The latest piece of hardware up for testing at Phoronix is the Seagate ST1000DX001, a 1TB Solid State Hybrid Drive (SSHD) that retails for less than $100 USD. But how well does this 1TB hard drive that has 8GB of MLC flash memory work with Linux? Let's find out.
The Seagate ST1000DX001 offers 1TB of storage and has 8GB of MLC NAND flash memory for its solid-state portion. This Seagate 1TB SSHD has a Serial ATA 3.0 interface with NCQ support, 64MB cache, and a seek average speed of less than 9.5 milliseconds for both reads and writes. The average data read speed overall for the hybrid drive is 156MB/s and the average data read speed from the NAND flash media specifically is 190MB/s.
The Seagate SSHD is designed to operate like a traditional hard drive without needing any special drivers or extra software for managing the hybrid drive. The ST1000DX001 works in a self-optimized mode for determining itself what data to move over to the NAND flash rather than the host-optimized mode of having the operating system determine what data to move to the NAND flash as opposed to the rotating disk. Under Linux, the self-optimized mode should work better due to not requiring any special drivers.
The Seagate ST1000DX001 SSHD is backed by a three year warranty and its currently retail price is $99 USD. Disk drives normally aren't a big focus at Phoronix but having bought this solid-state hybrid drive for one of my other systems, I decided to run some benchmarks on it for those that may be looking at an SSHD rather than investing more money for a SSD. The Seagate SSHD was compared to a Western Digital WD1600JS-00M HDD (160GB; 7200RPM; 8MB Cache), Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS HDD (320GB; 7200RPM; 16MB Cache), OCZ Vertex 2 (60GB SSD), and OCZ Vertex 3 (240GB SSD). It's not the most interesting disk comparison, but should be sufficient for gauging the performance of the Seagate 1TB SSHD under Linux.
You can also install the Phoronix Test Suite and compare your own system's disk performance to the results in this article by running phoronix-test-suite benchmark 1311267-SO-SSHDSSDHD06.
An Intel Core i7 4770K "Haswell" system was used for this test system of the five different disk drives while running Ubuntu 13.10 x86_64 with the Linux 3.12 kernel. All disks were freshly formatted to an EXT4 file-system. All mount options and other operating system settings were using their stock values.