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An Experimental Control: The Maxtor DiamondMax 2880 90576D4

  April 12, 1998 Author: Eugene Ra  
See also our Summer 1998 ATA Drive Roundup
and the Maxtor DiamondMax 2880 91152D8 article

At the end of March, the Storage Review took a look at Maxtor's 11.5 gig DiamondMax 2880 and found it to be, overall, the fastest shipping ATA drive. Though we tested the 11.5GB heavyweight, there are many smaller members of the same 2880 family. Here we'll take a short look at the 5.7 gig model.

Like the 11.5, the 5.7 gig drive features an amazing 2.9 gigabytes per platter. Its basically half the drive, consisting of merely two platters instead of the larger drive's four. 5400rpm spindle speed, 9.0 millisecond access time, and a 256k buffer round out the other important specs.

As usual, its very easy to get your hands on one of these Maxtor drives. We picked up two retail packages from a local electronics megastore for only $229 each, before the traditional $30 retail mail-in rebate. Easy-to-follow documentation (I guess, but it may just be that I've played with too many drives because these retail packages seem to provide an awful lot of printed handholding ), mounting rails, overlay software and cabling were all included.

ZDBop's Winbench 98 along with Adaptec's Threadmark 2.0 were both run on the unit in Windows 95 OSR 2.1 and Windows NT Workstation 4.0. The drive was partitioned into a single volume of maximum size. The average of 5 trials are presented below.

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The 5.7 gig DiamondMax 2880 fell slightly short of its larger sibling in most of the test categories, from an almost-but-not-quite-identical score in the High End Winbench 98 Disk WinMark to a 6% difference in the Win95 ThreadMark 2.0 results. Even so, the drive's performance is right up there at the top of the heap, keeping parity with the 7200rpm Seagate Medalist Pro.

Environmentally the drive is unobtrusive. Seeks are quiet and the drive runs only mildly warm to the touch.

Combining excellent performance with a low price, the 5.7GB DiamondMax 2880 is, in my opinion, the drive to get if you're in the market for an inexpensive, moderate capacity hard drive. Its amazing that a drive which computer superstores feature as their loss-leader blowout of the week also happens to deliver top notch ATA performance. If you need an inexpensive drive, go get it. Even if you need a larger configuration, consider picking up a pair and do the same thing I'm about to do - run them as a striped pair with a Promise FastTrack RAID Controller.

Maxtor DiamondMax 2880 90576D4
Estimated Price: $229
See Also - Maxtor DiamondMax 91152D8
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* Note: All reported test results are the average of five trials.


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