Once again, Quantum's Viking series outperforms the more expensive Atlas. The Viking II outperformed the Atlas III in WinBench 98 under Windows 95 by margins of 16-23%. Under NT, the disparity shrank, but was still a substantial 13-20%. ThreadMark results for the two Quantum drives were similar, the Viking scoring negligibly higher in Win95 while the Atlas posted a similarly irrelevant lead under NT.
It's also interesting to compare the Viking II with the IBM's entry level SCSI offering, the ever-popular Ultrastar 9ES. In WinBench 98 under both operating systems, the Viking managed to keep parity with or even beat the 9ES in almost all areas. Further, the Viking didn't suffer from the IBM's poor ThreadMark showings, posting solid, respectable scores in both Windows operating systems.
Though I ran the tests in a drive cooler, brief use outside of a cooling unit proved that the Viking II runs relatively cool for a 7200rpm SCSI unit. Like the Atlas III, it can be easily incorporated into a well-ventilated system without active cooling. The noise of the drive was a little perplexing. There was virtually no high-pitched squeal. Rather, there's a more midrange type whine, slightly rough or scratchy in nature, that's constantly present as the disk spins. It was very noticeable the first time I powered up the drive. Eventually, I became acclimated to the sound, unique as it was. Seek noise of the drive was similar to the Atlas III's- definitely noticeable, but still a class below the churning that one gets from the Seagate drives.
All in all, I'm happy to report that Quantum continues its tradition by offering excellent performance at a reasonable price with its Viking series. Once again the entry-level series outperforms the higher-priced Atlas III while comparing quite favorably to the IBM Ultrastar 9ES. It doesn't boast the quiet operation that the 9ES offers, but it does offer more robust performance. Although its hard to make a final proclamation with Seagate's SCSI Medalist Pro waiting in the wings, as of now, the Viking II is my entry-level SCSI drive of choice.