The current reigning StorageReview.com 10k rpm champion is the IBM Ultrastar 18ZX. Though the IBM drive features a hefty 4 megabyte buffer, the Cheetah 18LP features higher areal density and a resulting higher transfer rate. Even in the absence of concrete figures, I'd put my money on the higher transfer rate.
As it turns out, the Cheetah 18LP does indeed oust the Ultrastar 18ZX to earn the title of the "fastest drive ever tested at StorageReview.com." In the Business Disk WinMark test run in Windows 95, the Cheetah outperforms the Ultrastar by a margin of 6%. High-End Disk WinMark tests show the Seagate triumphing over the IBM by a more substantial 11%. Tests under Windows NT 4.0 show the margins narrowing to 5% and 8% on the Business and High-End tests respectively.
Under ThreadMark 2.0, the Cheetah 18LP torches the Ultrastar 18ZX. The Windows 95 tests peg the Cheetah higher by a margin of 27%. The difference increases under Windows NT, with the Cheetah placing an impressive 38% higher than the IBM drive.
Subjectively, the Seagate drive operated slightly quieter than its predecessor. Though the 10k rpm whine was just as present, seek times were slightly subdued. They were still quite noticeable, nonetheless. Despite the "Just In Time" technology, the disk does run hot to the touch outside a drive cooler. Do yourself a favor and invest in a cooler if you insist on this 10k beast.
As expected, the Cheetah 18LP delivers unprecedented performance. The drive sets new marks in all six of our major benchmark categories (excluding the non-shipping "concept drive," the Hitachi Pegasus), a feat that has not been accomplished since, well, the Cheetah 9LP . As has been par for the course, this Cheetah generates quite a bit of noise and heat. If you're looking for a quiet drive, this isn't the one for you. For those of you looking for the fastest drive around, this Cheetah is the fastest SR has tested up to this point. Contenders from Fujitsu and Quantum imminently loom, but as of right now, the Cheetah holds the belt.