As expected, performance of the 8.4 gig Fireball was nearly identical to the 6.4GB version reviewed in Round 1 of our ATA vs SCSI investigation. The larger drive posted a tiny 2% gain under WinBench 98 running in Windows 95. Windows 95 ThreadMark scores were identical to the smaller Quantum, meaning that the Fireball SE 8.4 outscored the Maxtor Diamondmax 2160 8.4 and IBM Deskstar 8.4 by a little more than half a megabyte per second. Under Windows NT, the Quantum's ThreadMark results lagged slightly behind the DiamondMax while besting the Deskstar by nearly one MB/sec. The Fireball's Winbench 98 scores under NT was a bit lower than both the other 8.4 gig drives.
Temperature-wise, the drive ran just as cool as both the IBM and Maxtor drives, with the seek noise level being comparable to the Maxtor, i.e., slightly louder than the Deskstar. Like most ATA drives, one should have little problem integrating the Fireball into almost any system.
The Quantum Fireball SE 8.4 gig drive garners a mixed recommendation. Though it performs similarly to the DiamondMax 2160 and the Deskstar 8, and is priced comparably, newer drives from Seagate, Maxtor, and soon IBM seem to make better sense- more performance at the same price level. The Seagate, with its 7200rpm speed, runs a bit hot and may not work in all installations as the Fireball would. Maxtor's DiamondMax 2880 series, however, offers better performance in both Windows 95 and NT, sometimes by a significant margin. Since the DiamondMax 2880 8.4 costs no more than the Fireball, its probably a better choice.