IMG_6526_lrThis spring I took a look at the 15k RPM Savvio drives from Seagate, a 2.5 inch high speed hard drives designed for server use. I also found that they were perfect for enthusiast use as long as you are willing to pay the premium. Today I have the chance to test out Seagate's Cheetah hard drives, 10k and 15k RPM 3.5inch drives. With four times the storage space in a bigger package how will it affect our original thoughts.

Product Name: Seagate Cheetah NS.2 and Cheetah 15K.7

Review Sample Provided by: Seagate

Review by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

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Specifications

Model Number

ST3600057SS

Interface

SAS 2.0 6.0Gb/s

Cache

16MB

Capacity

600 GB

Areal density (avg)

225 Gbits/inch2

Guaranteed Sectors

1,172,123,568

PHYSICAL

Height (max)

26.10 mm (1.028 inches)

Width (max)

101.85 mm (4.010 inches)

Length (max)

146.99 mm (5.787 inches)

Weight (typical)

800 grams (1.76 pounds)

PERFORMANCE

Spindle Speed

15,000 rpm

Average latency

2.0 msec

Random read seek time

3.4 msec

Random write seek time

3.9 msec

RELIABILITY

MTBF

1,600,000 hours

Annual Failure Rate

0.55%

POWER

Maximum start current, AC

3.88 amps

Maximum start current, DC

1.91 amps

 

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Packaging

I’m not even sure why I talk about the packaging on the business class hard drives. They all come in clear plastic trays that keep them protected while still making it easy to see the drive. The Cheetahs are no exception with that packaging.

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Installation

Installing the Cheetahs was the same as any other 3.5 other than the SAS interface. Even though some high end motherboards include a SAS controller built in, the easiest (although not the cheapest) way would be to pick up a SAS controller card for one of your PCI or PCIe slots. With a controller card all setup installing the Cheetahs can’t get much easier.

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Performance

The best way to compare the all out performance of the Cheetah’s is to put them up against some of the fastest hard drives and SSD’s on the market. Today I will be comparing them against the Velociraptor, Seagate’s Savvio 15k RPM drive, a Crucial M225 128Gb SSD, and a 1.5Tb Seagate Barracuda. To get fair results all of the testing is done on the same computer using HDTune, a hard drive benchmarking software.

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As you can see above both of the drives performed amazingly. Or course still not out performing SSD's, but it will be some time before SSD's can match the long term reliability of standard hard drives in high stress business applications.  The  NS.2's performance with an access time of 6.6ms and a Maximum MB/sec of 150.5 is great. But the Cheetah 15K7 is the top dog with a 5.3ms Access time and a Maximum of 179.1 MB/sec transfer rate. Of course when these guys are running you know it, they do put out a considerable amount of vibration and noise if not mounted with some sort of vibration dampening.

HDTune_Benchmark_SEAGATE_ST3600002SS

HDTune_Benchmark_SEAGATE_ST3600057SS

Overall

So after taking a look at the Seagate Cheetah NS.2 and Cheetah 15K.7 I can say one thing without a doubt, these are two of the fastest hard drives we have seen. In fact the 15K.7 is just short of SSD performance with the reliability that only 53 years of development can give you. The best enterprise class drive gets you a 600 gig hard drive with PowerTrim technology that provides up to a 21% improvement over last generations watts/Gb at idle. That means you can have your cake and eat it too, that is as long as your cake doesn't involve a cheap price ;).

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