Yes, lowlevel performance has been downplayed for a while now, but there should still be a limit to how little performance a drive manufacturer can pull out of the raw numbers a drive can produce. You can't judge the performance of a car simply by looking at HP numbers, but if a car has 400HP and records a 0-60 time of 11 seconds, people are going to be left scratching their head thinking what on earth did the engineers do to mess up the potential of that car so much?
Absolute difference? Not much. However, if it's 45% better than the previous leader, with the 3rd fastest access time measurement to date, I certainly expect relative performance that is better than 40-60% slower than the previous generation competition in workstation performance which supposedly stresses localized access patterns which should benefit from the extreme STR numbers. This drive lost 4 out of 5 single user marks to the 250GB Samsung Spinpoint 120 (14.3ms, 71.3MB/s-41.5MB/s). I don't care how much you want to minimize the impact of lowlevel performance, that's embarrassing. No wonder Seagate bought Maxtor. Give this drive to Maxtor or Fujitsu engineers I bet they would have extracted significantly better performance out of it.
Is this drive going to have a desktop and server mode like the 15k.4?