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Maxtor DiamondMax 2880 91152D8

  March 31, 1998 Author: Eugene Ra  
See also our Summer 1998 ATA Drive Roundup

With all the hoopla dished around about the newly arriving 7200rpm drives, its often easy to overlook the fact that increasing data density can increase throughput speed. Seagate's mighty 7200rpm Medalist Pro has arrived, delivering some impressive benchmark figures. Its interesting to note that while the Seagate drive was announced in October, its just now in March that we're seeing it widely available.

Just a month ago, Maxtor announced its new DiamondMax 2880 series of drives. Since the 2880 is still the same 5400rpm ATA design that we're all familiar with, the press release has been met with a relatively quiet reception. The 3.5" ATA drive does, however, break into some new territory. With the exception of the 5.25" form-factor Quantum Bigfoot TX, the 11.5 gig DiamondMax is the largest currently shipping ATA drive, packing 2.9 gigs of data on each of four platters. The other accompanying specs are rather mundane: 256k buffer, 9.0 millisecond access time, and, of course, the venerable 5400rpm spindle speed.

Maxtor drives, of course, are everywhere. Trot down to your local superstore retailer and gape at the mounds of red boxes behind the counter (not to mention those all those drives that also come in white boxes, but why do they still offer a maximum capacity of only 6.4 gigs? ) The review sample of this drive is a retail-packaged unit purchased from one of these said stores. The kit comes fully equipped with mounting rails, poster documentation, MaxBlast software, and cabling. Like Seagate's new 9.1GB offering, the DiamondMax 91152D8's size exceeds the limit of many older machines which may necessitate the use of the included software.

As usual, ZDBop's WinBench 98 along with Adaptec's Threadmark 2.0 were both run on the unit in Windows 95 OSR 2.1 and Windows NT Workstation 4.0 The drive was partitioned into a single volume of maximum size. The average of 5 trials is presented below.

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The new Maxtor drive posted commendable results on ZD's WinBench 98 under Windows 95, landing somewhere between the IBM Deskstar 8 and the new Seagate 7200rpm ATA drive. Under the other three tests, though, the Maxtor proves an old saying: Size does matter! In Winbench running on Windows NT or in Threadmark running on either operating system, the DiamondMax edged out the Seagate drive. Perusing through Storage Review's Database (what?? You haven't yet? Check it out!), we've noticed that Maxtor Drives tend to perform relatively well in the Task Switching section of the Business Disk WinMark. The 2880's unusually high mark in this area powers the Maxtor's Business WinMark score in NT past that of the Medalist Pro. There may be a correlation between the drive's efficiency in this area and its exceptional ThreadMark scores.

Though it can match the performance of the hot (literally) new Seagate, the Maxtor retains the typical cool operation of other 5400rpm units. The noise created when seeking is similar, with the Maxtor being a hair less audible. The noise floor of a system integrating the Maxtor rather than the Seagate drive will be considerably less, though, it requires no special cooling measure beyond those used with any other ATA drive. Definitely a plus.

By sticking to a cool-running 5400rpm rotational speed, Maxtor has created the ATA speed demon for those of us who prefer to keep the refrigerator in the kitchen. Though it places second in Win95's WinBench 98 to the Medalist Pro ST39140A, the drive claims top honors in every other environment/benchmark combination. Blazing speed along with lack of heat make the drive an ideal alternative to any who were considering the hot-running Seagate. With all our fixation on performance, its easy to forget that to most people, drive capacity is the single most important attribute . In this area, this DiamondMax also delivers with its whopping 11.5 gigs of storage space. Speed and capacity combined with a decent price. What else could you ask for?

Maxtor DiamondMax 91152D8
Estimated Price: $479
Specifications
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* Note: All reported test results are the average of five trials.


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