IBM generated much buzz with the announcement of its 15 GB/platter Deskstar 75GXP. As is often the case, Big Blue's drive was ahead of the competition. Unusually, however, folks were actually able to buy the drive well before the competition matched its specs. Announced alongside the 75GXP was the 5400 RPM Deskstar 40GV. IBM had sat out of the previous 10 GB/platter and even 15 GB/platter announcements in favor of delivering the world's first 20 GB/platter disk.
The 40GV is somewhat of a new beast to IBM. Big Blue seems to have given the "value market" a nod with this newest 5400 RPM drive. Previous IBM entries dating all the way back to the 16GP featured flagship units that packed 5 platters into a single 1" high low-profile design. Over the years, this unique configuration enabled the manufacturer to deliver capacities that exceeded the competition. In a somewhat puzzling move, this time around IBM declined the opportunity to combine 20 GB/platter with its industry-leading 5-disk design, forfeiting the right to the "world's first 100 GB drive."
This Deskstar features just two platters in its flagship design that yield a capacity of 40 gigabytes. 40 gigs is nothing to sneeze at. However, with companies such as Maxtor forging ahead with capacities of up to 80 gigs in a single drive, its strange that IBM, out of pride if nothing else, hasn't felt the need to "keep up." The 40GV's other features are similarly budget-minded. Specified seek time is a leisurely 9.5 milliseconds. The drive's buffer is just 512k, a bit smaller than the 2 meg standard that we're used to these days. Despite the drive's value status, however, a full three-year warranty protects the unit.
Let's take a look at how the 40GV's low-level measurements stack up.