Seagate Launches the Final 15K rpm Hard Drive: RIP 15K HDDs

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Seagate Enterprise Performance 15k.6
Seagate Enterprise Performance 15k.6

Seagate this week announced the availability of what will likely be the final 15K rpm hard drive series. The Seagate Enterprise Performance 2.5″ 15K rpm hard drives. You can see that the end of the line has been hit for 15K rpm hard drives and after seeing the specs, one has to wonder if this was not a product born from a specific OEM request.

Seagate Enterprise Performance 2.5″ 15K Specs

The specs of the drives vary considerably depending on capacity and model. Instead of copy-pasting an ugly table, here is a link to Seagate’s website.

Seagate Enterprise Performance 15k.6
Seagate Enterprise Performance 15k.6

The key specs you will want to look out for are capacity limitations of 900GB in the 2.5″ 12gbps SAS3 form factor. Power consumption is 6.9w to 7.6w. Some models have up to 16GB NAND onboard (TurboBoost feature) and 256MB DRAM.

Why this is the end of the road for 15K rpm hard drives

At the end of the day, these 15K rpm drives are in a competitive market that has already transitioned not just to SATA and SAS SSDs, but also to NVMe SSDs. Essentially, these are now two generations behind the curve. Here is a quick checklist to see how they compare to SATA/ SAS SSDs:

  • Capacity: 15K limited to 900GB/ 2.5″. Generally available SSDs hit 4TB/ 2.5″
  • Power Consumption: 15K ~7w, SSD about half or less in real world usage
  • IOPS: 15K HDD sub-1,000, SSD commonly 100,000 to 250,000
  • 12Gbps SAS throughput: 15K HDD up to 315MB/s, SSD over 1.1GB/s in dual port configuration
  • Complexity: 15K HDD with on device NAND caching, SSD no need for additional NAND caching

In summary, 15K RPM hard drives are less dense, use more power and have performance somewhere between 1/4th and 1/300th of a SSD.

Final Words

It is very hard to see 10K rpm and 15K rpm hard drives having significant market share in 2017 aside from installation in existing arrays. The market has not just moved past this technology, but NAND-based NVMe drives are yet another technology generation ahead with 3D XPoint already sampling to large customers. It is finally time to say RIP to the 15K rpm hard drive.

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Patrick has been running STH since 2009 and covers a wide variety of SME, SMB, and SOHO IT topics. Patrick is a consultant in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about server, storage and networking, building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

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