A Pair of Very Different Hard Drives

Review: Maxtor opts for quantity; Western Digital aims for high performance systems. ExtremeTech tested the heck out of them, and found that performance may be found in surprising places. But what about the cost?

Serial ATA Approaches Mainstream
We last examined Serial ATA drive technology when we took a look at ("the Seagate 120GB SATA drive") back in January. SATA drives trickled onto the market in the past few months, but the floodgates are starting to open. In this review, we look at a pair of drives that are targeted for distinctly different markets.

Of the two, the Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 200GB SATA drive is the more traditional desktop drive. Although it does sport a Serial ATA port and SATA-style power connector, the drive also retains a standard Molex-style, four-pin power connector -- no power adapter needed.

The DiamondMax Plus 9 is the same mechanism as the parallel ATA version we ("reviewed last December"). That, coupled with Intels new 865PE chipset, allowed us to test the parallel ATA version alongside the SATA version to see if there are any performance differences due to the interface. The 865PE chipset uses Intels latest ICH5 I/O controller hub, which natively supports both SATA and parallel ATA interfaces.

The Western Digital WD360 is a new kind of beast. Its built using enterprise-class manufacturing technologies. Although its a single-platter drive, it weighs in at a hefty 1.60 pounds (730 grams) versus the 1.27 pounds (630 grams) of the three platter Maxtor drive. The WDC360 also uses a 3-inch platter, versus the 3.5-inch platter diameter of most desktop drives. Finally, the WDC360 ships in only one version: a single platter, two-head drive with a rated 5.2ms average seek time.

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