The Maxtor DiamondMax 40 is the successor to the DiamondMax 36, a drive that, strangely enough, has not yet been reviewed at StorageReview.com. Through a series of factors that we have yet to understand, Maxtor has delivered us an evaluation unit of the DiamondMax 40 before we've even gotten our hands on the DiamondMax 36. The DM40's 10.2 gigabytes per platter (!), however, delivers a platter capacity that seems to be standard across the lines of drives forthcoming from all major manufacturers.
As has always been the case, it's the 5400rpm drives that are mashing more and more data onto a single platter. The 5400rpm DiamondMax 40's 10.2 gigs per platter is an amazing 500% increase over what was state of the art just two years ago. Combined with Maxtor's 4-disk assembly, the DiamondMax 40 weighs in at an amazing 41 gigs.
Seek times, on the other hand, seem to be stuck in somewhat of a rut. With the exception of a couple 7200rpm drives that have dared to explore the depths below, ATA seek times have remained within the nine millisecond range during the same two year period. The DiamondMax 40's 9.0 millisecond access time does little to break this mold.
Though Maxtor wasn't the first to set the new standard, the DiamondMax 40 is equipped with a now-mundane two megs of buffer. The DM40 sports Maxtor's DualWave processor, an architecture which claims to reduce command overhead by 90%. A three-year warranty protects the drive.
As we've done with all other ATA-66 drives, the DiamondMax 40 was tested using Promise's Ultra66 controller. The ATA-66 DiamondMax 40 does not work properly with our old-bios (kept old to control variables) LX-based motherboard. Though this shouldn't be an issue with most motherboards these days, Maxtor provides a utility to force the drive into ATA-33 operation. No loss of performance would occur should this be necessary.