W A R N I N G !

W A R N I N G !

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Friday, December 7, 2007

A Tribute to Barracuda IV: A goodbye

Today is the day I say goodbye to my faithful Barracuda IV 80GB HDD. (Ok, maybe not exactly today, it's tomorrow, but I just want to say it now) It's going to be sold to another VRZ forummer.

This HDD has been with me since long ago. It was before I moved house, so it's before end of 2003. IIRC it joined me at year end 2002, on the day of chorale CCA chalet, after my dad brought it back home in exchange of a 60GB Maxtor DiamondMax Plus that overheated and killed itself (that thought me not to buy a Maxtor ever again). It was a tough worker; it replaced the Fujitsu 20GB that overheated and hung when the system was left overnight, it arrived slightly after I started watching Anime, and it was always filled to the brim for reasons that may endanger myself if I disclosed it. With the help of a CDRW and later, a DVDRW burner, the total amount of data that had passed through this HDD is several times its size, and the drive is always highly fragmented. Still, it managed to give decent performance for that time. Did I mention that the Barracuda IV (and the bigger server brother Barracuda V) is a very reliable series? Oh well, for a drive that worked from late 2002 to late 2007 (That's 5 years!!!) with no failure or corruption of data, you have to admit it's very reliable, and tough.

And what's most important is, this guy is QUIET I betcha. Almost silent. At least it was to me at that time before my sense of hearing improved. It was the quietest HDD during that time; nothing comes close to it except for the Samsung P80, which came in 2004. Considering that the Cuda IV came in 2001, that's an amazing feat. That shows what manufacturors can do if they really wanted to design a drive specifically with low noise as a primary goal. This drive got so famous among PC silencers it was dubbed as 'legendary' over @ SPCR. It is still very quiet by today's standards - in fact, the only HDDs that I can say to be better are the WD KS/AAKS (Caviar SE16) and Samsung Spinpoint T series, which are the newest HDDs today. Even when put against my P120, the Barracuda still put up a good fight, with seeks that a subjectively nicer-sounding and much lower vibration, the weakness of Samsung drives. No doubt, the P120 won in idle noise, the speciality of Samsung, that wins even the newest WDs.

And hence, it was the choice of HDD among silencers until 2005-2006, when real competitors showed up. (I decided to jump ship to the P120 soon after its launch because so many people said it was good and I had disk space shortage, only to find that it's a bad move, because of the seeks and because the Caviar SE came out soon after. I eventually switched to a Caviar SE, but I could've had 2 Caviar SEs, or I could've saved the money by not needing to buy another HDD partially for noise reduction purposes.) It had me feeling good for a few years, as I had the quietest 3.5" HDD available, and that passes me as a PC silencer. It's a classic.

In fact, it was with this HDD that I experienced "virtual silence" for the first time. For that time, the idle was like totally inaudible, and seeks were very soft. Yes, unfortunately my ears have definitely gotten better, but side-by-side testing still proved that the drive hasn't gotten any louder.

So, if it is so good, why am I selling it off? Reason is because now I have the P120 as another backup hdd and I don't need two backup hdds, so one of them has to go to minimize lose of $$$ from depreciation. This Barracuda IV is a classic, and it would make sense for me to keep it, because of its value (historical?). It also has sentimental value, as I remember testing my experimental sponge feet on it. But sadely, I also need disk space, and that's what my 250GB P120 offers more. So this drive's got to go... it's a waste to let such a good drive sit idle and do nothing anyway, when it could be put to better use.

I hope the new owner will find better use for this drive (as well as learn what a quiet HDD is, if he's been using a WD (Caviar and Caviar SE, as well as probably every model before those), a Hitachi/IBM, or Seagate 7200.x series, those fuking loud seekers, beforehand. That's like almost every other HDD other than the few mentioned up above). And may you (the HDD, not the owner lol) live to be at least ten years old.

Update 08/12/07: I compared it again directly with the P120. God the seeks are fuking loud, and idle noise... there's less high-pitched but a lot of wind-like character. While putting it in a case may change the story, if you put those two right in front of you, on the table, side by side, the P120 loses. This proves again that the Barracuda IV is still comparable against the newest quietest 3.5" HDDs out there. What an amazing feat. The seeks are also more supressed, like the duration is shorter, and sounds less hollow. I can probably put it up against the WD KS and it might even win - the weakness of the WD, which is unmentioned at SPCR, is that it has 2 types of seek noise, for small seeks and big seeks. The big seeks are comparable to the P120 if not louder. Fortunately those are rare, but still the max sound level is what I care about most. The Barracuda IV would have made a better downloading HDD, but it simply can't, because it's too small. It could be useful if making another quiet system, like for watching on TV or a secondary surfing/dl rig. But for now, it's useless. Actually I might have use for it in the near future since I do need another TV or surfing rig. But I have the P120 already. And it's expensive to silent systems I tell you so I might not do it. But if I do, the Barracuda would be handy. Could I have made a mistake selling it?

Still, how did I survive living with the P120 after I moved from Barracuda IV? Oh yeah, I remember getting very frustrated about the seeks. That's exactly why I bought a Caviar SE16.

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