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Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 60 5T060H6
  January 19, 2001 Author: Eugene Ra  

Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 60 Available Capacities
Model Number
Capacity
5T060H6
60.5 GB
5T040H4
40.9 GB
5T030H3
30.7 GB
5T020H2
20.4 GB
5T010H1
10.2 GB
Estimated Flagship Price: $289 (60 GB)
Evaluation unit provided by Maxtor Corp.


Introduction

Maxtor's announcement last summer of the DiamondMax Plus 45 surprised more than a few readers. Everyone was, after all, expecting a DiamondMax Plus 60... a drive featuring four 15 GB platters to rival the IBM Deskstar 75GXP in capacity. As it turned out, the precision required to maintain a four head design with these ultra-high densities was infeasible. Thus, like almost every other manufacturer, Maxtor turned in the towel and proceeded with a three-platter flagship design. The result was the DiamondMax Plus 45... a drive that delivered just 5 gigs more capacity than its successor.

Maxtor, however, tends to hit every major areal density point. Their release of a 15 GB/platter drive, for example, doesn't mean Maxtor won't participate in the 20 GB/platter round. And indeed they are: the subject of this review is the long-awaited Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 60. Long-awaited? Why yes... some were expecting this review far sooner . And many expected the DM+60 from Maxtor last summer, no less.

As is the case with all drives in the DiamondMax Plus series, the DM+60 features a 7200 RPM spindle speed. It houses up to three 20 gig platters, producing a flagship capacity of up to 60 gigs. Like its predecessor, the DM+60 is spec'ed with an 8.7 millisecond seek time. A three-year warranty backs the drive.

Like all recent DiamondMax drives, the DM+60 features a toggle that allows the drive to run in "quiet mode," "quiet-performance mode," and a mode with quiet mode completely disabled. Our tests were run in the latter configuration. Further, performing an excess of ten cold boots before commencing tests disabled the factory-default write-verification... Maxtor's utility, for some reason, was unable to do so.

The DM+60 ships exclusively with an ATA-100 interface. Remember, since ATA drives have yet to break sequential transfer rates greater than even 45 MB/sec that ATA-66 (and in many cases, even ATA-33) interfaces will run a drive with optimal performance. Our testbed remains equipped with a Promise Ultra66 controller.


WB99/Win2k Low-Level Measurements

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Click here to examine the STR graph for this drive

The DiamondMax Plus 60 produces an average access time of 13.1 milliseconds. Subtracting rotational latency from this figure yields a seek time of 8.9 milliseconds... not bad, and closer to specification than we've seen in a while. It should be noted, however, that the DM+60's access time clocks in slightly higher than its predecessor... the DiamondMax Plus 45 managed a 12.9 ms figure.

Sequential transfer rates top out at 38.4 MB/sec in the outer zone. Though this trumps the IBM Deskstar 75GXP, a long-time champion in this field, it isn't quite enough to match the Seagate Barracuda ATA III, a unit that leads the back with its 40.5 MB/sec score. The DM+60's inner-zone rates come in at a respectable 22.9 MB/sec.


WB99/Win2k WinMarks

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The DiamondMax Plus 60 turns in a Business Disk WinMark score of 8.2 MB/sec, a figure that tops every ATA drive we've tested save only Western Digital's Caviar WD400BB. Maxtor's drive lags the WD by just 2%. In the High-End Disk WinMark, however, the DM+60 edges out the WD400BB with its score of 20.3 MB/sec.


IOMeter Performance

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In our IOMeter Workstation Index (a normalized average of light, medium, and heavy loads), the DiamondMax Plus 60 garners a score of 141.96. While such a score easily tops the Seagate Barracuda ATA III, it falls behind offerings such as Quantum's Fireball Plus AS, Western Digital's Caviar WD400BB, and especially IBM's Deskstar 75GXP.

A IOMeter comparison with the DiamondMax Plus 45 using the StorageReview.com Database yields interesting results. In each access pattern, under every load, the DM+45 comes out on top when compared against the DM+60.


Conclusion

Idle noise is virtually non-existent and should be inaudible over all but the quietest of power supply fans. During heavy activity, seek noise is audible, though unobtrusive. The drive runs cool to the touch after extended heavy use.

Overall, the Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 60 provides formidable competition to the Western Digital Caviar WD400BB when it comes to WinBench performance. Unfortunately, the DM+60's regression in IOMeter scores means it has no chance in keeping up with the WD. To Maxtor's credit, the DM+60 is available in capacities of up to 60 gigs, something matched only by the Quantum Fireball Plus AS (along with the older-generation IBM Deskstar 75GXP). It is, as a result, a drive to consider if you're looking for more than 40 gigs. If not, however, Western Digital's offering is probably a better solution.

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