As expected, the ST36530A’s performance is similar to that of the 9.1 gig version. Note the higher inner-track ("Disk/Read Transfer Rate – End) transfer rate of the 6530A when compared to that of the 9140A. The 6530A’s faster showing there along with the lower seek time lead us to believe that the inner most tracks of each platter are being left unused. This parallels the situation in Maxtor’s DiamondMax 2880 line, where the jumps between drive sizes are smaller than the amount of data one disk side (1440 megs) holds. Thus, the SR database will list this drive’s areal density
as 2.3 gigs per platter, since this most likely is accurate in reflecting the density of the used portion of the platters
Overall performance of the 6530A when compared to the DiamondMax 2880 5.7gb drive is quite similar, with only Win95’s WinMark tests showing a greater than 5% gap (the nod going to the Medalist pro: 9% faster in Business, 6% faster in the high-end).
Noise wise, the 6530A is identical to the 9140A. There’s no noticeable sound at idle, thanks to the drive’s unique fluid-based bearings. The absence of the metal-on-metal contact of ball bearings eliminates even the slightest high-pitched whine that plagues other drives with high spindle speeds. Seek noise is also similar to the larger MP, a hollow metallic sound not unlike that of the IBM Ultrastar 9LP.
Heat! How hot is the drive? Running in a drive cooler, the unit runs fairly cool, a marked change from the 9140A that we tested earlier. Outside of a cooler, the drive runs quite warm. In our particular test bed case (a very roomy, server-style enclosure) the heat is manageable. This is in a 5.25" bay with no drives above or below it. Mounted in a 3.5" bay in a crowded mini-tower, however, I’m not so sure. Make no mistake, this drive is definitely hotter than all other ATA drives, save only the larger 9140A.
In conclusion, this Medalist Pro 36530A provides excellent ATA performance with a bit less temperature than than the larger 9.1GB unit we tested. Whether these results are peculiar only to our experiences or translate across Seagate’s line in general are undetermined. In any case, the drive still runs significantly warmer than other ATA offerings. The 7200rpm Medalist Pro series –does- provide top Windows 95 performance if you can’t justify the transition to the highest-speed SCSI drives. Under NT, however, the DiamondMax meets and often exceeds the MP’s performance, and at a lower price to boot. This, again, while running quite cool.