Seagate revs up high capacity disks

Higher capacity hard disks with spindle speeds up to 15,000rpm are being put into production at Seagate

Seagate plans to announce its highest-capacity 15,000 revolutions-per-minute hard disks yet on Monday, with a 73GB model.

The Cheetah 15K.3 -- so-called because it represents Seagate's third generation of hard disk to have a spindle speed of 15,000rpm -- is aimed at applications where data has to be searched and retrieved fast, said Shawn Hook of Seagate's Enterprise Storage Group. "It's about how fast you can get access to the data," said Hook. "For instance, with airline reservation systems you have massive amounts of data but don't want people sitting around and waiting while the disk retrieves small blocks."

Access times and data throughput speeds are crucial for such jobs. Seagate reckons the 15K.3 offers data rates that are 35 percent higher than its 10,000rpm models, and 25 percent higher than its previous generation 15,000rpm models. The company is quoting up to 86MB per second with a sustained data rate of 49MB per second for the drive, with 3.6ms seek times.

Seagate is also planning new releases of its Cheetah 10K.6 10,000rpm drives, with capacities ranging up to 146GB, for applications where the cost per gigabyte is important. The company expects to ship volume quantities of both the 10K.6 and 15K.3 drives in the first week of August, said Hook. Pricing will be available closer to the time.

As demand for storage increases, hard disk manufacturers are coming under increased pressure to squeeze more capacity out of a given area of hard disk. The Cheetah 15K.3 has a data density of 34 gigabits per square inch, for instance.

"The price per gigabyte changes dramatically," said Hook. "In the enterprise space, the maximum capacity product in any range tends to settle around a particular price, and as we introduce faster and higher capacity drives in a range, the price for the top-of-the range drive stays fairly constant. The cost of the drive does not change significantly, but the capacity and performance does."

Everybody needs storage. And almost every week some company manages to squeeze more storage into less space for a lower price. For the latest news, reviews and price checks on everything from USB flash cards and PCCard hard disks to storage area networks, see ZDNet UK's Storage News Section.

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