It is always difficult to hold back that sense of feeling like a kid in a candy store every time a box of Cheetahs arrives. Oh goodie, oh goodie, oh goodie! - Now that we have that out of the way…
Seagate Technology released the first 15,000 RPM enterprise hard drive nearly 15 years ago, the X15. While the name was appropriate at the time, Seagate changed the name of the product line in the second generation to show generational updates; the 15K.2 was born. The second coming of the King of Enterprise Storage caught Seagate's competitors off guard and for a year Seagate had the only second generation 15,000 RPM product on the market. This went on until the fourth generation, at that point competing products starting to perform and in some benchmarks overtake Seagate's flagship drive.
The latest entry into the Cheetah family is a seventh generation 15,000 RPM enterprise class hard drive that is considered solely an enterprise product. For years the cost of such drives have kept them well out of reach of the enthusiast market, at least until they could be purchased second hand. The 15K.7 for me will be remembered as the first Cheetah to approach the 1 Dollar per Gigabyte ratio, making the drives on par with Western Digital's VelociRaptor at the time of launch. While I would love to stay entrenched with the thought of convincing you about the benefits of using the 15K.7 Cheetah as a boot drive for an enthusiast system, this is an enterprise evaluation, or at least as close to one as I can convey while still curbing my enthusiasm.
Seagate's enterprise methodology is simple, make it the fastest, most reliable, most advanced product on the market, then do it again the next year. Easy, right? It truly amazes me that Seagate was able to follow up on the 15K.6 so quickly; this time performance, capacity and reliability increased. The Seagate 15K.7 has either the highest rating in their class or the highest rating of all classes (SSDs excluded) in these three fields. Like I said, easy, right.
Seagate was kind enough to send over three of their high performance SAS 2.0 Cheetah 15K.7 drives for testing. In this review we are going to run through several enterprise class hard drives as single disks. Come back to TweakTown later in the week for a full spread on the 15K.7's ran in RAID on both the Adaptec 5805Z and LSI 9260-8i, two of the latest SAS controllers to hit the market.