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 ;).