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Analysis: Which Enterprise Capacity Point Performs Best?

2.5” And 10,000 RPM: The Toshiba MBF2xxxRC Family

The current enterprise hard drive lineup from Toshiba originated from Fujitsu, which became part of Toshiba’s Storage Device Division (SDD) in 2009. You can see this in the product naming, as Toshiba’s notebook hard drives were typically named MKxxxx with a model line suffix while the enterprise Fujitsu drive family were named using the prefix—in this case MBFxxxx. We selected this family because we already had two out of three drives in hand, but this article could also have been based on Seagate Savvio 10K drives, which also are available at the same capacities, plus a 146GB variant. Hitachi, the third enterprise hard drive manufacturer, has not yet provided a 600GB drive in a 2.5-inch form factor.

The MBF2xxxRC family is available with an optional self-encryption feature, but we used the regular hard drives without this security add-on. The nominal density for the three drives is 385 Gb/inch², which is similar to what Seagate offers in this area, and allows vendors to cram 200GB of data onto a single 2.5” platter. SAS 2.0 has already become the key interface for enterprise hard drives. Both Seagate and Toshiba implement it at 6 Gb/s. The Toshiba drives come with a 16MB buffer to support command queuing.

Drive weight is specified at 220 g, and the operating temperature is rated between 5°C  to 55°C, which is comparable to Seagate’s offerings. Toshiba’s specification sheet lists the same seek times and power consumption for all three models, but we measured slightly varying results. This applies to seek time, I/O performance, and throughput numbers. Power consumption is clearly lower on the 300GB drive (3.0W), which employs only two, rather than three, platters. Compared to 3.5W for the 450GB and 600GB drives, this marks a 14% reduction. However, capacity per watt still is best on the 600GB drive, although this isn’t the case for our power efficiency tests. Performance per watt on throughput or I/O operations is highest on the 300GB model.