Toshiba has announced that it has begun sampling of its new generation of SAS hard drives with a 10,500 RPM spindle speed. The new AL15SE HDDs are aimed at mission critical applications that still rely on traditional magnetic recording technology and have not yet migrated to SSDs. The key advantage of the new HDDs versus their predecessors are their increased capacity and performance.

The Toshiba AL15SE family of hard drives comes in traditional enterprise HDD form-factor of 2.5”/15 mm and includes models featuring Advanced Format (4K and 512e sectors) as well as SKUs with native 512B sectors. The AF hard drives can store 600 GB – 2400 GB of data (up from 1800 GB on the AL14SE), whereas the 512n hard disks have capacity of 300 GB – 1200 GB. The new drives are equipped with a 128 MB DRAM buffer as well as Toshiba’s persistent write cache with power loss protection (PWC with PLP). Select AL15SE models feature Sanitize Instant Erase (SIE) which encrypts and decrypts all data located on the drive and may delete the key when needed to quickly invalidate all recorded data. The SIE models take advantage of the persistent write cache with power loss protection.

 Toshiba AL15SE 10K 4Kn/512e HDDs
Capacity 2.4 TB 1.8 TB 1.2 TB 900 GB 600 GB
Standard Model 4Kn AL15SEB24EP AL15SEB18EP AL15SEB12EP AL15SEB09EP AL15SEB06EP
DRAM Cache 128 MB DRAM
NAND Flash Cache Toshiba’s persistent write cache with power loss protection
Form-Factor, Interface 2.5", dual-port SAS 12 Gbps
Sustained Transfer Rate 260 MB/s
Average Latency 2.86 ms
Power Consumption Read/Write 8.7 W 8.1 W 7 W 6.5 W
Active Idle 5.1 W 4.6 W 3.5  W 3 W
Warranty 5 years
MTBF 2,000,000 hours

The new AL15SE drives are based on new platters with an increase in areal density. The new platters boost sustained data transfer speed of AL15SE AF HDDs over the prior AL14SE generation by 15% to 260 MB/s (outer diameter). The AL15SE 512n hard disks versions (while slower than their AF models at 225-234 MB/s), are also faster when compared to their predecessors. When it comes to latency, the drives feature a 2.86 ms average latency time, in line with previous-gen AL14SE products. Random performance of hard drives in general is typically very low and in case of 10K HDDs we are talking about ~200 IOPS. As for power consumption, the AL15SE consume 6.5-8.7 W, depending on SKU.

Toshiba AL15SE 10K 512n HDDs
Capacity 1.2 TB 900 GB 600 GB 300 GB
Standard Model AL15SEB120N AL15SEB090N AL15SEB060N AL15SEB030N
DRAM Cache 128 MB DRAM
2.5", dual-port SAS 12 Gbps
Sustained Transfer Rate 234 MB/s 222.5 MB/s
Average Latency 2.86 ms
Power Consumption Read/Write 8.1 W 7 W 6.5 W
Active Idle 4.5 W 3.5 W 3 W
Warranty 5 years
MTBF 2,000,000 hours

Earlier this year Toshiba announced what could be the final generation of its hard drives with a spindle speed of 15,000 RPM. However now it follows up with its new 10K HDDs. Neither 10K nor 15K hard disks deliver performance levels comparable to mission-critical SSDs, but there are still many applications that rely on mechanical drives (especially if you run something old, which still uses 512B and similar sectors). Toshiba says that 10K and 15K HDDs are sold with a huge premium and even despite of decreasing unit shipments they still control around 10% of the global hard drive revenue share, which is why both Seagate and Toshiba refreshed their new 10K/15K product families in the recent 18 months.

Toshiba did not say when it plans to start commercial shipments of the new drives, but since we are dealing with HDDs aimed at mission critical applications, neither the manufacturer nor its clients would rush deployment. Prices of the drives will depend on volumes and negotiations.

Related Reading

Source: Toshiba

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  • dgingeri - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    I will never trust Toshiba enterprise drives again. At my old company, we got in several new systems with 13 74GB 10k Toshiba drives in the main system and 22 in an expansion tray, and some spares, with a total order of 430 drives for testing of a new backup storage product line. In the following 3 years, every single one of those drives failed, with some cases where one would die and the power spike would take out the drives on both sides of it, for example drive 14 would die and take drives 13 and 15 with it. This was particularly troublesome since the product specs were that drives would be configure in RAID 1 pairs right next to each other. So, inevitably, we had several cases where both a drive and its mirror would die, leaving the system unusable. If it had been live backup data on our customers' systems, they would have lost all of their backup data. Even better was that we had a couple instances where the failed drive also managed to damage the backplane.

    Drives that had an MTBF and implied that we should have 90%+ in operation 5 years later, yet ALL of them died within 3 years.

    For some reason, management decided to ship with these drives. Our customers paid for it, since several had their storage appliances die from triple drive failures, and in one case, the Federal Reserve had a backup appliance die with a triple drive and backplane power spike. That one was fun to clean up. I had to prepare the replacement for shipping personally, after a 3 day test to confirm stability. I also had to take a picture of every drive to show there were no Toshiba drives in the unit before they would accept it.

    It was embarrassing and badly hurt my company's credibility. I will not trust Toshiba enterprise drives again, specifically because of this experience.
  • ddrіver - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    The internet is alight with reports of the Intel CPU bug and here is Anandtech reporting on Toshiba SAS HDDs... As if more proof was needed as to in who's pocket does their journalistic integrity sits.
  • jordanclock - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    Really? Anandtech posts a press release for a Toshiba drive so you're calling their integrity into question?

    You live a sad, miserable life posting on a site you despise every day. You're not making any actual points, just snide comments that one would expect from the average neckbeard of the internet. I don't get why the editors continue to let you post here, but I guess that speaks more about their integrity than any press release would.
  • ddrіver - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    I don't think you got it but it's forgiven because you seem new here: they post all kinds of updates on every little piece of uninteresting news EXCEPT the biggest news of the beginning of this year. The one about the Intel CPU bug.

    AT always has a way of delaying any bad news about Intel while flooding you with good articles and reviews as soon as Intel launches something. Every site out there reported on this, some of them wrote lengthy articles full of technical details.

    Now what do you call a man who jumps to conclusions without making any effort to understand what this is about? Other than a jordanclock I mean.
  • StevoLincolnite - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    Or Anandtech might be doing a thorough investigation and wishes to get all their facts right before reporting on the CPU bug.

    Anandtech has typically lagged behind other outlets, but their article quality tends to be more indepth, accurate and generally superior.
  • Spunjji - Thursday, January 4, 2018 - link

    You might want to look at Ars Technica to see how quality /and/ speed can be done.
  • rpg1966 - Thursday, January 4, 2018 - link

    I'm not so sure about that any more. I often read quite superficial articles on Ars, then need to come somewhere else (often here) to get the technical details over and above the press-release level stuff that Ars often posts these days.
  • StevoLincolnite - Thursday, January 4, 2018 - link

    It's been posted now. So people can stop complaining.
  • Hurr Durr - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    Come on, hypetane histrionics are entertaining!
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    It's amazing how things like this happen, almost as if the person who posts news about new products, and the people who do in depth articles about major technical issues are separate people.

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