3.5”: Seagate Cheetah NS.2 (10,000 RPM, 600GB)
Seagte’s 3.5” Cheetah NS.2 is supposed to combine high capacity and high performance. Unlike the Constellation, the Cheetah NS.2 aims more at great value than maximum efficiency. The drive comes in capacities of 600GB and 450GB on a SAS 6 Gb/s interface. If you prefer 4 Gb/s FibreChannel, you can also get a 300GB model.
All NS.2 drives have 16MB cache and a 10,000 RPM spindle speed, which prove ample enough to reach 160 MB/s on our 600GB sample. Although the NS.2’s peak throughput was as high as on a Savvio 15K.2, the minimum dropped to 87 MB/s. We measured a pleasing 7.0 ms access time and up to 297 MB/s on the interface. Amazingly, I/O performance was quicker than on 10,000 RPM, 2.5” SAS drives by Fujitsu, Hitachi, and Seagate. The NS.2 showed varying PCMark Vantage application performance.
A 7.5W idle power sounds comparatively high, but keep in mind that this is a four-platter, 3.5” hard drive. Compared to the 12.2W to 14.4W idle power of the 15,000 RPM, 3.5” drives, the’s NS.2’s 7.5W seems more than acceptable for a 10,000 RPM enterprise drive. The highest power consumption we measured was 10.4W, which occurred during workstation I/O operations. Power draw during streaming and HD video playback was lower. Since many of the 2.5” drives required less power, the Cheetah NS.2 doesn’t have a chance to win the streaming read efficiency category or workstation I/O efficiency. However, in its class (low cost per gigabyte and high capacity per watt for enterprise environments), it does very well.