Seagate Savvio 2.5" - The Object Of Desire
The Savvio series is Seagate's latest attempt to develop a new market. The lively product name represents a line of 2.5" enterprise-class hard drive that, while the same physical size as a notebook drive, has little else in common with it. All the components used in the Savvio came from the Barracuda and Cheetah families. As a result, Savvio works with a relatively high spindle speed of 10,000 RPM, to provide performance similar to that of its 3.5" rivals. Seagate used Ultra320 SCSI since it is still the interface of choice, but with SAS controllers becoming available, we expect the drive manufacturer to release versions using the serial interface fairly soon.
Savvio left a pretty good impression when we first reviewed it. Its low access times are brilliant, though the data transfer rate cannot always compete with that of 3.5" drives. The reason for that is found in the Savvio's small dimensions. Due to the fact that the 2.5" and 3.5" drives have the same rotational speeds, the outer media zones of 3.5" platters move past the heads faster and thus provide faster transfer rates than 2.5" ones.
A typical 19" rack mount case can accommodate up to four 3.5" disk drives using removable frames. By using 2.5" drives, the StorCase can hold ten drives in the same space. The "sweet spot" high capacity 3.5" SCSI drives is 147 GB, so using four of them would result in a gross capacity of 588 GB. In contrast, ten 74 GB Savvios will provide a gross of 740 GB. However, Seagate's Savvio would fail the capacity battle by a large margin if 300 GB 3.5" drives were used (1200 GB for the 3.5" drives compared to 740 GB for the Savvios.)
Regardless of the capacity issue, it is beyond question that performance will always be superior when more drives are deployed, as long as the infrastructure offers sufficient bandwidth, and the controller used is powerful enough.