The situation with the pair of Medalist Pro drives is similar to that of the Fireball SEís: the ATA version is a bit faster. The gaps under Windows 95 were slight, ranging from 5-8% in WinBench. Under Windows NT, considered by many to be a "SCSI stronghold" of sorts, the gap actually widened, in one case up to 17%. Threadmark, another supposedly SCSI-friendly benchmark, placed the SCSI Medalist 8% behind that of the ATA drive under Windows 95. Itís only under Threadmark/WinNT that the two drives finished on par with each other.
Iíd like to take an opportunity here to once again highlight relative CPU utilization between the two interfaces. Thereís a common belief still rampant that SCSI devices burden the CPU less than their ATA counterparts. This is untrue. It may have been true that busmastering SCSI was a much more mature technology than busmastering ATA. Enabling DMA (busmastering) transfers for ATA drives takes more work (especially under Windows NT) than using DMA SCSI. Even so, once enabled, busmastering reduces CPU utilization of both interfaces equally. Neither interface has an advantage here.
Letís take a quick moment to compare the Medalist Pro SCSI to a more direct competitor, say, the Quantum Viking II. Though a tad more expensive, the Viking is backed by a longer, 5-year warranty. It also provides a bit better performance, leading the Seagate drive by about 11% under WinBench/95 and 6-18% under WinBench/NT. Similar results occur with an IBM Ultrastar 9ES Ė Medalist Pro SCSI comparison.
The SCSI version of the Medalist Pro operates almost as hotly as its ATA brother, which means itís hotter than both the Viking II and the Ultrastar 9ES. You definitely want a roomy, well ventilated case to house this one. Drive cooler recommended (as it is for most SCSI drives). Acoustically speaking, the drive is just as quiet as the ATA unit. The fluid bearings keep idle noise to a minimum, while seeks are fairly unobtrusive. Itís a bit quieter than the Viking II, but slightly louder when seeking than the 9ES.
I (and Anand Shimpi, who reprinted the article on his site) received quite a bit of flack from the Fireball SE article. Some of the protests were quite lame ("UltraDMA has a maximum transfer rate of 33 MB/sec, Ultra SCSI, 20 MB/sec. Of course the ATA version will be faster!", while some where quite valid ("What if you wanted to use more than 2 hard drives?". Most people who wrote in regarding the article seemed to overlook this quote: "Its very difficult to draw further conclusions to apply to ATA vs SCSI in general, however. The only thing we can infer from the results is that the SCSI version of the Fireball SE is a poor-performing SCSI drive." Similar situation here. The Medalist Pro SCSI probably performed poorly not because SCSI is a snail-like interface, but because its implementation of SCSI is not up to snuff. Regarding the Medalist Pro strictly as a budget SCSI drive, my opinion is mixed. Though its slightly less expensive than the competition, you simply get faster performance and a longer warranty with the Viking II or Ultrastar 9ES. Unless you can get the Seagate for significantly less, youíd be better off with the Quantum or IBM.