Since its absorption of Quantum last winter, Maxtor's ATA product line has been uncharacteristically quiet. Competitors such as Seagate and Western Digital have been pressing forward with ever-higher densities on the 7200 RPM front. Meanwhile, Maxtor has rested with the 20 GB/platter DiamondMax Plus 60. On the 5400 RPM side of things, Maxtor's released its 40 GB/platter 540DX series as well as a stab at being the first at 100 GB with the 536DX. Anyone who has observed the industry for a while knows not to underestimate the largest of independent drive manufacturers; in this potential calm before the storm, however, let's turn our sights towards Maxtor's largest drive.
At its odd 33 GB/platter configuration, the 536DX sits as the odd man out in Maxtor's product line... introduced alongside the 40 GB/platter 540DX series, the 536DX is actually the first from the manufacturer to hit 100 GB. The 536 has its roots in Quantum's Fireball series which explains its relatively awkward positioning and release alongside a similar product line. Maxtor specifies seek times at a rather sedate 11 milliseconds. A standard two-megabyte buffer rounds out the drive.
This 5400 RPM drive targets market segments requiring large amounts of mass storage where cost precedes performance. The 536DX would be at home in a system serving as a repository for data or other archival purposes. Maxtor backs the drive with a three-year warranty.
Maxtor drives typically ship with acoustic management (quiet mode) enabled. Further, out of box, these drives verify writes until the drive powers up for the eleventh time. To maximize performance measures, both acoustic management and write verification were disabled.
The 536DX 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.