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Seagate’s new Mach.2 is the world’s fastest conventional hard drive [arstechnica.com]:
Seagate has been working on dual-actuator hard drives—drives with two arms and read/write heads per platter—for several years. Its first production dual-actuator drive, the Mach.2, is now "available to select customers," meaning that enterprises can buy it directly from Seagate, but end-users are out of luck for now.
Seagate lists the sustained, sequential transfer rate of the Mach.2 as up to 524MBps—easily double that of a fast "normal" rust disk and edging into SATA SSD territory. The performance gains extend into random I/O territory as well, with 304 IOPS read / 384 IOPS write and only 4.16 ms average latency. (Normal hard drives tend to be 100/150 IOPS and about the same average latency.)
The added performance requires additional power; Mach.2 drives are rated for 7.2 W idle, while Seagate's standard Ironwolf line is rated at 5 W idle. It gets more difficult to compare loaded power consumption because Seagate specs the Mach.2 differently than the Ironwolf. The Mach.2's power consumption is explicitly rated [seagate.com] for several random I/O scenarios, while the Ironwolf line is rated for an unhelpful "average operating power," which isn't defined in the data sheet [seagate.com].
Still, if we assume—probably not unreasonably—a similar expansion of power consumption while under load, the Mach.2 represents an excellent choice for power efficiency since it offers roughly 200% of the performance of competing traditional drives at roughly 144% of the power budget. Particularly power-conscious users can also use Seagate's PowerBalance mode—although that feature decreases sequential performance by 50% and random performance by 10%.
According to Seagate Senior VP of Business and Marketing Jeff Fochtman, the company has been shipping Mach.2 HDDs in volume since 2019, supplying them to over a dozen major enterprise customers with dual-actuator programs. Today's wider release expands the potential customer base to include the rest of Seagate's "select" customers.
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