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Hitachi's New HDDs A Blazing 15,000 RPM Fast

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 19 comments

Hitachi's two new Ultrastar drives have blazing spindle speeds of 15,000 RPM.

On Tuesday, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies introduced new Ultrastar drives designed for enterprise storage applications. The drives come in two sizes, 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch, both offering blazing spindle speeds of 15,000 RPM and self-encryption. According to the company, each Ultrastar drive conforms to the Trusted Computing Group’s Enterprise A Security Subsystem Class specification "for ease of integration and implementation."

The Ultrastar C15K147 is the company's first 15,000 RPM, 2.5-inch 6 Gb/sec. Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) hard drive, and boasts 70-percent more space efficiency compared to 3.5-inch enterprise hard rives. Hitachi said that the drive uses 50-percent less power than similar 3.5-inch Hitachi drives, and will be available in 73 GB and 147 GB capacities. The drive also uses the industry's largest cache buffer: a whopping 64 MB.

As for the 3.5-inch version, the 600 GB Ultrastar 15H600, this will be Hitachi's fourth generation 3.5-inch drive using either 6 Gb/sec. SAS or 4 Gb/sec. Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop (FCAL) interfaces, both of which use a 64 MB cache buffer. Outside the 600 GB model, consumers can also pick up a 300 GB or 450 GB version as well.

Hitachi said that the Ultrastar C15K147 and 15K600 drives are currently available, and include a five-year warranty.

These drives finally give customers an alternative 15K RPM drives that compete well with Seagate's Cheetah 15K7 drives released earlier this year.

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  • -5 Hide
    frontliner , October 17, 2009 12:09 AM
    The amount of cache doesn't matter much since it depends on the effeciency of the firmware, plus since you're behind a full fledged RAID card that further negates the cache. Plus nice PR report, how much are they paying for these?
  • 1 Hide
    yang , October 17, 2009 12:17 AM
    I care more about the price at this point. If it's significantly more and cost almost like an SSD drive. i would probably just buy a ssd instead. Then again, this has 600gb...
  • 4 Hide
    michaelahess , October 17, 2009 2:40 AM
    I've been running 3.5" Hitachi 15k drives for years, other than the 2.5" drives being 15k this isn't news.
  • 8 Hide
    pirateboy , October 17, 2009 6:05 AM
    the thing probably sounds like a dentist drill
  • 6 Hide
    mapesdhs , October 17, 2009 12:08 PM

    Newer 15Ks can be a lot faster than earlier models. If you're
    using a HUS151414VL3600 or HUS151473VL3800 for example (146GB/15K
    and 73GB/15K Hitachi drives respectively), then newer models could
    be twice as fast. I've tested a wide range of drives and there is
    huge variance. See:

    http://www.sgidepot.co.uk/diskdata.html

    The advantages of modern production methods are very evident
    with the WD VR 10K beating every 10K SCSI disk for both tests,
    and most of the 15Ks aswell. I've not yet been able to test any
    newer SCSI/FC/SAS disks though.

    My PC has Maxtor 146GB 15Ks (1 internal, 12 external) plus a 1TB
    SATA (video archive), while all my SGIs have the same Maxtor 15Ks
    except for my main Fuel desktop - the system I'm typing this on -
    which has a Fujitsu 300GB 15K MBA3300NC (system disk), Fujitsu
    300GB 10K MAT3300NP (data) and a 1TB SATA (backup of the PC's
    1TB). The nice part about 15K SCSI is it's very cheap 2nd-hand.

    Noise levels of 15Ks vary enormously. Old 18GB 15Ks can be very
    loud, but other 15Ks are nice and quiet, eg. the MAS3367NC,
    ST336754LC and BF03685A35.

    Hitachi's new drives, using modern tech, are probably quite good
    aswell wrt noise levels, if the WD VR 10K is anything to go by.

    Ian.

