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We included several additional hard drives in the benchmark charts to provide some points of reference for our review candidates. Obviously, the latest hard drives deliver considerably higher performance than their predecessors. One example is Seagate’s Cheetah 15K, which went from 128 to 203 MB/s throughput in two drive generations. At the same time, power consumption went down by a significant amount, making all of today’s enterprise hard drives drastically more efficient than previous products.
However, tests also show that the days for traditional 3.5” drive are numbered, at least in the enterprise, where maximum performance and efficiency are essential. Increased data densities allow 2.5” high performance drives to close the gap with their 3.5” brothers. Fujitsu’s MBE2147RC and Seagate’s Savvio 15K.2 are impressive examples of diminutive 2.5” drives outstripping the fastest 3.5” competition on IOPS, and they’re not very far behind on throughput-intensive workloads, either.
Despite having pulled almost even on performance, these 2.5” drives require just half the power of their 3.5” counterparts. The only real reasons left to stay with 3.5” environments are legacy/compatibility considerations and high performance requirements.
Seagate provides hard drives for every possible business case. The Cheetah 15K.7 delivers highest throughput, the Savvio 15K.2 has the best I/O numbers, and the Savvio 10K.3 tackles efficiency. The Constellation pairs mainstream capacity (500GB) with low cost and high efficiency by using a 7,200 RPM spindle speed, and the Cheetah NS.2 balances solid capacity, performance, cost, and efficiency for traditional 3.5” 10,000 RPM customers. Each drive does very well in its segment but doesn’t necessarily belong outside of these target scenarios.
Should we expect the manufacturers to cover all bases? For Seagate, perhaps. The firm has been the hard drive market leader and it knows more than anyone else that one size can’t fit all. The other hard drive makers make compromises. Hitachi focuses on throughput and application performance, losing a bit on I/O. Fujitsu optimizes its 2.5” drives for maximum efficiency, which results in a solid but not groundbreaking 2.5” 10,000 RPM drive. The 15,000 RPM Fujitsu MBE2147RC, however, is impressive. It manages to be stand evenly with Seagate’s Savvio 15K.2, despite its low power consumption. Hence, this Fujitsu drive is our choice for both high density enterprise performance environments and for workstations.