After spending some time testing Seagate's Savvio drives with different configurations on the LSI MegaRAID 9260-8i, it became clear that the Savvio 10K.3 didn't see any benefit from the controller's SAS 2.0 interface other than the boost in write performance from the cache. The Savvio 15K.2 and Cheetah 15K.7 both saw a boost. That said, you will be perfectly fine running the 10K.3 on your existing SAS RAID controller and not need to worry about upgrading.
The performance of the Seagate 10K.3 is quite high when compared to 7,200 RPM drives like the Seagate Constellation, but I am sad to report that the Western Digital VelociRaptor runs nearly identical in most tests. When it comes to cost of ownership the VelociRaptor also has the 10K.3 beat.
Since our tests were all single drive performance, it is still difficult to see how these drives would compare in real world usage tests since nearly all of the Savvio drives sold end up in RAID arrays in servers. Our single drive server tests had the 10K.3 outperforming the VelociRaptor in both File and Web Server patterns.
Over the next few weeks we are going to spend a great deal of time testing other enterprise hard drives to find the best in class in each category. Our two weeks of Seagate testing is just the beginning.