Toshiba MG03SCA300 6Gb/s SAS HDD RAID Performance Analysis (Page 1)

Toshiba MG03SCA300 6Gb/s SAS HDD RAID Performance Analysis

Toshiba's 6Gb/s SAS MG03SCA300 3TB HDD has been a mainstay in the lab for several months. Now, we take a closer look at its RAID scaling performance.

| Feb 25, 2014 at 9:00 am CST



The Toshiba MG03SCA is a 3TB 6Gb/s SAS Enterprise HDD that has been the lynchpin of general storage for entry-level server workloads and capacity-intensive Tier 2 networked storage systems. The MG03 series, in both SATA and SAS flavors, has made its way into cloud, file, and object-based storage and disk-to-disk data protection applications.

We initially took a close look at the 4TB SATA variant, the MG03ACA400, in August of last year. This model features a 6Gb/s SATA connection, unlike the SAS model we are testing today, but shares many of the same performance characteristics.

The MG03SCA300 features an MTTF of 1.2 million hours and a load/unload cycle rating of 600,000. This should provide plenty of durability to last through the five-year warranty period, even under the most demanding 24/7 workloads.

One of the hardest aspects of recommending storage products to our readers is that we cannot accurately test reliability specifications. Warranty periods are a good reliability indicator; manufacturers have to place plenty of faith into their product to guarantee it with replacement. However, the nature of product evaluations does not allow us to use every product for an extended period of time. The MG03SCA300 series is actually an exception.

Toshiba allowed us the use of an array of eight of these drives for the last several months. During this time, these drives have been constantly subjected to heavy workloads as we build out our upcoming application testing. These drives have also served as one of our base arrays for several caching articles we have in progress.

The MG03SCA300 spins at 7,200 RPM and features an average latency of 4.17ms. Four 750GB platters hold user data, and a 64MiB FIFO ring buffer provides optimized caching to smooth out performance in heavy random workloads. A sustained transfer rate of 155 MB/s for the 1, 2, and 3TB versions, and 165 MB/s for the 4TB model, keeps it within the same performance envelope of the SATA variants.

Power consumption is always a big concern, especially when storing large amounts of bulk data. The MG03 series consumes 11.3 watts during read/write operations and features a low power idle of 6 watts. The low power idle keeps the drive in a ready state, so it can respond to data requests at any time.

The MG03SCA family of HDDs also features models with a MG03SCP product number. These models feature enhanced encryption capabilities. TT10 Sanitize crypto-erase and TCG-Enterprise SSC protect data and offer the option of wiping the drive in seconds. This can also help during drive retirement or repurposing by providing a fast means of data destruction that does not require the additional, and costly, step of physical destruction.

Today, we will examine the performance of the MG03SCA series utilized in a RAID environment. First, let's take a quick glance at the internals and the specification sheet.

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The quest for benchmark world records led Paul further and further down the overclocking rabbit hole. SSDs and RAID controllers were a big part of that equation, allowing him to push performance to the bleeding edge. Finding the fastest and most extreme storage solutions led to experience with a myriad of high-end enterprise devices. Soon testing SSDs and Enterprise RAID controllers at the limits of their performance became Paul's real passion, one that is carried out through writing articles and reviews.

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