Storage

Seagate Lists the Mach.2: The World’s Fastest HDD

Seagate has finally listed its dual-actuator hard disk drive — the Mach.2 Exos 2X14 — on its website and disclosed the official specs. With a 524MB/s sustained transfer rate, the Mach.2 is the fastest HDD ever, its sequential read and write performance is twice that of a normal drive. In fact, it can even challenge some inexpensive SATA SSDs.

The HDD is still available to select customers and will not be available on the open market, at least for the time being. Meanwhile, Seagate’s spec disclosure shows us what type of performance to expect from multi-actuator high-end hard drives.

Seagate Describes First Mach.2 HDD: the Exos 2X14 

Seagate’s Exos 2X14 14TB hard drive is essentially two 7TB HDDs in one standard hermetically sealed helium-filled 3.5-inch chassis. The drive features a 7200 RPM spindle speed, is equipped with a 256MB multisegmented cache, and uses a single-port SAS 12Gb/s interface. The host system considers an Exos 2X14 as two logical drives that are independently addressable. 

Seagate’s Exos 2X14 boasts a 524MB/s sustained transfer rate (outer diameter) of 304/384 random read/write IOPS, and a 4.16 ms average latency. The Exos 2X14 is even faster than Seagate’s 15K RPM Exos 15E900, so it is indeed the fastest HDD ever.

Furthermore, its sequential read/write speeds can challenge inexpensive SATA/SAS SSDs (at a far lower cost-per-TB). Obviously, any SSD will still be faster than any HDD in random read/write operations. However, hard drives and solid-state drives are used for different storage tiers in data centers, so the comparison is not exactly viable. 

(Image credit: Seagate)

But performance increase comes at the cost of higher power consumption. An Exos 2X14 drive consumes 7.2W in idle mode and up to 13.5W under heavy load, which is higher than modern high-capacity helium-filled drives. Furthermore, that’s also higher than the 12W usually recommended for 3.5-inch HDDs.

Seagate says the power consumption is not an issue as some air-filled HDDs are power hungry too, so there are plenty of backplanes and servers that can deliver enough power and ensure proper cooling. Furthermore, the drive delivers quite a good balance of performance-per-Watt and IOPS-per-Watt. Also, data centers can use Seagate’s PowerBalance capability to reduce power consumption, but at the cost of 50% lower sequential read/write speeds and 5%~10% lower random reads/writes.  

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