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Seagate Brings Out New SCSI Drives

Seagate this week unveiled a new line of SCSI disk drives designed for inexpensive workstations and servers and expected to be distributed primarily through channel resellers.

Although Seagate has traditionally pushed the envelope in terms of hard disk performance -– it developed the world’s first 7,200, 10,000 and 15,000 RPM drives, after all -– with its new SCSI drives, it’s effectively repackaged existing technology in a slimmer and altogether more quiet form factor. To that end, Seagate’s new drives are 7,200 RPM Barracuda-class models, available in 18 GB and 36 GB capacities, and incorporate support for the 68-pin 160 MBps Ultra3 SCSI and 50-pin 20 MBps Narrow SCSI interfaces.

The rub, of course, is that Seagate’s competitors haven’t introduced new 7,200 RPM drives in years. IBM and Hitachi, among others, currently ship 12,000 RPM drives, and Seagate itself distributes its flagship 15,000 RPM Cheetah drives. Nevertheless, Seagate product marketing manager Brian Krause says that there’s plenty of demand for 7,200 RPM SCSI drives for use in entry-level workstations, servers and RAID arrays.

“We’re focused really on entry level applications for this -- entry level servers, workstations and entry level RAID boxes and applications that need entry level SCSI for just one more generation,” he explains.

At the same time, Krause maintains, Seagate’s new 7,200 Barracuda drives will probably appeal to VARs and channel resellers that need to replace damaged drives or that are seeking to add capacity to their customer’s existing storage configurations. “Some folks out there have a life cycle mandate that says you have to be able to supply a certain kind of drive for several more years, so where the product excels especially would be [it’s availability with] the 50-pin interface, because the 50-pin [interface] really fits nicely into this segment that mandates that they still have 7200 available.”

High-performance SCSI drives have typically generated lots of heat and noise, and Seagate’s first generation Barracuda drives were no exception. According to Seagate’s Krause, however, the new Barracudas are virtually quiet: They operate at 2.0 bels – well below the threshold of audibility (2.7 bels). Moreover, he says, they’re designed to be used and abused and are capable of withstanding non-operating shocks of up to 350Gs.

“[The new Barracuda is] very rugged and tough, and the segment that we’re targeting is entry level applications, and sometimes they’re moved around a little more, so they need to be tough,” he says.

Seagate’s new Barracuda drives are expected to be priced very closely to today’s Barracuda models, which retail for $239 (18 GB) and $385 (36 GB). Seagate expects to begin shipping both drives in volume by February 2002.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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