We talk about Seagate Mach.2 Exos 2X14. Seagate is the company with the fastest hard drives, and now they have renewed their leadership with a new 14TB model that is capable of speeds up to 524 MB / s. This speed implies reaching almost the limit that allows connectivity SATA3.
Seagate reaches 524 MB / s: like an SSD
This speed, however, is maximum sequential read speed. One of the main problems hard drives have is randomly reading and writing files. For example, if we want to copy thousands of small files and they are scattered on the platters, the speed plummets to a few MB / s. In an SSD, the data is accessible at the same speed wherever it is, although if there are thousands of small files it also affects the speed, although not as much as hard drives.
To achieve this speed, Seagate has cheated a bit, since the Mach. 2 Exos 2X14 is basically made of two 7 TB hard drives with two groups of independent actuator arms, but joined and sealed with helium in a 3.5-inch chassis. It also rotates to 7,200 RPM and has a 256 MB cache, although the random read and write speed are 304 and 384 IOPS, respectively, versus the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands that an SSD typically has.
Energy consumption, having two hard drives inside, is also somewhat higher, with 7.2 W at rest and 13.5 W at maximum load. However, there is a setting called PowerBalance that allows to reduce the consumption to 12 W, although the performance drops by half in sequential reads and writes, and up to 10% in random reads and writes. Therefore, it is not ideal for massive deployments, but it can be a good option halfway between SSD units and slower hard drives, not having to clone hard drives to SSD or simplifying the process.
This technology will be the standard for years to come
Reaching high speeds on a hard drive is important, although in data centers where drives like this are used it doesn’t matter much because SSD drives are used as cache. Seagate claims it is priced similarly to equivalent 14TB hard drives sealed with helium, although they have not revealed the specific figure.
Seagate began the first experiments of the technology Mach.2 in 2017 together with Microsoft. Little by little they were opening up to more manufacturers, and at the beginning of the year they announced that they were in a position to start increasing the distribution of these units on a massive scale, hence they have finally announced them for any company or data center beyond the that they had agreed.
Going forward, Seagate planned to begin offering drives for 30, 40 and up to 50 TB For the year 2026 with this technology, becoming a standard in data centers by then thanks to the combination of technologies such as HAMR.