Seagate Barracuda 2TB hard drive review

Test machine

For this review I will be using
a computer
with the following configuration:

PC 1:

  • Motherboard: ASUS X99-A
    (Intel X99 chipset)
  • Processor: Intel Core
    i7 5280K @ 4.4GHz
  • RAM: RAM:
    Crucial Ballistix Elite 4x8GB
  • GFX: MSI GTX 960
    2GB
  • Sound: Onboard
    Realtek HD audio controller
  • OS SSD: HyperX Fury
    240GB
  • PSU: Seasonic 750W
  • Display: Futsiju
    Siemens 22”
  • Operating
    System:
    Windows 10 x64

 

The Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD
was connected
to the first SATA port of the motherboard.  All power saving
features were
disabled during all of my synthetic benchmarks.


Test applications

To test the performance of the
Seagate
Barracuda 2TB HDD will be using the following test applications in this
review.


Test procedures

I will start off our testing
procedures
explanation by stating that I did not run many synthetic benchmarks on
the Seagate
Barracuda 2TB HDD. You may ask why I have run so few synthetic
benchmarks.

SSD technology has moved so
fast in the
last couple of years, that basic synthetic benchmarks alone are now of
very
limited use, as they don’t really tell us much about performance and
how the
drive will behave in the real world. I have therefore decided to show
some
basic benchmarks for the Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD, and will complement
this
with advanced benchmarks using IOMeter and AS SSD benchmark. I will
also show
how the Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD performs in the real world.

The reality of SSD performance

While I can easily show you
which SSD is
technically the faster, when you use one of these modern SSDs as an
operating
system drive it becomes very difficult to tell them apart as far as
performance
is concerned.

A typical use of a small
capacity SSD at
the moment is to have your operating system and applications installed
onto the
SSD. The performance difference compared to a traditional HDD is
enormous,
however when you start to compare SSD to SSD the difference becomes
almost
impossible to detect.

Let’s look at why this is the
case.

Drive A can boot to the desktop
in 8.11
seconds, and drive B can boot to the desktop in 8.12 seconds, the
difference in
time is milliseconds, and can one really tell the difference?

The fact is, all modern SSDs
are only
ticking over when they are only running the OS and launching
applications, it’s
only when you get to some of the larger capacity SSDs, with enough free
space
to be able to hold the actual data that you’re going to be working
with, be
that video, audio or pictures, for example, that you actually get a
tangible
difference in performance. This is where the SSDs with the better
sequential
performance start to pull well ahead of the SSDs which have lower
sequential
read/write performance.

Small file random IOPS vs sequential performance

IOPS

This is a fairly complex
subject, but I
will do my best to explain things in a manner that is easy to
understand.

The term IOPS is the amount of
input or
output transactions that can take place in a one second interval, so
for
example, if an SSD is quoted as being able to cope with 20,000 4K
random write
IOPS, then the SSD should be able to cope with 20,000 input
transactions in a
period of one second. If the same SSD is said to be able to produce
20,000 4K
random read IOPS, then the same SSD should be able to produce 20,000 4K
random
read output transactions in a one second interval.

Ok, now we have some figures to
work with,
the next question is how many IOPS are actually required?

This will depend on your usage
pattern. If
you are a typical desktop user who browses the internet, does some word
processing or perhaps some audio or video editing, and perhaps plays a
few
games, then in actual fact, you don’t need to have massive 4K random
read/write
performance. The actual amount of 4K random performance that is
required for a
fast and smooth running system for a desktop user with a usage pattern
similar
to the above will be well under 1,000 4K IOPS.

On the other hand, if the SSD
is being used
for running a large and complex database server, then 4K random
performance is
the absolute measurement of how fast that server will run, as this type
of
application does most of its input and output transactions in the 4K
domain.

So why would I need an SSD with
80,000 4K
IOPS for a desktop?

In fact you don’t need this
type of
performance for a desktop, but an SSD which is capable of coping with
80,000 4K
IOPS will be faster than an SSD which can only cope with 20,000 4K IOPS.

OK, I just said if under 1,000
4K IOPS are
actually required for typical desktop usage, why is an SSD with 80,000
4K IOPS
faster than an SSD with only 20,000 4K IOPS, confused?

You may ask, if I only require
1,000 4K
IOPS surely the rest is wasted?

While you may never need 80,000
4K IOPS,
IOPS is all about latency. The reason that an SSD can cope with as much
as 80,000
4K IOPS is because latency in this domain is very low. With 4K files,
even if
you require to process 500 of them at the same time, you are not
talking about
a huge amount of data, it has far more to do with how long it takes the
SSD to
process a single file, and the amount of time required to process a
single 4K
is all about how long it takes for the SSD to access or store that data
before
it can move on to the next transaction.

In other words an SSD with
80,000 4K IOPS
performance will handle those 500 files faster than the SSD with 20,000
IOPS.

So how will a desktop user even
notice this
faster speed if so little 4K random IOPS and data are actually used?

Multitasking is a good example.
The more
tasks you run at the same time, you more you will notice the speed
difference.

Sequential performance

I have always maintained that
sequential
performance was every bit as important as small random file performance
for a
desktop SSD. Some highly regarded people on other sites found this
statement
quite funny a couple of years ago when I made it, but my, how times
have
changed in the world of SSD reviewing.

To me this was always so
obvious for a
desktop user. For example, let’s say you want to launch an application
or game.
Both have some fairly large files to load, and also a great many small
files,
but the point is, even the smaller files are sequential in nature. Now
let’s
say you’re into audio or video editing. Video files tend to be huge,
and the
files are written or read sequentially. Isn’t this how many users are
using
their PCs these days?

Summary

So how does this shape up in
the real
world? Which is better, massive 4K IOPS or massive sequential
performance?

In an ideal world you want
both, as an SSD
with massive random 4K IOPS and sequential performance will always be
faster
than an SSD that has high sequential performance and moderate 4K random
IOPS
performance, and the same applies to an SSD that has massive 4K random
performance and moderate sequential performance. The SSD which has high
performance in both patterns will always be the faster SSD.

However, you can still have an
SSD that is
very fast for desktop use that has moderate random 4K performance and
massive
sequential performance, the same can be said about a drive having
massive
random 4K performance and moderate sequential performance, as it is
about
getting the balance right if you have to compromise on one or the other.


Drive preparation for running the tests

All the SSDs used in this
article were in a
clean and fresh state when the testing period started. From then on,
each drive
had to rely on its own NAND cleaning effectiveness for the remainder of
the
tests.

  • Both our spinning HDD drives
    were defragged before the start of each test.
  • All SSD and HDD used in this
    article had their partitions aligned to the Windows 7 x64 defaults.

Where I use graphs in this
article to
display results, I will use the following colours to make it easier,
for our
readers to see which drive we are reviewing.

Capture Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD

Capture 2 Comparison SDD

 

Now let’s head to the next
page, where I
look at some basic benchmarks…