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IBM Deskstar 25GP DJNA-352500

  April 22, 1999 Author: Eugene Ra  
See also our Summer 1999 ATA Drive Roundup.
Evaluation unit provided by Dirt Cheap Drives

When IBM initially announced last year's Deskstar 14GXP and 16GP, most folks were fixated on IBM's entry into the 7200rpm ATA drive landscape, relegating the 16GP to the status of an interesting footnote. At the time, however, the 16GP was the largest drive to arrive on the market. A year of time has netted little change: Though the 25GP is a monster by any measure, it's been virtually ignored by enthusiasts anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 22GXP. Well, Mr. GXP has come and (sort of) gone. He's old news now. So, let's take a look at his slower but bigger brother, the DJNA-352500.

IBM Deskstar 25 GPPacking five platters each storing 5.1 gigs of data, the Deskstar 25GP once again allows Big Blue to weigh in with the biggest shipping ATA drive. Like the 22GXP, the drive features a 9.0 millisecond access time and a spacious 2 megs of buffer. Unlike the 22GXP, of course, the 25GP has a spindle speed of 5400rpm. A three-year warranty backs the drive.

The 25GP is another IBM drive that suspiciously resembles a unit from Western Digital. As we've stated several times in the past, the results of an agreement between the two companies are finally surfacing. IBM's 25GXP and WD's Expert perform quite similarly. It is reasonable to expect that the latest 5400rpm drives from both companies, the 25GP and Caviar AC420400, would also deliver comparable performance.

Like most other drives entering's testbed these days, the 25GP is an ATA-66 drive. Thus, there may be problems integrating the drive with the bios chips of certain motherboards which detect the drive as an ATA-66 unit, when in fact, the boards themselves have no ability to run the drive as one. Test results presented here were obtained by running the disk off a Promise Ultra66 controller.

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As expected, the Deskstar 25GP performs quite similarly to the latest Caviar from WD. This does mean, of course, that the 25GP ranks right up there with the WD disk as the fastest 5400rpm drive currently available. Performance differences between the 5400rpm IBM and WD units were even tighter than the correlation between the companies' 7200rpm drives. Differences in the Business and High-End Disk WinMark tests running under both Windows 95 and Windows NT were held within a negligible 1%.

Once again, the questionable Adaptec ThreadMark was the only test to reveal a significant difference between the two drives. Though the Deskstar 25GP edges past the WD Caviar by 2% in NT tests, it falls short of WD disk by a significant 12% in Windows 95. It's interesting to note that this is the same discrepancy (by the same magnitude) featured between the 22GXP and Expert: in that match-up, the IBM also falls behind by 10%.

When it comes to heat and noise, the 25GP performs just like the Caviar: i.e., it's quiet and cool, but not much more so than the 7200rpm units available from IBM/WD. Again, these latest drives illustrate how the penalty one pays in heat and noise by switching to faster spinning drives is slowly fading away. With such considerations diminishing, it's easy to see the approaching future where 5400rpm drives will be phased out.

IBM has once again reestablished itself as the capacity king with the gigantic Deskstar 25GP. Its performance is right up there at the top with the best 5400rpm drives. If you absolutely need the biggest disk out there, this drive is the only one for you. If, however, you can live with 5 gigs less space, it may behoove you to compare the 20 gig Deskstar 25GP with the 20 gig WD Expert. Once again, go with the drive that costs less.

IBM Deskstar 25GP DJNA-352500
Estimated Price: $619
Also Available: DJNA-352030 (20.4 GB version)
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* Note: Threadmark 2.0 and WinBench98 test results are the average of five trials.
WinBench99 test results are the average of three trials.


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