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Testing Participants

Fujitsu MBB2 RC: MBB2147RC – 147GB

 

Like our previous roundup of SAS drives, this review begins with Fujitsu which has sold its HDD manufacture to Toshiba. And we again want to express our wish that the new owner will go on developing this product line. Right now, there are four brands offering such products because Western Digital has just recently announced its S25 series (2.5-inch drives with 10,000rpm and SAS).

Take note that this HDD, like all of its opponents, has a thickness of 12.5 millimeters instead of 9.5 millimeters as it typical of ordinary 2.5-inch drives. When it comes to slower 2.5-inch drives, a thicker case means that the drive has a third platter (and a third pair of read/write heads), but here the thickness is determined by the advanced heads actuator. For SAS drives, even such compact ones, access time is a highly important characteristic and must be improved by any means possible. Therefore they have a high spindle rotation speed as well as fast heads which require a robust actuator.

Unfortunately, we could not get the newest models of the MBD2 RC (with 150GB platters) and MBE2 RC (with 73.5GB platters but with a spindle speed of 15,000rpm) series, so we can only test the previous MBB2 RC series with 73.5GB platters and a spindle speed of 10,000rpm. This series is not the oldest, though. Fujitsu’s first 2.5-inch SAS drives had only half that storage capacity.

Of course, the capacity of this drive does not look large in comparison with newest 3.5-inch SAS or modern 2.5-inch 5400rpm products, but reliability and compactness are often more important for server applications than record-breaking specs. Some people may deliberately choose previous-generation products just because they don’t need highest specs possible but want to save some money. The MBB2 RC series has all the characteristic and demanded traits of 2.5-inch SAS drives such as compactness, low access time (we’ll check this out in practical tests shortly) and low power consumption.

Hitachi Ultrastar C10K147: HUC101473CSS300 – 147GB

 

Hitachi entered the market of compact SAS drives later than the other brands. It did not have products with 36.5GB platters but started off with twice larger platters instead. The C10K147 series was the company’s first attempt at making 2.5-inch drives with a spindle rotation speed of 10,000rpm. Despite the rather small capacity of the platters, the series features all server-oriented technologies such as the parking of the heads on a ramp, thermal flying height control, and Rotation Vibration Safeguard.

Hitachi Ultrastar C10K300: HUC103030CSS600 – 300GB

 

Hitachi has recently updated its compact SAS products by releasing a new series. And this time the company is one of the first makers to do so. The C10K300 series uses twice larger platters (the dual-platter model is now 300GB large) and a SAS 6Gbps interface. An individual disk does not need such a high interface bandwidth (even the best of 15,000rpm drives are only as fast as 200MBps) but the new high-speed interface is going to be useful for connecting disk racks.

We don’t have a Hitachi С15K147 model in this review, but want to say a few words about it. Released along with the C10K300, it has a SAS 6Gbps interface, too, but does not have such large platters. Instead, it has a spindle rotation speed of 15,000rpm, which is an excellent option for users who want to get as many operations per second from their disk array as possible.

 
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