New HDD Runs Fast, Runs Silent

For many of us, the grinding sounds of a hard drive or the squealing of a modem are strangely comforting in a nostalgic kind of way. What seems to make the most noise is the case fan. The folks at Seagate, however, find the sound of a hard drive irritating and are making great efforts to silence the beasts. The company just launched the Barracuda ATA IV, a drive that uses Seagate's SoftSonic Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) motor. The Barracuda ATA IV 7,200-rpm disc drive offers a capacity of 80 GB using only two discs, while providing a 69.3 MB per second internal transfer rate. Seagate says it is fast enough to copy an hour of MP3 music in under one second or stream eight movies simultaneously, in DVD quality, without dropping a frame. The Barracuda ATA IV one-disc model emits only 2.0 bels while spinning and 2.4 bels while seeking. Seagate says the human ear can't hear sounds below 2.5 bels. Barracuda ATA IV offers an 8.9 msec average seek time, a 2 MB cache, and an Ultra ATA/100 interface for burst transfer rates up to 100 MB per second. The drive also features Seagate's 3D Defense System, which is a disc, data, and diagnostic tool. Seagate hasn't yet told us how much gold this silence will cost.