Modding A Barracuda 7200.11 Into A VelociRaptor
That's a really catchy title, isn't it? Who wouldn't want to turn a "slow" 7,200 RPM hard disk drive into a super-fast 10,000 RPM Western Digital VelociRaptor? After all, the 300 GB model of the much-vaunted HDD speed king retails for US$ 199.99*, while a 1.5 TB Barracuda 7200.11 only costs US$ 109.99*. Imagine getting the performance of the VelociRaptor with the capacity and price of the Seagate Barracuda!
The guys at TechwareLabs came up with an apparently nifty way to "transform" the 1.5 TB Barracuda 7200.11 hard disk drive into a VelociRaptor-killer. They claimed that their "modded" Barracuda 7200.11 hard disk drive delivered sequential transfer rates of 122-132 MB/s while the VelociRaptor could only do 95-99 MB/s. That implies that the "modded" Barracuda is 31% faster than the VelociRaptor!
Update @ 03-01-2012 : Seagate's Mark Wojtasiak recently promoted TechwareLabs' article, saying that it "explained in a step by step way how users could use Seagateâ€™s SeaTools to short stroke a 7200RPM high capacity drive and get performance that beats a 10K drive." Of course, Seagate would be ecstatic about the article as it purportedly shows how you can make their run-of-the-mill Barracuda hard disk drive beat a 10,000 RPM enterprise-grade hard disk drive from their chief competitor, Western Digital.
But before you go rushing out to grab yourself a 1.5 TB Barracuda 7200.11 hard disk drive, please note that their mod basically involves crippling the Barracuda so that it only uses the first 300 GB. This is what they did :
1. Download SeaTools DOS version from the Seagate website.
2. Burn the ISO onto a blank CD using any standard CD burner.
3. Put the burned CD into the CD-Drive and restart your computer.
4. The CD will boot automatically into the software’s graphical interface at which point you must click “ACCEPT” to the licence agreement.
5. Click the drive labeled “ST31500341AS” by left clicking the name.
6. Go to the “Advanced Tools” tab and select the “Set Capacity Manually” option.
7. Once you have done that, a blank dialog should appear. Enter the amount of LBAs (Logical Block Addresses) you want your “new” drive to have and click “Continue”. The magic number for the 300 GB mark is 589080586. For reference the max number that you can enter into this field is 2930277167 which equals 1500.302 GB.
8. The confirmation message should look like the screenshot below. Once you achieved the confirmation, you are done. You can take out the CD and press the reset button or click “CTRL + ALT + DEL” to restart your computer.
For the rest of the article, please click here.
Yes, it's a pretty complicated "mod" and it will turn your 1.5 TB hard disk drive into a 300 GB hard disk drive. You can only use the first 300 GB. The remaining 1.2 TB will be inaccessible.
But what's wrong with that, you say? After all, you still get a hard disk drive that is 31% faster than the VelociRaptor at just over half the price?
Well, the problem we have with this mod is that you can actually have your cake and eat it too! Why throw away the remaining 1.2 TB when you can still use it? Here's how...
*as of February 2010
Doing It Without Losing 1.2 TB
Instead of using their convoluted (and technically-tricky) method of modifying the number of LBAs (Logical Block Addresses) used by the Barracuda 7200.11, all you have to do is partition the drive!
Just create a first partition of 300 GB in size. You can either divvy up the remaining 1.2 TB or leave it as a giant second partition. You can do so either during the Windows Vista or Windows 7 installation process, or by going to Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Storage -> Disk Management.
By limiting the first partition to 300 GB, you are essentially limiting it to the first 300 GB on the hard disk drive - the same thing modifying the number of LBAs does. But the advantage is you can still access the remaining 1.2 TB of storage space! Now, isn't this a better "mod"? **
But you might be wondering.. what exactly is going on, and how does it work? Let's take a look...
** Partitioning the hard disk drive is not a "mod". We are calling it a better "mod" only in reference and in comparison to the LBA mod.
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