  • 0 Hide
    pocketdrummer , October 17, 2009 10:18 PM
    If they could put the 2.5" one in a 3.5" enclosure to get the noise down to acceptable levels, and if it didn't cost me my house.... then I would jump at the chance of using a pair of these as my Audio Drive for recording. I'll never have to worry about dropouts again!
  • -5 Hide
    xeysz , October 17, 2009 10:39 PM
    I refuse to do business with Hitachi. I had a 500 GB Hitachi internal and it died shortly after a year of (infrequent) use. This would be acceptable if it was a 500 GB external HDD that I used every day and was being carried around susceptible to shocks etc. (my brother had a 500 GB WD fail as well), but there was no explanation for the Hitachi to die prematurely like that.

    I then replaced it with Seagate's new 7200.12 749GB internal HDD which has been working great for me with no problems at all. My old Hitachi used to make noises sometimes when I turned my computer on or when I was installing programs but this one is silent. And it's amazing that the new Seagate cost me just $70.


    I agree with the others, in around three years SSDs will become much more affordable. I can see in the future all operating systems being installed on SSDs and HDDs only being used as secondary drives. But as it currently is, where you can get a 750GB HDD for $70, there's just no reason to spend hundreds of dollars on a 15K RPM HDD or 60-120 GB flash drive.
  • 0 Hide
    amdgamer666 , October 17, 2009 10:57 PM
    Damn I read the headline and was hoping that they were desktop drives. I know it was a long shot but 15k rpm desktop drives might be enticing enough to stay with hdd's for a little longer intead of getting a ssd. I think somebody should make one though, it'd put a velociraptor to shame. But for the right price, I think there'd be a market for them until ssd drives get to a more mainstream price for the capacities offered.
  • 0 Hide
    liquidsnake718 , October 18, 2009 1:28 AM
    these should already be bigger than 184GB of storage capacity by now.
  • 0 Hide
    wildwell , October 18, 2009 9:19 AM
    YangI care more about the price at this point. If it's significantly more and cost almost like an SSD drive. i would probably just buy a ssd instead. Then again, this has 600gb...


    I don't think there are any E-class SSDs yet, and this thing will write a lot faster. For personal use though, I think my laptop's getting an SSD.
  • 0 Hide
    mapesdhs , October 18, 2009 8:15 PM

    pocketdrummer writes:
    > then I would jump at the chance of using a pair of these as my
    > Audio Drive for recording.

    A drive like this is total overkill for recording audio. Any existing 15K
    disk will do, indeed any 10K disk, or for that matter any decent SATA.
    Audio requires a tiny amount of bandwidth. See my benchmark results page
    mentioned above; simply find a disk that offers a minimum sustained
    I/O which is comfortably above the bandwidth required for recording
    uncompressed audio (at 64bit resolution if you want to be really paranoid),
    which really is pretty much any of them.


    xeysz writes:
    > I refuse to do business with Hitachi. I had a 500 GB Hitachi
    > internal and it died shortly after a year of (infrequent) use. ...

    (shortly after a year? That's a wierd way of putting it, given many
    consumer disks only have a 1 year warranty. :D )

    If that was a SATA, then it's no surprise. SATAs from any vendor can
    die in short order. If you want quality and 24/7 reliability then
    don't buy conventional SATA; it's is totally different ball game. You
    get what you pay for when it comes to SATA, eg. most SATAs are not
    designed for 24/7 use, which is why the 'RAID class' SATAs cost 2X
    more than generic versions, eg. check prices for Seagate models whose
    model numbers end in 'NS'.

    I know of plenty of people who've had equally bad problems with Seagate (eg.
    a movie studio sent eight seagate AS drives, ALL of them failed in less
    than a week), and let us not forget Seagate's recent firmware fiasco.


    > there's just no reason to spend hundreds of dollars on a 15K RPM HDD or 60-120 GB flash drive.

    Depends on the 15K (plenty of models available 2nd-hand) and it
    depends on what you're doing. I find I have to search my email
    archive for some item of information many times a day - a 15K drive
    speeds up this operation by some 40% compared to a SCSI 10K, while a
    typical 7200pm SATA is by comparison _massively_ slower (check my
    access time search test results).


    amdgamer666 writes:
    > I think somebody should make one though, it'd put a velociraptor to shame.

