Seagate brings perpendicular recording to SCSI

Today Seagate will announce the Cheetah 15K.5, the first enterprise-class SCSI drive to use perpendicular recording technology. Perpendicular recording allows Seagate to offer the drive in capacities up to 300GB, which is particularly impressive considering its 15K-RPM spindle speed—15K-RPM drives currently top out at only 147GB. In addition to gobs of capacity and blistering spindle speeds, the 15K.5 also features 16MB of cache and will be available in 3Gbps Serial Attached SCSI, Ultra320, and 4Gbps fiber channel flavors. According to Seagate, drives are already shipping to OEMs, with distribution channel availability to follow later this quarter.

While the fact that the Cheetah 15K.5 offers twice the capacity of existing 15K-RPM drives is certainly impressive, Seagate is quick to note that the drive's performance has also been improved over previous generations. For example, the company claims that this latest Cheetah can sustain transfer rates of 125MB/s. Error protection has apparently been improved by a factor of 10, as well.

The Cheetah 15K.5 is actually Seagate's second hard drive to use perpendicular recording. Its first, the Momentus 5400.3 mobile ATA drive, was announced earlier this year. At the time, Seagate expressed that it expects all its new hard drive products to use perpendicular recording by the end of 2006. With that in mind, one can only hope that Serial ATA desktop drives are next in line for the perpendicular treatment.

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