The drive closest spec-wise to the Seagate U8 is the Quantum Fireball lct. Both units feature identical gigs/platter numbers, seek times, and buffer sizes. From a low-level perspective, the U8 offers a 3 MB/sec greater transfer rate
than the lct. The Quantum disk, however, comes back with perhaps a more telling reduction in measured access time
: 14.4ms vs the Seagate's 15.7ms.
In WinBench99 performance tests, the lct is a decisive victor, besting the U8 by similar margins in both Win9x and WinNT. Business Disk WinMarks place the lct ahead by about 9%, while high-end tests suggest a 12%-13% lead. ThreadMark reverses the situation, giving the U8 a small 3%-6% edge.
In the budget-OEM market, low heat and noise levels are arguably more important than raw performance. The U8 is a quiet drive, seeking away unobtrusively. When it comes to temperature, however, the U8 shines. Though some critics question our subjective heat impressions, we can say with complete confidence that the U8 is bar-none the coolest drive we've ever tested. We couldn't feel a difference in temperature between operation and powerdown.
The Seagate U8 isn't a performance leader. It isn't one even when the field is restricted to value-class drives. Then again, performance isn't the end-all when it comes to drives like this. SR caters to a large audience of hardware enthusiasts; our tests have evolved from the desire to pinpoint performance differences between drives. Our test suite, however, is unfair to value units. We run tests and evaluate these drives only to put the differences between value lines and performance units in stark, objective light. This isn't a drive that we'd recommend to the typical SR reader. That's likely not the point, however. The drive's low noise and heat levels combined with Seagate's infrastructure in the OEM market will hopefully allow for great volume sales that will put the drive giant in a position to continue innovation in the performance ATA and especially the SCSI market. Who can argue against that?