Let's highlight a notable low-level distinction. The DiamondMax Plus 40 is the first ATA drive to exceed 30 MB/sec in sequential transfer rates
. Thus, for applications where STR is clearly dominant, such as video editing, the Plus 40 offers impressive speed combined with prodigious capacity.
Now, let's move on to some high-level figures. For the first time since the release of Seagate's original 7200rpm Medalist Pro, an ATA drive seizes the number one spot in all six major performance categories. Quite simply, this drive smokes!
The Plus 40 is best compared to its predecessor, the DiamondMax Plus 6800. Though our pick of its class, the Plus 6800's claim as the fastest ATA drive around was subjected to quite a bit of scrutiny in our Discussion Forum. The 40, however, has rectified the 6800's weaknesses and then some. WinBench 99 scores under Windows 9x place the 40 ahead by 8% in the Business Disk WinMark and by a hefty 23% in the High-End WinMark. WinBench tests under NT, an area where the 6800 was already king, also show improvement. The 40 again bests the 6800 in the Business WinMark by 8%, with the High-End tests showing an 18% gain. Finally, ThreadMark results in both Windows 9x and Windows NT indicate performance gains of about 30%.
Subjective heat and noise results for the Plus 40 are nothing less than enviable. The drive, both at idle and when seeking seems every bit as quiet as the DiamondMax 40, a drive we found to be commendably unobtrusive. The heat generated by the Plus 40 shows that 7200rpm drives have truly come of age as a mainstream product: barely warm to the touch after extended use, the drive's need for active cooling is nil.
If we seem a bit high on the DiamondMax Plus 40, well, we are! The drive combines unprecedented ATA performance, massive capacity, impressively low levels of heat and noise, and an affordable price. Combine this with the fact that none of the competition has even announced a similar product and you have a sure-fire winner for users looking to purchase anything above the cheapest of entry-level drives.
With this review, we're going to debut the StorageReview.com "Safe Buy" award. The fact is that many products from various manufacturers manage to raise the bar or at very least match the performance expected from the product's class at any given point in time. Though its not intended to be an exclusive award (that distinction remains with the Editor's Choice award; the DiamondMax Plus 40 is the leading candidate for our next one), we nonetheless feel that the Plus 40 is truly at the very least a "Safe Buy." Congratulations, Maxtor!