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Fujitsu MPG3xxxAT MPG3409AT
  October 30, 2000 Author: Eugene Ra  


As one would expect given Fujitsu's reputation and the FDB motors found in the drive, idle noise truly is whisper quiet. Like the FDB-based MPF-AH, the MPG-AT achieves noise floors unrivaled by other drives. Interestingly, however, seeks seemed a bit louder than the older 7200 RPM unit. This may be due to the larger actuator assembly... the MPG-AT is a two-disk drive while our MPF-AH sample utilized a single platter. Or perhaps this was due to the more aggressive seek pattern that the MPG-AT's performance mode implemented. We decided to take a look at the unit operating in quiet mode, to see just how much silence is gained... and to see how much performance is lost.
 Testbed II  Ziff Davis WinBench 99 under Windows 2000 Professional using NTFS *  Testbed II 
Operating Modes of the Fujitsu MPG3xxxAT
Benchmark Performance Mode Quiet Mode
Business Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 5947 5420
High-End Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 15433 14467
AVS/Express 3.4 (KB/sec) 66800 16567
FrontPage 98 (KB/sec) 89767 86167
MicroStation SE (KB/sec) 23733 22467
Photoshop 4.0 (KB/sec) 8927 8633
Premiere 4.2 (KB/sec) 10500 9680
Sound Forge 4.0 (KB/sec) 16667 15967
Visual C++ (KB/sec) 13533 11733
Disk/Read Transfer Rate
Beginning (KB/sec) 30467 30500
End (KB/sec) 18700 18700
Disk Access Time (ms) 15.4 23.9
Disk CPU Utilization (%) 0.50 0.49

Quiet mode bumps up average access time to 23.9 milliseconds- an increase of 55%. Transfer rates, as one would expect, remain unchanged. Quiet mode's Business Disk WinMark 99 clocks in at 5.4 MB/sec, a decrease of about 9%. High-End scores regressed a bit less, dropping by 6%. Let's examine how the more seek-dependent IOMeter fares.

IOMeter Indices
Index File Server Index Workstation Index Database Index
Fujitsu MPG3xxxAT (41.0 GB ATA-100) 107.56 119.80 107.89
Fujitsu MPG3xxxAT (41.0 GB ATA-100) - QM 93.10 104.31 91.96

The MPG-AT in Quiet mode scores 104.31 in our Workstation IOMeter index, lagging performance mode by 13%. Though the disparity here is larger than that found in the Disk WinMarks, it's still a far cry from being proportional to the huge increase in seek time. But what kind of gain is made in quiet operation? Subjectively, not much. The drive's seeks still struck as being noticeably louder than the MPF-AH or Samsung's SpinPoint V10200. This isn't to say that the drive is loud by any means. Seek noise compares favorably against the majority of today's ATA drives.

The drive operates cool to the touch outside a cooler. Integration into most systems should be no problem.

In conclusion, the MPG-AT represents a great improvement over its predecessor, finally combining Fujitsu's quiet operation with competitive performance. Sure, it's not the fastest unit around, but those looking at 5400 RPM units probably aren't overly concerned about performance. If you're looking for a quiet drive and don't require more than 40 gigs of storage, you should consider the MPG-AT.

Fujitsu MPG3xxxAT MPG3409AT
Estimated Price: $179
Also Available: MPG3307AT (30.7 GB); MPG3204AT (20.4 GB); MPG3102AT (10.2 GB)
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