For those readers still interested, the above graphs outline the Fireball Plus LM's performance in our original testbed
. The Business and High-End Disk WinMark scores for the Quantum fall right in line with those turned in by Maxtor's unit, the disparity in both cases less than 2%.
In NT 4.0, the Plus 40 pulls away, with the LM clocking in with #'s about 10% less. It's interesting to note that while the Business Disk WinMark result is relatively the same between NT with the Old Testbed and Win2k with the New System, the margins are rather different in the High-End. Win2k with a 700 MHz processor turns out similar High-End scores for both the Maxtor and Quantum. NT4 with a 266 MHz processor, however, does not. Though some may attribute the disparity to differences in the OS, it may also indicate that WinBench99 scores don't always scale proportionately between drive models as processor speed increases.
Despite its "Quiet Drive Technology," the Fireball Plus LM's seeks are a bit more noticeable than those of the DiamondMax Plus 40. This can be expected to some extent: it's simply the price one pays for swift access. The drive runs slightly warm to the touch in our new testbed. Active cooling is not necessary in most situations.
Overall, the Fireball Plus LM delivers the most impressive performance we've yet measured from an ATA drive. Many readers have undoubtedly noticed SCSI's rise to prominence during StorageReview.com's recent "realignment" during our 2nd anniversary series. The Fireball Plus LM, however, goes to show that when given the proper mechanics, an ATA drive can keep up with similar SCSI units. Compare the LM to, say, Quantum's own Atlas V. While featuring similar data densities, the Atlas V boasts an impressive 10.4 millsecond access time. Under a Workstation Access Pattern, the LM actually comes out on top under lighter Loads. Even when the Load gets heavier, the LM trails by far less than many would believe.
The bottom line? Though the term is certainly an overused cliché, the Fireball Plus LM's "SCSI-like" performance allows it to topple the Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 40 to claim the coveted 7200rpm SR Leaderboard slot. As long as you can live with 30 gigs of capacity or less in a single drive, the LM is the ATA drive to get!