Like the ill-fated WD205AA, the newest Caviar explores new frontiers in 5400rpm performance. Comparisons with the DiamondMax 40 yield favorable results. In Windows 95, for example, the WD leads the Maxtor by margins of 13% and 9% respectively in the Business and High-End Disk WinMarks. The Caviar maintains its edge, albeit slight, in Windows NT, an OS that's traditionally Maxtor territory. Here the Caviar slides by the DiamondMax by 6% in the Business WinMark and an unnoticeable 1% in High-End tests.
ThreadMark results, however, place the WD307AA behind the DiamondMax 40. The WD trails the Maxtor by 18% under Windows 95. The gap narrows to 10% in NT.
Noise-wise, the WD307AA is unobtrusive. Our sample seems a hair louder than the DiamondMax 40, which, quite simply, means it's still darn quiet. As has been the case for virtually all 5400rpm drives, heat is a non-issue.
Overall, the Caviar WD307AA follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, establishing new heights in 5400rpm speed. Hopefully (and there's no reason to believe that this won't be the case) this new Caviar won't suffer the same beatings to its image that the 205AA. If you're looking for the largest drive around, however, the Caviar's 31 gigs, while certainly nothing to sneeze at, falls short of larger offerings from Maxtor and IBM. Even so, though new drive models from several other major manufacturers are pending, for now WD's entry is the performance champ.