hard drive history

2000: sea change

Seagate Cheetah X15

Photo: Red Hill.

Seagate Cheetah X15

For decades Seagate led the development of ultra-high performance enterprise drives. Seagate's dominance was not unchallenged; IBM and to a lesser extent Quantum were formidible competitors, but Seagate led the way and remained the benchmark. The original Seagate Barracuda was the first 7200 RPM drive; the astonishing Seagate Cheetah was the first 10,000 RPM drive, and the 15,000 RPM Seagate Cheetah X15 extended the traditon.

Cost was no object and the performance that resulted was extraordinary: nothing else on the market even came close to the X15 for a very long time indeed, and by the time it did, it was the Seagate Cheatah X15 36LP.

Illustration: an 18GB Cheetah X15 rests on a variety of high-performance SCSI drives. The cost of the pictured drives, when new, would add up to about $15,000. Clockwise from top left: IBM Ultrastar ZX, Seagate Barracuda 18, Seagate Cheetah Mark 1, Cheetah 15K.3, another Cheetah Mark 1 (part obscured), another Cheetah 15K.3 (bottom left).

Cheetah X15Performance2.19
Data rate508 Mbit/secSpin rate15,000 RPM
Seek time4.1msBuffer4MB
Platter capacity1.8GBInterfaceUltra 160 SCSI
Read channelPRMLHead technologyGMR
ST392519.2GB10 heads1/3 height
ST31845118.3GB6 heads1/3 height
Cheetah X15 36LPPerformance2.37
Data rate706 Mbit/secSpin rate15,000 RPM
Seek time3.8msBuffer8MB
Platter capacity9.2GBInterfaceUltra 320 SCSI
Read channelPRMLHead technologyGMR
ST31845218.4GB6 heads1/3 height
ST33675236.7GB8 heads1/3 height