Seagate Barracuda LP 2 TB SATA Green Drive ST32000542AS

Seagate Barracuda LP 2 TB ST32000542AS

3.5-Inch Internal Hard Drive
5900RPM
SATA 3 GB/s 32 MB Cache

I purchased a handful of these for various purposes:  to increase storage capacity in a few computers, to put in a D-Link DNS-343 NAS box, and to replace the existing drives on a Buffalo LinkStation Duo (2TB) NAS box.  Bottom line is that these drives are excellent data storage drives.

First thing I did was update the firmware to CC35 for these drives, and thankfully so because each of the drives were still running CC34.  I used the bootable disk (available at Seagate.com), and unfortunately the updater rejected all of the drives.  The error message is as follows:  “The existing CC34 components did not match what was called out in the update matrix in the configuration file.”  So I just forced the update on the drives by using the bootable CD and going into the FreeDOS prompt.  After power cycling the drives after the update, the disks were ready to go.  For detailed information on how to upgrade the firmware, see this blog.

After updating, I ran a benchmark test on these drives.

The computer I used for testing has the following specs:  Dell Precision 490, Quad-core Intel Xeon 5300, 4GB DDR2 fully buffered DIMM 667MHz ECC memory, Dual ATI FireGL V7200, WD Raptor 160 GB boot, WinXP Pro SP3

I performed at least three tests to get an average value posted below:

Using HD Tune,
Average Read – 91.9 MB/s
Burst Read – 166 MB/s
Average Write – 84.5 MB/s
Burst Write – 159 MB/s
Temp: 36-39 degrees C in operation

Using HD Tach…
Average Read – 90.2 MB/s
Average Write – 72.8 MB/s

Using CrystalDiskMark:
Average sequential Read – 93 MB/s
Average sequential Write – 75 MB/s

Then, I tested the real-world read/write speed using actual data and while the drive was online (connected to internal SATA ports).  I used folders with 20GB of 4GB video files from a Barracuda 7200.12 (also an internal SATA) to this drive, and I got an average read speed of 80 MB/s and write speed of 72.2 MB/s. I copied the same folder from the Seagate Barracuda LP to itself (simultaneous read/write operation), and the transfer rate was about 30 MB/s. Using smaller files (5GB of 3MB picture files), this Barracuda LP read at 72 MB/s and wrote at 46 MB/s. The simultaneous read/write operation here was again about 30 MB/s. Two things I was highly impressed with during these tests were that the drives ran cool and quiet. The operating temp was about 36oC (peaking at but not exceeding 39oC), and at 5900rpm was very quiet (compared to the Barracuda 7200), so I did not find any of these drives to be noisy. On my PC, the boot drive is noisier because it is a 10K rpm drive. On my Mac, it is not louder than the boot drive (WD Black 7200 rpm).

Then, I tested offline speeds and mounted these drives into a D-Link DNS-343 NAS box set up for RAID 1. I hooked up the DNS-343 over a gigabit network and transferred data over SMB (I did not try FTP). In WinXP Pro, I clocked an average of 14 MB/s write and 24 MB/s read. In Mac OS X (Snow Leopard), I clocked 20 MB/s write and 30 MB/s read. So it seems capable of handling HD movies, and I verified this by watching an HD movie in full 1080p from the NAS box to my computer… worked without a hiccup.

My only gripe is that Seagate knows the firmware updater does not work for all of these drives (especially those with serial numbers starting with 5XW). I drop half a star for this oversight by Seagate, so I round down to 4-stars.

I have these drives set up as RAID 1 in a DNS-343 NAS box. Two weeks later and over 1 TB of videos transferred onto them, these drives are holding up and working very well. I will try it set it up as RAID 5 in the near future.

I played with 4 of these drives in a D-Link DNS-343 in RAID1 and RAID5 array.  RAID1 works very well, and has been quite stable, and the read/write speeds of large files are consistent with first tests.  With a PC, I get about 14 MB/s write and 24 MB/s read.  With a Mac, I get 20 MB/s write and over 30 MB/s read.  RAID5 was very problematic at first.  The volume kept degrading every day, but only when I try to access it while it has been hibernating.  With a few tweaks of the settings (ie. disabling power saving), the kinks were smoothed out and I have been able to run it for almost a week with no problems.  I have been transferring various files onto it, from personal documents, picture files (over 300 GB of pictures), and video files (over 1TB of various video files).  RAID5 transfer rate has been pretty consistent with large files: about 10 MB/s write and 30 MB/s read speeds.

On one occasion in a two-week span, the volume degraded (I suspected that one of the disks did not spin up fast enough), so I ran a manual rebuild of the volume.  It took about 24 hours to do so, but the rebuild restored the volume perfectly.  I set the box not to put the drives to sleep after this, and the NAS box has been functional.  I’ve read many people complain about this drive in NAS boxes and/or RAID arrays.  I don’t think this drive was built for RAID, and I would not recommend it for RAID5.

Having said that, I switched back to RAID1 because I am just not very comfortable with these drives with RAID5.  The Seagate Constellation ES drives work perfectly well in RAID5 in the DNS-343 NAS box.

Overall, these drives are very nice drives for backups. When they were available for under $100, they were well worth the money and are excellent drives.  These drives are being phased out with the 64MB Cache version (ST2000DL003) for about $80.

Highly Recommended.

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About Ask Conrad
I am a University Professor. A Neuroscientist by trade, and a technophile/geek on the side. My work and research is heavily dependent on computers and state-of-the-art technology. I like Jazz and Bossa Nova. I play the piano, guitar, and ukulele.

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