, however, remains the high-performance choice if the Cheetah's noise and/or heat prove unacceptable. The drive came with a manual typical of the Seagate drives, a small yet thorough installation and configuration handbook. Unlike Seagate's lower-priced Hawk, the Barracuda 4XL is backed by a 5 year warranty, reflecting the drive's enterprise positioning.

cheetah4lptitle.gif (3856 bytes)

Seagate Cheetah 4LP ST34501W

Average Score

Business Disk WinMark 98 (KB/s)

1916

SS/Database

1724

WP

2344

Publishing

1738

Browsers

2210

Task Switching

2502

High-End Disk WinMark 98 (KB/s)

5354

AVS/Express 3.1

3566

Frontpage 97

3950

MicroStation 95

9450

Photoshop 4.0

4356

Premiere 4.2

10320

PV-Wave 6.1

3958

Visual C++ 5.0

11300

Disk/Read Random Access (ms)

11.8

Disk/Read Transfer Rate (KB/s)

Beginning

14700

End

9840

Disk/Read CPU Utilization (%)

7.7

Transfer Rate (KB/s)

14654

Seagate's Cheetah was the first 10,000 RPM drive to be released. The Cheetah 4LP greatly outdistances the second fastest drive in this roundup, Seagate's own Barracuda XL. A low random access time plus an impressive 14.7 MB/sec sequential sector transfer rate powered the Cheetah to the number one position. This large increase in speed is accompanied by a relatively small increase in price, thus making the Cheetah 4LP an easy high-end recommendation. Two caveats: The high spindle speed of the drive creates a very high-pitched whine above and beyond the normal hard drive "whirr" noise. This constant squeal can grate on the nerves of individuals sensitive to noise. Secondly, the fast rotation of the spindle generates a large amount of heat, making ventilation of the system very important. In a minitower's 3.5" drive bay, the drive was too hot to touch after being powered on for an hour. The Cheetah's manual cautions against poor ventilation and outlines procedures for active cooling. In most cases users will want to use a hard drive fan to cool the drive.
Quantum Drives Seagate Cont. & WD

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