The DiamondMax 3400 performed, well, like a big DiamondMax 2880. A quick check using the Storage Review database shows that the performance of the 3400 and the 2880 series all fall within a tight 3% margin, with only the Threadmark 95 spread pushing the limit to a whopping 4%
. Due to both the size and uniformity of the differences, itís quite possible that they are attributable only to tolerances within drive manufacturing. Though the 2880 was on top, itís just as likely that the situation would have ended up reversed.
The relationship between the two drives follows a trend set by the Deskstar 5/Deskstar8 and the Western Digital Caviar AC36400/AC38400. Within each pair, the larger drive performed negligibly faster than the smaller unit despite the formerís increased areal density.
Keep in mind that 2880-like performance is nothing to sneeze at. Until IBMís Deskstar 14GXP and Maxtorís own DiamondMax Plus 2500 came along, the 2880 was the fastest ATA drive around. Sure, itís a little disappointing to see areal density increases have no performance impact here, but apparently such things will happen occasionally .
Remember also that areal density improvements are the primary reason for ever-higher capacities and ever-lower prices. Weíre always happy to see it increase!
The 3400 overall is a competent drive. If youíre looking for the ultimate in ATA performance, youíll have to turn to the slightly-more-expensive-per-megabyte Plus 2500 series. If capacity per dollar is your concern, though, the 3400 should be on your short-list. But the DiamondMax 2880 should remain too. Between the two, get whichever gives you more capacity for the money.