Although the wheels don’t turn as quickly in the enterprise space as they do for notebook and desktop class products, there's still significant progress from one product generation to the next. Seagate and Toshiba beat Hitachi to the 600 GB capacity point on 2.5” drives, and both have characteristics that qualify them for different scenarios.
First, let’s talk about performance. Neither drive competes well with other enterprise hard drives when it comes to I/O performance. SSDs aside, 15 000 RPM drives are much faster. However, we must advise against purchasing the Savvio 10K.4 if your applications involve much I/O activity. Using the default firmware, the Seagate drive shows hardly any optimization for I/O-intensive workloads. The Toshiba drive isn’t a racer either, but its I/O results are acceptable.
On throughput and application performance, the clear winner is Toshiba’s MBF2600RC. It delivers better results in most of our benchmarks. At the same time, the drive’s power consumption is well below the Savvio 10K.4's numbers. This isn't only because of the Toshiba drive’s variable spindle speed at idle, but the drive is slightly lower on power overall. This places Toshiba on top when it comes to power efficiency, as well. The drive wins our throughput and I/O performance per watt testing.
Seagate still has an ace up its sleeve, althoguh it's a card that might not be perceived as an ace for mainstream users. While both Seagate and Toshiba provide the common five-year warranty, Seagate’s Savvio 10K.4 is the first drive to be rated at two million hours MTBF. Enterprise customers that need to deploy hundreds of hard drives may throw all of our performance findings overboard and go with the product delivering the highest statistical reliability.