    There are already numerous models of 15K which leave the WD VR in the
    dust, but they're not consumer-type drives. Totally different market
    segment, eg. large cache RAM, high reliability, etc.


    liquidsnake718 writes:
    > these should already be bigger than 184GB of storage capacity by now.

    There are already numerous models of 15K drive much larger than this,
    eg. the older 450GB Seagate 15K.6 FC. More recently there's the 600GB
    Seagate 15K.7.


    wildwell writes:
    > I don't think there are any E-class SSDs yet, and this thing will
    > write a lot faster. For personal use though, I think my laptop's
    > getting an SSD.

    There are various Enterprise SSD products, eg. SUN's recent SSD SAN
    product, and existing designs such as this:

    http://hothardware.com/News/RamSan620-Is-Worlds-Largest-SLC-Flash-SSD

    They are not, however, normally aimed at general data storage (though
    I suppose one could use for that if money was no object). Rather,
    they are ideal for holding indexing data, meta data, that sort of
    thing, where the tiny access times make a huge difference to search
    times. And btw, the RamSan620 costs $220K. :D 

    For consumers, the current crop of SSDs give more than enough of a
    boost over conventional HDDs to be worth investing in even now. Just
    don't buy a cheap one because they're garbage.

    I can't afford the good models of SSD which are available just now
    though, so I compromise by buying 2nd-hand 15K SCSI, eg. the 300GB
    15K in my main SGI system only cost me 80 UKP (approx. $120) while
    the 146GB 15K in my PC (system disk) cost me 40 UKP (approx. $60).


    If you want better quality than ordinary SATA, but can't afford
    current SSDs or Enterprise 15K, then hunt for ordinary 2nd-hand 15K
    SCSI/FC/SAS, or failing that then grab a WD VR which are certainly
    very good, beating many older 15Ks because of its modern design, and
    the low noise/heat of the WD VR is excellent. Plenty of bargains to
    be had, especially drives which still have valid end user warranties
    (look for Seagate/Maxtor for this). The beauty of SATA is raw storage
    at low cost. Thus, I have lots of 15K SCSI for speed (RAID0 for
    uncompressed HD with Flame), but I bought a couple of 1TB Samsung
    SATAs (Spinpoint F1) for storage (large movie files) and I'm very
    happy with them, but I'll always use 15K SCSI/FC/SAS or, when I can
    one day afford it, an SSD for a system drive.

    If you have family who don't know what to buy you for xmas, then ask
    for an Intel X25 SSD. :D  Simple example: the person who sold me the
    WD VR shown on my test page. He sold it because he was upgrading to 2
    x X25s in RAID0, about which he said, "It is very very nice. Average
    read at around 450MB/sec and write at 150MB/sec and access around 0.2ms."

    Ian.

  • 0 Hide
    cookoy , October 18, 2009 10:48 PM
    the need for speed. gets me high just reading the specs. no mention of price - always a bad omen. SAS drives in a netbook? desperate times call for desperate ideas.
  • 0 Hide
    rubberjohnson , October 19, 2009 1:38 AM
    wildwellI don't think there are any E-class SSDs yet, and this thing will write a lot faster. For personal use though, I think my laptop's getting an SSD.


    Intel have enterprize class SSDs made of SLC flash chips, in terms of speed they kill these things.
  • 0 Hide
    buwish , October 19, 2009 6:46 AM
    For a budget minded enterprise, these new 15K drives would be more than adequate. After reading the specs mentioned by mapesdhs, it seems like the Velociraptor is still a great option for the performance minded home consumer. I was considering an SAS controller and a 15k enterprise class drive (decent SSD's are ridiculous in price), but for the price, space, and performance, the V. Raptor was perfect.
  • 0 Hide
    lamorpa , October 19, 2009 1:07 PM
    These 15K drives revolve 15 Thousand times every minute! Almost One Million times per hour!! Over TWENTY MILLION times per day!!!
  • 0 Hide
    dark_lord69 , October 19, 2009 2:19 PM
    generally 15K hard drives are consider enterprise drives...
    Not intended for home use.
  • 0 Hide
    mapesdhs , October 19, 2009 2:25 PM

    Yup, the WD VR is pretty good. I was kinda sceptical before I
    obtained one, but the modern technology it uses makes all the
    difference. Indeed, it's actually a 2.5" device, sits inside
    a 3.5" frame that acts as a heatsink.

