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In the past, no one can answer the performance difference as they are not well documented. Now AWS offer Provisioned IOPS EBS volumes

Let say you now you buy 1000 IOPS, how does this value compare to the performance of a single 7200 RPM SATA disk?

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closed as too localized by Chris S Oct 23 '12 at 14:57

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Do you have a 7200 RPM SATA disk? –  Michael Hampton Oct 23 '12 at 14:55
    
Sorry, but the "value" of various service offerings is something only you can evaluate for your particular situation. –  Chris S Oct 23 '12 at 14:58

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IOPS gives ballpark figures for a 7200 RPM drive of ~75-100 IOPS.

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