Frankly, the Seagate Medalist ST317242A delivers rather uninspiring performance. As a 5400rpm 4.3 GB/platter, the Medalist is best compared to the champion of the category, the Maxtor DiamondMax 4320
. In Windows 95 tests, the Seagate and Maxtor produce a dead heat in the Business Disk WinMark 99. In the High-End WinMark, the Seagate edges ahead by 4%. Windows NT, however, is where the Medalist falls behind, trailing the DiamondMax by 8% in the Business WinMark and 11% in the High-End test. In ThreadMark 2.0 tests, the Seagate lags behind the Maxtor by margins of 7%-9%.
Like virtually all 5400rpm ATA drives these days, the Medalists operation is quiet. There's virtually no idle noise, while seeks are subdued and unobtrusive. The drive operates just mildly warm to the touch outside a drive cooler, allowing for easy integration into just about any system.
The Medalist ST317242A is a disappointing offering from the industry's largest manufacturer. The drive dubbed as the "fastest desktop drive Seagate has ever built" barely keeps up with the venerable DiamondMax 4320, let alone the 5400rpm leaders from WD and IBM. Not that the 4320 should apologize for performing like the Medalist: the Maxtor drive is an 8 month-old design that these days is correctly being marketed to segments seeking lower-capacity, lower-cost drives. The Medalist, on the other hand, is the latest and greatest ATA unit from an industry leader. We have a right to expect more. Don't throw in the towel on ATA drives, Seagate.