Recently I have been toying with the idea of using business class hardware in gaming PC’s to boost reliability and performance. We had a chance to look at Seagate's ES.2 line of hard drives recently and found them to perform well in multi drive situations along with great reliability. Even though their performance was good, it wasn’t the extreme solution I was looking for. Seagate recognized that and sent me a trio of drives designed to complement each other in a server environment with high speed and high capacity storage. Today I will be taking a look at the Savvio 15K.2, Savvio 10K.2, and Constellation. All three are Serial Attached SATA drives in the 2.5inch form factor, perfect for packing them into small servers or in our case packing them into already packed gaming rigs.
Review Samples Provided by: Seagate
Review by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
Just like in our review of the ES.2 hard drives also from Seagate, all three of the drives came in plastic clamshells. Nothing amazing hear other than the drives themselves.
Cooler Master Sniper Case Intel 920 i7 CPU
6 gigs of Cruicial Ballistix Ram
Two Seagate 1TB ES.2 Hard drives
Hatachi 1TB HD Seagate 1.5tb HD
Seagate .10 750gb HD
RapterX (1.5 and 750, and RapterX are in Icydock MB673SPF-B Internal enclosure)
Two Saphire 4870's in Crossfire
Noctua NH-U12P 1366 special edition
Two Samsung Sata DVD burners
Cooler Master UCP 1100 watt power supply
LSISAS3442E-R SAS controller card
EVGA Classified motherboard
With these drives being in the 2.5 inch form factor installing them into the Sniper case was a little bit of a challenge. A good portion of the 2.5 to 3.5 adapters that I found would not work with SAS drives due to requiring the drive to plug in. I did find a small gem while reviewing the Scout from Cooler Master, they included a simple bracket set that lets you install a 1.8 or 2.5 inch drive into a 3.5 inch bay. Taking advantage of this bracket I was able to setup the drives for testing (one at a time until the brackets are available for purchase). To go along with the SAS hard drives I also had to also install a LSI SAS3442E-R SAS controller card to hook the drives up. With the LSI controller card installed and setup, plugging the hard drives in was as simple as two plugs. Overall installing the drives was simple, it did open my eyes to the lack of 2.5 drive bays on modern high end gaming cases. Considering the move to SSD’s in the gaming industry this is going to become an issue sooner rather than later, I hope case manufactures are working on solutions.
I talked earlier about how the Two Savvio drives along with the Constellation are designed to work together. In a server this would break down this way.
Savvio 15K.2 (high transactional for businesses that rely on fast transactions for income; airline ticketing, stock transactions, etc.)
Savvio 10K.2 (less frequently accessed info but still needed - bank records, etc. database work)
Constellation ( bulk storage infrequently accessed; maybe a business that needs to hold images or financial records for annual reports, etc.) This way you can tune your hard drives depending on your business needs. Of course to a gamer like me, the first thing that came to mind was this.
Savvio 15K.2 (OS)
Savvio 10K.2 (Game storage)
Constellation (Files, Documents, Ect)
While researching these drives I noticed that the Savvio 15K.2 is touted as the world’s fastest and greenest hard drive. After reading about that I was very excited to put it all too the test. Using HDTune to compare the performance of all three drives I was able to see why Seagate suggest this using the drives together. The Savvio 15K.2's performance was very impressive with an Access time of only 5 ms and a maximum read transfer rate of 156 MB/sec.
After living with the three drives from Seagate, I have been very impressed with this combination of drives. The Savvio's performance was amazing giving me a noticeable performance increase when using it as my OS drive. The 10K.2's performance was also notable when compared against my old RapterX. I hope to pick up a VelociRapter to compare these results against in the future, going off of other tests the VR performance falls in between the Savvio 15K.2 and the 10K.2 proving that Seagate can compete in the gaming hard drive market. I would love to see them produce a SATA version of the 15K.2 to compete directly with the VR, until then these business class drives will be our secret ;).