I did some googling and came up with some representative links. The take-away is that each new generation of machines for the last 5 years or so has relatively the same or slightly higher power consumption but we went from dual single-core to dual dual-core to dual quad-core and dual hex-core without doubling, quadrupling, octupling power usage. All that power not generating heat also takes a load off cooling which is more power savings.
As far as IO schedulers, elevators help but are no panacea. I think the estimate of 175 IOPS on a 7.2k RPM drive is about right. A 15k RPM drive may get you close to 250 IOPS but that's the limit of spinning rust. An average seek time of 6ms doesn't seem out of whack, it actually sounds pretty good. With perfect elevators if the data isn't immediately adjacent then there is going to be some number of milliseconds of track to track seek time for every IO. The longer IO is delayed so that it can be sorted the more latency is added onto all the requests. In any event a random IO test is going to be the worst possible case for an elevator algorithm.
For example here are the results of a naive model where one has 65535 tracks and a linear track to track seek cost. The first table is random and the second has been sorted by an elevator. In practice with disks there is always an elevator in the drive, in the drive controller, in the OS so you will never see the first access pattern and more sorting isn't going to make the second pattern any better.
More info on actual drive characteristics for better modeling