In the past, it may have always seemed like Fujitsu's drives have been reviewed at StorageReview.com as mere afterthoughts. While we managed to bring readers the latest reviews of drives from manufacturers such as Maxtor and Seagate, Fujitsu's equivalent-generation units were always reviewed several months later. The problem was rooted in our ability to root up evaluation samples of Fujitsu's units. Fortunately, we've managed to rustle up a source. As a result, we're pleased to present a look at a Fujitsu drive closer to its introduction rather than its end of life.
The MPG3409AT is a 20 GB/platter, 5400 RPM unit aimed at value conscious consumers and OEMs. The unit specifies a 9.5 millisecond seek time, about average for today's budget drives. Buffer size, on the other hand, weighs in at a roomy 2 megs... a step up from the 512k that many entry-level units carry. The drive features an industry-standard 3-year warranty.
The flagship unit evaluated here features 2 fully-utilized platters yielding a capacity of 41 gigs. All of these 41 GB units (designated MPG3409AT) feature Fujitsu's "Fluid Dynamic Bearing" (FDB) motors in place of conventional ball bearings. The removed metal-metal contact is supposed to help lower idle noise as well as increase shock resistance and overall reliability. Other units in the family include the 31 gig MPG3307AT and the 20 gig MPG3204AT. These two units are available in both FDB and ball-bearing versions. Finally, the 10 gigabyte MPG3102AT brings up the rear when it comes to performance. This particular unit is only available equipped with ball bearings.
Fujitsu has joined the parade with other manufacturers in offering a switch that allows one to select between access patterns optimized for noise or performance. Even lacking this feature, the manufacturer's units have proved to be exceedingly quiet in the past. Thus, we're expecting the performance modes to explore new heights of performance rather than looking for quiet mode to further plumb the depths of quiet operation. For the purposes of the StorageReview.com Database, the MPG3xxxAT's figures will represent performance-mode results.
The MPG-AT is one of the first of a new breed of drives that ships exclusively with the ATA-100 interface. Remember that since ATA drives have yet to break sequential tansfer rates greater than even 40 MB/sec, ATA-66 (and in most cases, even ATA-33) interfaces will run the drive at optimal performance. Our testbed remains equipped with a Promise Ultra66 controller.