Look at it this way. You have 128 requests in a sorted queue. On average, each seek is going to be over about 1/128th of the platter surface. About 0.8%. Completely random seeks are going to average a distance of ~50% of the platter surface. The completely random seek time for this drive is about 8ms. The track to track is ~0.8ms according to the manufacturer's specs. Seeking over 0.8% of the platter surface is going to take a lot closer to the track to track seek time than to the completely random seek time.
The elevator algorithm basically takes you from the worst case, totally random 8ms per request time, down closer to the 0.8ms track to track seek time. That's the whole purpose of the elevator algorithm, and it works no matter how large your dataset is in relation to system ram.
Each read/write total on the affected tracks is going to get you 4k of read and 4k of write, for a total of 8k per track. 128 seeks at, 0.8ms per seek works out to 0.1 seconds for a pass over the surface. And 128 requests at 8k r/w per request works out to ~10mb/s. Now, I might should have included an extra 1/120th second to account for an extra rotation of the platter between read and write. It really all depends upon exactly what the random r/w benchmark is doing. If we do that now, we get 5MB/s.
What vmstat is showing is 600k/s - 1000k/s read. And about 2k/s write. You don't think that's odd? And doesn't it seem odd that increasing the record size by 4x increases the throughput by 60+ times. (Again, I stopped the 4k test after 45 minutes and am basing that, optimistically, upon the vmstat numbers, so the reality is uncertain. The 16k record Mixed Workload test takes 2.5 minutes to complete.)
At any rate, the Mixed Workload test is *not* a random read/write benchmark. Somewhere Dave got the idea that it said it was when it started. But it does not. And that does not even make sense in light of the *name* of the benchmark. Unfortunately, the man page for iozone is of little help. It just says it's a "Mixed Workload".
I get similar results when running Mixed Workload with 4k records on the server rather than the desktop machine.
Are you beginning to appreciate the puzzle now? I've tried to make it as clear as possible. If I have not been clear enough on any particular point, please let me know and I will explain further.