Yes, we've got a new champion here. In its prerelease form, the Pegasus outran the Seagate Cheetah 9LP in most tests. The drive fell just short of breaking 2500 in its Business Disk WinMark 98 figure under Win95, a full 16% increase over the Cheetah. The increase in the High-End WinMark was a bit more modest 10%. The results carried over somewhat to tests under NT, with the Hitachi scoring 13% and 9% higher than the Seagate in the Business and High-End tests respectively. ThreadMark, as usual, presented some interesting results. In Windows 95, the Pegasus actually lagged behind the Cheetah by 14%. Yet in NT, it leapt ahead by a margin of 19%. As usual, however, use in my own personal system once again proved that ZD's WinBench test correlates far more accurately to performance delivered than ThreadMark does.
With a new level in spindle speed, we can expect new frontiers in heat and noise. While being tested in our tesbed's PC Power & Cooling BayCool drive cooler, the drive ran rather cool, just slightly warm to the touch. With the BayCool's fans disabled, the drive ran rather warmly. Interestingly, however, it didn't reach the too-hot-to-touch temp levels delivered by the Cheetah line. Nevertheless, you need a cooler for this drive.
When it comes to noise, the Hitachi is bar-none the loudest drive I've ever used. The high-pitch whine that one expects from high spindle speed it present, though once again a bit less intrusive than the Cheetah drives. Seek noise, however, is in a class of its own. Even twenty feet away at the other end of the room, the drive's seeks churned, rumbled, and rattled away quite loudly. But what did you expect?
Despite its noise, the Pegasus delivers enviable performance. It truly has the potential to be crowned the world's fastest drive. But time and the competition never stand still either. Though it produces record-breaking figures, the Pegasus design in many ways is falling behind the times. The drive's low capacity-per-platter results in the unwieldy 1.6" form factor. That's huge these days for a mere 9 gigs of space. Such areal density also limits what could have been a stellar sequential transfer rate- instead of pushing the envelope here, the Pegasus merely matches the Cheetah 9LP. Keep in mind that other state of the art 10k rpm designs are on the way from Seagate, Quantum, IBM, and even Hitachi itself. I think what we're seeing here is a bit of a "concept car" paradigm. If the drive makes it out the door soon, it can enjoy a short reign of supremacy. If not, it'll merely serve as a research stepping stone to even faster products. Good luck, Hitachi.