Cheetah 15K.5 Perpendicular 3.5-Inch Drives

Seagate Technology is shipping its first 3.5-inch hard drives to use perpendicular storage technology to improve performance and storage capacity, offering 30 percent better performance than the company’s previous high-speed drives.

The Seagate Cheetah 15K.5 drives now head up the company’s enterprise line of storage devices, so for the moment they’re largely in the realm of servers, data centers, and high-end corporate systems. Available in capacities up to 300 GB and feature 15K RPm speeds deliver fast seek times, and are available with either 3 Gb/sec Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), Ultra320 SCSI, and 4 Gb/sec Fibre Channel interfaces at capacities of 73, 147, and 300 GB. Seagate says the Cheetah 15K.5 drives have a Mean Time Between Failure rating of 1.4 million hours of full-duty service. (Yes, that’s just about 160 years: remember it’s a mean time to failure, not a performance guarantee.) The drives will be available in June 2006; no pricing information has been released.

Perpendicular storage technology aims to increase the density of storage media by standing individual bits of data “on end” rather than laying bits out longitudinally around a disk platter. Although the technology is still being refined, current estimates have the industry leveraging 4 to 8 times additional storage capacity (and faster seek and read/write times) as the technology matures.