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Maxtor's DiamondMax 4320 91728D8 Revisited

  December 23, 1998 Author: Eugene Ra  
See also our Summer 1999 ATA Drive Roundup.
See also Maxtor DiamondMax 4320 91728D8
Evaluation unit provided by Maxtor Corp.

Towards the beginning of October, StorageReview.com took a look at the DiamondMax 4320. Just like it's 7200rpm brother, the DiamondMax Plus 2500, we found the 4320 to be at the top of its class. Only a couple weeks later, we (finally) posted our review of the Quantum Fireball EX, finding that the drive gave even the Plus 2500 a run for its money. Finally, rumbles can be heard from Western Digital, who, for the first time in a while, mentioned comparative performance in the press release for the Caviar AC313000.

Since our original review, Maxtor has tweaked the 4320 a bit and claims that the figures posted in our original evaluation do not accurately represent the drives being shipped to users. Physical specifications have been held constant, implying that the optimizations are electronic/firmware in nature.

As we can see from the tables below, the modifications yield WinBench 98 figures between four and ten percent greater than the "pre-production evaluation unit" tested earlier. The 4320 now runs neck-to-neck with and in some cases even surpasses both the Fireball EX and Plus 2500. NT ThreadMark results remained the same. Curiously, however, ThreadMark results under Windows 95 actually regressed, dropping nearly 10%.

Though Quantum's (then) latest offering may have outshined it, the DiamondMax 4320 nevertheless provided solid performance. In its revised form, the 4320 delivers WinBench 98 figures every bit as high as the Fireball EX and Plus 2500. As an aside, we've been noticing that WB98 is starting to show its age. It seems that both hardware and software developers are finding ways to tweak for the benchmark that may not necessarily translate into increases in many practical applications. This is nothing against Maxtor; extensive use in both my own and the webmaster's systems have proven the 4320 to be a swift performer. A quick look at the bottom of the page will show WinBench 99 figures for the 4320. Though they exist in a virtual vacuum at the moment (comparable only with the [gulp] Hitachi Pegasus), these figures will soon be comparable to those of many drives to be tested in the near future. The next one, WD's latest Caviar, is right around the corner ;).

Hard Drive Physicals
Drive and Capacity Maxtor DiamondMax 4320 (17.2 GB ATA-33)
Model Designation 91728D8
Spindle Speed 5400 RPM
GB per Platter 4.3 GB
Seek Time 9.0 ms
Buffer Size 512 KB

Ziff Davis WinBench 98
Benchmark Windows 95, OSR 2.1 using FAT32 Windows NT 4.0 using NTFS
Production Pre-release Production Pre-release
Business Disk WinMark 98 (KB/sec) 1648 1502 2052 1960
Spread Sheet / Database (KB/sec) 1528 1434 1904 1770
WordPerfect (KB/sec) 1956 1776 2208 2082
Publishing (KB/sec) 1492 1380 1960 1946
Browsers (KB/sec) 1868 1500 2526 2396
Task Switching (KB/sec) 2970 2858 3104 2986
High-End Disk WinMark 98 (KB/sec) 4730 4438 5364 4930
AVS/Express 3.1 (KB/sec) 2922 2564 3258 2824
Frontpage 97 (KB/sec) 3868 3620 4594 4158
Microstation 95 (KB/sec) 8514 7340 10590 9644
Photoshop 4.0 (KB/sec) 4300 4442 4370 4072
Premiere 4.2 (KB/sec) 8810 8732 8996 8574
PV-Wave 6.1 (KB/sec) 3070 3016 3862 3828
Visual C++ 5.0 (KB/sec) 11020 9680 11640 10220
Disk/Read Random Access (ms) 16.3 15.9 15.5 15.1
Disk/Read Transfer Rate  
Beginning (KB/sec) 14080 14100 15600 15500
End (KB/sec) 9450 9448 9428 9358
Disk/Read CPU Utilization 10.92 11.00 6.41 6.45
Transfer Rate (KB/sec) 14161 14107 15539 15409
KB/sec per 1% CPU Utilization (KB/sec) 1297 1282 2424 2389

Adaptec ThreadMark 2.0
Benchmark Windows 95, OSR 2.1 using FAT32 Windows NT 4.0 using NTFS
Production Pre-release Production Pre-release
Data Transfer Rate (MB/sec) 6.36 7.03 9.92 9.98
Average CPU Utilization 24.73 27.96 16.77 17.03
KB/sec per 1% CPU Utilization (KB/sec) 257 251 592 586

Ziff Davis WinBench 99
Benchmark Windows 95, OSR 2.1 using FAT32 Windows NT 4.0 using NTFS
Business Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 2997 3740
High-End Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 8843 10467
AVS/Express 3.4 (KB/sec) 5070 9787
FrontPage 98 (KB/sec) 35967 42600
MicroStation SE (KB/sec) 8960 13633
Photoshop 4.0 (KB/sec) 6620 5923
Premiere 4.2 (KB/sec) 7490 8970
Sound Forge 4.0 (KB/sec) 11967 10567
Visual C++ 5.0 (KB/sec) 11567 10500
Disk/Read Transfer Rate  
Beginning (KB/sec) 15500 15600
End (KB/sec) 9950 9950
Disk Access Time (msec) 16.17 15.73
Disk CPU Utilization 5.31 2.46
* Note: Threadmark 2.0 and WinBench98 test results are the average of five trials.
WinBench99 test results are the average of three trials.


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