It's hard to believe that it's been nine months since we last reviewed a 7200 RPM drive from Maxtor. We remember a time when performance releases from the manufacturer were so frequent that they dizzied the average reader. These days it seems like rival Western Digital has been the one refreshing its performance ATA lineup with unbelievable speed. When it comes to areal density, however, it seems that WD has taken a breather of sorts. As a result, Maxtor joins Seagate as the second manufacturer to ship a 40 GB/platter, 7200 RPM drive in volume.
Maxtor's DiamondMax Plus D740X is the first 7200 RPM drive shipped by the company since its acquisition of Quantum's hard drive division. The drive's enclosure, in fact, looks much more like a Fireball series drive rather than a DiamondMax. Just how much product and research did Maxtor inherit? Perhaps they received quite a bit more than the average reader thinks. In the end, though, it's all irrelevant. Does the combined might of Maxtor and Quantum's ATA accomplishments deliver a winner? We'll find out shortly.
Though in the past Maxtor's been notable for sticking to its guns in high platter counts, the flagship D740X features just two platters. At 40 GB each, this yields a flagship capacity of 80 gigabytes. The drive features a specified seek time of just 8.5 milliseconds, Maxtor's lowest claim yet. A standard 2-megabyte buffer rounds out the package.
Maxtor plans to offer the D740X in versions featuring standard ball-bearings as well as purportedly quieter and more reliable fluid dynamic bearings. At the time of this review, Maxtor was only able to supply us an 80 GB drive featuring standard bearings. The D740X is also the first drive to feature the ATA-133 interface, an interface that increases available bandwidth. Though the benefit of such headroom over ATA-100 is questionable (especially in 32-bit, 33 MHz slots), we plan to retest the D740X when Maxtor supplies us with an ATA-133 controller. As part of our upcoming "Testbed 2.5" revisions, we'll also retest other ATA drives in ATA-100 mode.
Unlike other recent Maxtor drives, the 740DX doesn't support write verification. Further, it shipped to us with Automatic Acoustic Management disabled- i.e., maximum-performance mode.
As the manufacturer's new 7200 RPM product, the D740X targets power-users looking to upgrade to the latest and greatest in desktop storage. It also competes in the market for entry-level file and web servers. A 3-year warranty backs the drive.