    It's easy to obtain SAS controllers 2nd-hand, but good 2nd-hand
    SAS drives are hard to find at a sensible price, and as buwish
    says prices of new SAS drives are *ahem* a tad high. However,
    baring in mind the tradeoff in price/performance, a WD VR or an
    older 15K SCSI/FC/etc. are both good choices, costing more or
    less the same. Some models of 15K have the speed edge, but the
    VR wins on noise/heat.


    I did used to wonder why there was no such thing as 15K SATA using
    the same tech used for the WD VR, but I guess there's no consumer
    demand for that type of drive, and the pricing would be such
    that, certainly by now anyway, an SSD would cost the same
    or be cheaper.

    If the slightly more heat/noise doesn't bother you though, then
    in general a good 2nd-hand 147GB 15K SCSI will be cheaper than
    a 150GB WD VR 10K SATA. Oh, remember to go for the later models
    of WD though, ie. VRs, not just Raptors.

    SCSI cards are of course mere pennies on eBay these days, and
    for RAID speed there are the PERC PCIe cards which are nice &
    fast (I'll be using one in my i7 build), though a simple yet
    quick U320 card such as the LSI 22320 PCIX or LS20320IE is more
    than enough for a system disk. My PC's system disk is on an LSI
    20320IE (PCI Express card) while the 12-disk RAID is connected
    to a 22320R PCIX (mbd has proper PCIX/133).

    I notice that 15Ks do tend to be cheaper in the US on eBay, but
    either way, try and find one that still has a valid end user
    warranty (Seagate/Maxtor). I nabbed one cheap that's covered
    until the end of 2012. 8) Ask for the serial number and then
    check here:

    http://support.seagate.com/customer/warranty_validation.jsp

    Hope this helps!

    Ian.

    PS. One other point: there are way more WD VRs on eBay now than
    there were a year ago, so much easier to obtain. This time last
    year, at least in the UK, used 10K SATA was almost non-existent
    on eBay.

  • 0 Hide
    mapesdhs , October 19, 2009 2:55 PM

    lamorpa, yes, they have a high rpm, but as zipzoomflyhigh rightly
    points out, 15K technology is not new. Check my benchmarks page;
    older 15K drives (eg. 18GB) show good results for the access time
    test (processing lots of small files) but they are not very good
    for sequential I/O because they use older technology - larger
    number of lower density platters, older types of read/write heads
    which make more noise/heat, etc.


    dark_lord69, the original target market of 15Ks is indeed
    Enterprise, but given their performance, 2nd-hand units are ideal
    for the home enthusiast, especially those who would like extra
    performance but cannot afford SSDs.

    For example, here's a Maxtor Atlas 15K 36GB on eBay just now,
    only 8 UKP, 2 hours to go, no bids yet:

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250512956951

    It's one of the fastest drives I've tested so far; ideal for
    a simple system disk, home server boot drive, etc. The 15K II
    series is better, but not by much.

    Re past auctions, here's a 73GB 15K Seagate which sold for a
    good price a couple of days ago:

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=330368217243

    For WD VRs, 100 UKP seems to be about typical for a 150GB, and
    around 150+ for a 300GB, but bargains keep occuring, eg. a 300GB
    WD VR went last week for 122 UKP (item 170389926209) and another
    went for 125 UKP (item 180415908881), though interesting to
    compare to the 300GB 15K SCSIs I bought which cost between 80
    and 100.

    Shop around! Plenty of bargains to be had. Ditto for 10K SCSI of
    course, eg. the cheapest I've paid for a 300GB 10K SCSI is 31 UKP. :D 

    Ian.

  • 0 Hide
    kal326 , October 19, 2009 5:11 PM
    lamorpaThese 15K drives revolve 15 Thousand times every minute! Almost One Million times per hour!! Over TWENTY MILLION times per day!!!

    I would wager to say all 15k drives rotate that much in 24/7 use production environments, there isn't anything special about THESE 15k drives.