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Fujitsu Desktop 10 MPC3102AT

  November 19, 1998 Author: Eugene Ra  
Evaluation unit provided by Dirt Cheap Drives
See also our Summer 1998 ATA Drive Roundup

Fujitsu's line of ATA drives got off to a rather inauspicious start in the Storage Review's original 6.4GB ATA drive roundup. The MPB3064AT, Fuji's 6.4 gig unit, finished last in both the Business and High-End Disk WinMarks. Since then, Fujitsu has released its MPC series of ATA drives, available in both 5400rpm and 7200rpm versions. Here we'll take a look at the 5400rpm version.

Unlike some of the competition, Fujitsu's current design limits its drives to only 3 platters each. With 3.4 gigs per platter, this results in a flagship design of 10.2 gigs. Though ATA seeks times aren't falling through the floor, like those of their SCSI counterparts (they've seemed to be stuck in the 9ms range for quite some time), the Desktop 10's rated seek time of 10 milliseconds seems a bit pokey. The drive is equipped with a 256k buffer and backed by an industry standard 3-year warranty.

Installation into the Storage Review's standard testbed was painless. Previously, the only Fujitsu IDE drive tested by SR was the MPB3064AT in the 6.4 gig ATA roundup. Thus, we've never had the opportunity to let Fuji's ATA drives strut their stuff under NT. Now things have changed .

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Benchmark results for the Deskstop 10 were, unfortunately, disappointing. Performance wise, the Fuji simply can't keep up with the competition. When compared to leading 5400rpm drives such as the Quantun Fireball EX, the Deskstop 10 lagged by as much as 25%. The drive was a bit disappointing under NT as well, trailing by similar margins. Under both operating systems, in WinBench 98 and ThreadMark 2.0, the Fuji simply didn't keep up with the leading competition.

Performance aside, the drive was aesthetically a strong performer. Following the trends set by other Fujitsu disks, the Desktop 10 is among the quietest of drives currently available. Further, as expected from a 5400rpm drive, operation was thermally quite cool. The disk should have no problems even in a cramped case.

Though I found myself pulling for the Desktop 10 (another major contender in the ATA race would be great!), it's hard to recommend. The drive is priced similarly to the competition, but offers substandard performance. Sure, the drive is quiet and cool, but these descriptions apply to many other 5400rpm drives as well. So, Fuji's coup doesn't occur this time around. Fuji does have an MPD series in the works however. In addition bringing the expected platter density increase (up to 4.3 gigs/platter), the MPD series will feature a 4 platter design with seek time shaved to 9 milliseconds - a design that sounds a bit more in line with the competition. Perhaps this "Desktop 17" will give the other drive companies reason to look over their shoulders. Until then though, you're best off with the competition.

Fujitsu Desktop 10 MPC3102AT
Estimated Price: $250
Specifications
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* Note: All reported test results are the average of five trials.


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