High Performance Drives At Low Prices


Seagate revs up for its new line of low-end drives


Seagate is pushing a new line of low-end Barracuda SCSI disk drives for VARs and white-box builders, offering advanced SCSI capabilities in a low-cost unit Seagate claims is the most rugged SCSI drive on the market.

The Barracuda 36 ES2 series is the eighth-generation Barracuda offering, blending technology from the company's IDE/ATA products and high-end SCSI drives to provide high performance at low-end prices. The units are being sold exclusively through resellers and system builders.

"These are designed for low-end SCSI apps, offering good value and strong performance at a good price," says Brian Krause, product manager for Seagate. "It's not lean on technology.

It offers good data integration and performance, but not the smoking-hot benchmarks."

The drives, available in either 18.4-GB or 36.9-GB capacities, have speeds of 7,200 RPM and seek times ranging from 7 milliseconds to 8.9 milliseconds.

While the Ultra-SCSI units feature a single-ended Narrow 50-pin SCSI interface solution for legacy systems needing additional storage resources or replacement, the higher-end Ultra 160 SCSI interface offers differential data integrity, a transfer rate of up to 160 MBps and the ability to cable 15 devices up to 12 meters.

The drives also feature Seagate's advanced multidrive system to optimize performance in server and RAID applications.

The drives are perfect for entry-level workstations and servers, according to Krause. Other features include low operating noise, making them suitable for use at end-users' desks; temperature sensors that warn the host when temperatures exceed limits and 350Gs of nonoperating shock, which makes them more rugged for handling.

"This is the closest a new SCSI drive has ever been to ATA pricing," says Krause, noting that the 18-GB drive starts at just less than $225 and moves up from there. "Price is important to [white-box builders but quality is still at the top of their minds."

Although the market for low-end, 7,200- RPM drives is declining, Krause says the breadth of Seagate's overall product portfolio has let the company stratify its product lines and offer niche-market products, such as the Barracuda ES2. That said, Krause still expects to see an 18- to 24-month window of demand for the low-end drives.

"We're not going to sell 20 million of these, but we are offering a product that the channel is asking for," Krause says.