Seagate has officially listed and disclosed the specifications of the world’s fastest hard drive i.e. its first dual-actuator HDD i.e. ‘Mach.2 Exos 2X14’, which has a sequential throughput of up to 524 MB/s. Mach.2’s has a twice sequential read and write performance that of a normal drive and can even challenge some inexpensive SATA SSDs too. Many companies like Toshiba and Western Digital are also working on similar hard drives, but only Seagate is the first to commercialize an HDD with the dual-actuator technology.
As we know SSD’s have now become the standard for business laptops, consoles, and workstations, HDDs still have a place in data centers due to their ability to store large amounts of data relatively cheaply. This time, Seagate’s Mach.2 multi-actuator technology aims to speed up the rate at which HDDs can transfer data without affecting their storage capacity and is only getting close to the sustained transfer speeds of SATA-based SSDs, and mainstream ones at that.
While traditional HDDs have one actuator with reading/writing heads, the company’s Mach.2 drives have two to double both their sequential and random reading/writing speeds. Seagate and Microsoft are working together since the end of 2017 to develop the multi-actuator technology and after seeing the Mach.2 Exos 2X14’s specs, it looks like their efforts have paid off.
Seagate Exos 2X14 Specifications
As reported by Tom’s Hardware, Seagate’s Exos 2X14 HDD has a capacity of 14TB but the drive is essentially two 7TB HDDs fused in a hermetically sealed helium-filled 3.5inch shell. It features a spindle speed of 7200 RPM (Revolutions per minute), a 256MB multisegmented cache, and a single-port SAS 12GB/s interface.
When plugged into a server, the host system will view the Exos 2X14 as two logical drives that can be addressed independently. The read/write speeds of Seagate’s new HDD are so fast that the drive can even stand out some inexpensive SATA/SAS SSDs at a far lower cost per TB. But Seagate has promised 524MB/s maximum sustained transfer rate is mighty close to the 550MB/s speeds of SATA SSDs you can plumb into your gaming board.
The drive’s performance increase does come at the cost of higher power consumption though and the Exos 2X14 drive consumes 7.2W in idle mode and up to 13.5W under heavy load. This amount of power is higher than the 12W usually recommended for 3.5-inch HDDs but data centers can manipulate Seagate’s PowerBalance capability to reduce power consumption, though this does come at the cost of 50 percent lower sequential read/write speeds and five to ten percent lower random reads/writes.
While Seagate’s first Mach.2 HDD is now listed on its site, the drive is only available to selected customers and won’t be coming to the open market soon. And there is a possibility that the company’s multi-actuator technology could be found in other HDDs.