Reviews Leaderboard Database Reference Search StorageReview Discussion Reliability Survey Search About Contents

Maxtor 536DX
  September 5, 2001 Author: Eugene Ra  

Maxtor 536DX Available Capacities *
Model Number
30 GB
40 GB
60 GB
80 GB
100 GB
* The benchmark scores presented in this review represent expected performance across the entire line.
Estimated Flagship Price: $249 (100 GB)
Evaluation unit provided by Maxtor Corp.


Since its absorption of Quantum last winter, Maxtor's ATA product line has been uncharacteristically quiet. Competitors such as Seagate and Western Digital have been pressing forward with ever-higher densities on the 7200 RPM front. Meanwhile, Maxtor has rested with the 20 GB/platter DiamondMax Plus 60. On the 5400 RPM side of things, Maxtor's released its 40 GB/platter 540DX series as well as a stab at being the first at 100 GB with the 536DX. Anyone who has observed the industry for a while knows not to underestimate the largest of independent drive manufacturers; in this potential calm before the storm, however, let's turn our sights towards Maxtor's largest drive.

At its odd 33 GB/platter configuration, the 536DX sits as the odd man out in Maxtor's product line... introduced alongside the 40 GB/platter 540DX series, the 536DX is actually the first from the manufacturer to hit 100 GB. The 536 has its roots in Quantum's Fireball series which explains its relatively awkward positioning and release alongside a similar product line. Maxtor specifies seek times at a rather sedate 11 milliseconds. A standard two-megabyte buffer rounds out the drive.

This 5400 RPM drive targets market segments requiring large amounts of mass storage where cost precedes performance. The 536DX would be at home in a system serving as a repository for data or other archival purposes. Maxtor backs the drive with a three-year warranty.

Maxtor drives typically ship with acoustic management (quiet mode) enabled. Further, out of box, these drives verify writes until the drive powers up for the eleventh time. To maximize performance measures, both acoustic management and write verification were disabled.

The 536DX ships exclusively with an ATA-100 interface. Remember, since ATA drives have yet to break sequential transfer rates greater than even 45 MB/sec that ATA-66 (and in many cases, even ATA-33) interfaces will run a drive with optimal performance. Our testbed remains equipped with a Promise Ultra66 controller.

WB99/Win2k Low-Level Measurements

[an error occurred while processing the directive]

Click here to examine the STR graph for this drive

Maxtor's drive turns in a WinBench 99 access time of 14.7 milliseconds. Subtracting 5.6 milliseconds to account for the average rotational latency experienced by a 5400 RPM drive yields a measured seek time of 9.1 milliseconds... well under spec and a pleasant surprise indeed! This score places the 536DX among the fastest of 5400 RPM drives with only Samsung's SpinPoint V30 turning in a lower score.

For a drive that packs 33 gigs on a platter, the 536DX's outer-zone sequential transfer rate of 31.4 MB/sec is a bit on the low side. Inner zone rates come in at about 19 MB/sec.

WB99/Win2k WinMarks

[an error occurred while processing the directive]
The 536DX's Business Disk WinMark 99 of 7.1 MB/sec, though pretty solid when compared against much of the competition, trails the Western Digital Caviar WD600AB by about 4%. Results are similar within the High-End WinMark. Maxtor's score of 17.9 MB/sec easily outraces all but the WD600AB.

IOMeter Performance

[an error occurred while processing the directive]
An IOMeter Workstation Index (a normalized average of Light, Medium, and Heavy loads) of 118.35 places the 536DX in the middle of the 5400 RPM pack. While it leads the anemic Seagate U5 and manages to keep up with Fujitsu's MPG-AT, the Maxtor lags offerings from IBM, Samsung, and Western Digital.


While running through our performance suite (i.e., with acoustic management disabled), the 536DX's seeks are pretty noticeable. They're not any quieter than contemporary 7200 RPM offerings such as Western Digital's BB series or Maxtor's own DiamondMax Plus 60. After extended use, the 536DX is fairly warm to the touch. Nonetheless, it should be usable in all but the most cramped cases.

Overall, though it aided Maxtor in edging out Western Digital to be the first at the 100 GB ATA plateau, the 536DX doesn't otherwise stand out in any real way. Those who require more than 60 gigs of dirt-cheap storage may be interested. Others, however, are better off waiting for more inspired offerings from the competition... and undoubtedly from Maxtor themselves.

[an error occurred while processing the directive]


Copyright © 1998-2005, Inc. All rights reserved.
Write: Webmaster