Seagate will this month start shipping its highest performing 3.5-inch hard drive, which it claims has a 28 percent performance increase over its predecessor.

For the sixth generation of its Cheetah 15K.6 drives, Seagate is now using the second generation of perpendicular recording technology, which it first introduced to its 3.5 inch line back in April 2006.

Perpendicular recording technology involves placing magnetised areas on disk vertically in the recording layer instead of longitudinally. It means more data can be recorded in the same space.

The Cheetah 15K.6 drives will be available in 147GB, 300GB, and 450GB capacities, rotating at 15,000rpm, and comes with a choice of Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) or Fibre Channel, making it suitable for 3.5-inch SAN, NAS, and other transactional processing and internet applications.

Besides the performance claims for the Cheetah 15K.6 drive, Seagate also says that it consumes significantly less power, thanks to the inclusion of its PowerTrim technology, which dynamically optimises drive power consumption at all levels of activity.

"The Cheetah 15K.6 drive lowers idle and operational power requirements from its prior generation - as much as 61 percent in watts/GB - while increasing overall sustained data transfer rates by 28 percent at 164MB/s," the company said.

Reliability is also enhanced, with Seagate claiming a mean time between failures (MTBF) of 1.6 million hours. The drives are sold with a five-year warranty.

A Seagate spokesman told Techworld that the 15K.6 will in time replace the Cheetah 15K.5 enterprise hard drive, which will be phased out over the coming months. But this will be "largely dependent on the requirements of our customers."

Hewlett-Packard said it is planning to use the new Cheetah in its SAN storage systems, as have other server suppliers such as Super Micro Computer.