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Modding A Barracuda 7200.11 Into A VelociRaptor Rev. 1.2
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How Does It Work?

To be frank, there's nothing magical about it at all. What TechwareLabs based their mod on was the fact that the 1.5 TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 has a maximum sustained transfer rate of 135 MB/s. That's faster than Western Digital VelociRaptor, which maxes out at 128 MB/s.

The platter transfer rate is influenced by three parameters - the areal density, the spindle speed and the platter size. The Seagate Barracuda 7200.11's excellent performance is due to the very high areal density and larger 3.5" platters. Whatever the Barracuda lost out to the VelociRaptor in spindle speed, it more than made up in areal density and platter size.

Of course, the quoted maximum transfer rates are only true at the outermost tracks of the hard disk drives, where the areal density and velocity are highest. The transfer rates drop as we move inwards from the outer tracks.

Take a look at this chart which shows you the platter transfer profiles of the WD VelociRaptor and the 1 TB Samsung Spinpoint F1 hard disk drive. Please keep in mind that the Samsung Spinpoint F1 is 11% slower than the Barracuda 7200.11, with a maximum transfer rate of 120 MB/s (the Barracuda peaks at 135 MB/s).

As you can see, the VelociRaptor's high spindle speed of 10,000 RPM may have allowed to achieve a much higher transfer rate at the outermost tracks, but because it uses smaller 2.5" platters with a comparatively lower areal density, its transfer rate quickly deteriorates as we move inwards. In fact, the "slower" Samsung Spinpoint F1 was able to deliver a higher transfer rate after the first 150 GB and up till about 790 GB.


What Did TechwareLabs Do?

To achieve their incredible results, TechwareLabs crippled the Barracuda 7200.11 so that only the first 300 GB would be usable. In other words, their benchmark would only test the first 300 GB, which is also the fastest 300 GB since they are all at the outermost tracks. Let's see what happens if we just limit the slower Samsung Spinpoint F1 to the first 300 GB :

Look at what a difference that made! Well, nothing actually has changed, but limiting our focus to the first 300 GB changed the picture considerably. The Samsung Spinpoint F1 now appears to be slightly faster than the Western Digital VelociRaptor.

The Spinpoint F1 may have started off a little slower than the VelociRaptor but after the first 150 GB, it became faster than the VelociRaptor. At the outermost tracks, the Spinpoint F1 was about 8 MB/s slower but at the 300 GB point, it was actually 24 MB/s faster! If the Samsung Spinpoint F1 hard disk drive can already beat the VelociRaptor in pure transfer rate for the first 300 GB, you can only imagine how much faster the 1.5 TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 would be in the first 300 GB.

The truth is the LBA mod has absolutely no effect on the transfer rate of the drive. Whatever benchmark "improvements" TechwareLabs showed are illusory, a matter of perception rather than reality. The hard disk drive's transfer rate profile will remain the same, whether you perform the "LBA mod", create multiple partitions or leave it as a single giant partition.


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Modding A Barracuda 7200.11 Into A VelociRaptor
Doing It Without Losing 1.2 TB


How Does It Work?
What Did TechwareLabs Do?


How Would It Look Like For The Barracuda?

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