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Seagate Barracuda Vs WD Blue: Picking The Best Hard Drive

By October 11, 2018 May 28th, 2019 No Comments
Seagate barracuda vs wd blue

When it comes to choosing a 3.5-inch platter HDD for your PC build, you have two main options. Both Seagate and Western Digital have established names in the industry, but gamers tend to prefer Western Digital’s Caviar line of drives over Seagate Barracuda. There are a few good reasons for that.

To fully understand why most gamers and PC build enthusiasts prefer Western Digital drives, we have to take a look at the history of HDDs.

The Barracuda HDD Line’s Spotty History

Before 2007, both Seagate and Western Digital drives were recommended equally in computer builds. In 2007, Seagate introduced its new line of Barracuda 7200.11 HDD, which ranged in capacity from 160GB to 1.5TB. These drives introduced several severe firmware bugs that caused rampant drive failure.

  • Disks could error and not show or utilize all the cache
  • FLUSH_CACHE commands time out when NCQ is used
  • Speed test measures only 45-60 MB/s when it should be closer to 100-110MB/s
  • Disks may be inaccessible when PC powers on

The last bug on this list is the most critical one, as the computer BIOS can’t detect it after a reboot. Seagate HD users complained heavily on Seagate’s support forums to the point that Seagate began heavily moderating these threads. Fed up PC enthusiasts took their discussions to third-party forums on the internet to discuss these issues. The issue was so prevalent that a guide teaching people how to recover their Barracuda 7200.11 drives popped up in 2009.

The result is a tarnished reputation among PC build enthusiasts, who remember the nightmares of having a hard drive failure. Seagate eventually took the Barracuda line off the market temporarily to “streamline” it in 2012.

Seagate faced a class action lawsuit over its 3TB consumer hard drives in 2016. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for Northen California and cited reliability data from Backblaze. Backblaze is a cloud storage and back-up provider. Backblaze says the Seagate 3TB HDD in its fleet of back-up drives failed at much higher rates than other drives.

The issue got so bad that Backblaze began phasing out that model of hard-drive from their cloud storage system in 2015. Backblaze data said that 32% of the Seagate drives deployed in 2012 failed by 2015. Only 68% of drives deployed that year were operational after three years, which was below the 80% rate for other manufacturers.

Seagate brought the brand back in 2016 with its 16th generation of drives available in capacities between 500GB and 8TB. But many early PC build enthusiasts remember the trouble earlier generations caused and have trouble recommending these drives over other manufacturers like Western Digital or Samsung.

Seagate Barracuda vs. Western Digital Caviar

Because of the issues outlined above, most PC build enthusiasts will heartily recommend Western Digital drives over Seagate’s Barracuda line. There have been fewer complaints online about Seagate’s new Barracuda hard drives released after 2016, but public opinion has not recovered.

Western Digital divides its line up into various colors including Blue, Black, Red, and Purple. These colors denote differences in the drive’s transfer speeds and available cache.

Let’s take a look at the differences between the WD HDD colors

WD Blue

  • Transfer Speed: Up to 175 MB/s
  • Cache: 32/64 MB

WD Black

  • Transfer Speed: Up to 218 MB/s
  • Cache: 64/128 MB

WD Red

  • Transfer Speed: Up to 178 MB/s
  • Cache: 16/64/128 MB

WD Purple

  • Transfer Speed: Up to 178 MB/s
  • Cache: 64/128 MB

Aside from the notable transfer speed and cache differences, WD also offers different warranty periods for each of these. The WD Blue has the shortest warranty at 2-years with 300,000 cycles and comes in both 5400RPM and 7200RPM varieties.

The WD Black has the most extended warranty at 5-years with 300,000 cycles. The WD Red and Purple lines both have 3-year warranties, but WD Red HDD has an estimated 600,000 cycle life. That’s because the drive spins at a slower 5400RPM and is intended to be used as extra storage or in a network-attached storage (NAS) system.

If you are building your PC for gaming, make sure you get a 7200RPM WD Blue drive. If you have a bit more budget for the WD Black HDD, it is an excellent upgrade over the WD Blue because of its better transfer speeds and more extended warranty period.

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