Article Author :Ian Date : 22nd Nov 2003 Comments :
The disk storage scene has changed a lot in the last few years, and one of the more recent advents has been the introduction of the SATA interface. The transition from the old PATA (Parallel ATA) standards to the new SATA (Serial ATA) has long been planned, and is here to stay. The next planned generations of SATA are due to be released in Q2 2004 (Generation II SATA) and Q2 2007 (Generation III SATA).
The interface should offer improved speeds and the ability to connect devices other than hard drives. However, as this is only the start of SATA devices, the advantages are still only minimal. Not all motherboards come with a SATA controller onboard at the time of writing, but this should change in the coming months.
We received the Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 200GB SATA/150 for this review, which has a theoretical maximum transfer speed of 150MB/s - slightly faster than the maximum PATA speed of 133MB/s. Thankfully, this drive features a standard Molex connector, meaning that you are able to connect this to your current power supply, without having to purchase a separate adapter to convert to the proprietary SATA Power connector.
Available sizes: 60, 80, 120, 160, 200, 250GB
7200rpm rotational speed
Average seek time: <9.4ms
Average latency: 4.2ms
Weight: 620g (1.25 lb)
Fluid Dynamic Bearing motors
As you can see, this is the SATA version of the ATA133 DiamondMax Plus 9 drive we reviewed earlier. The only differences are, of course the SATA interface, but also an increase of cache from 2/8mb to 8mb. This 8mb of cache is huge compared to most drives available, and has a speedy 6ms response time The cache is used to store data from the drive when it is likely to be used, this speeds up the time needed to recall data as it can be read directly from the cache instead of waiting for the drive to find and read the information.
Hard drive in anti-static packaging
5.25" mounting brackets
Disk and CD with Maxtor apps
This is the usual bundle to expect with such a hard drive, and is enough to get you up and running as long as you have a SATA header on your motherboard, or a separate interface card.
These drives feature Maxtor's own SPS and DPS technology (shock protection system and data protection system respectively).
SPS is designed to ensure that any sudden shocks to the drive have a minimal effect on the operation of the mechanical components, the most common problem being "head slap", where the disk head slaps against the platter, causing surface damage. Some more information on SPS can be found here.
DPS is a method of checking that the data written to your drive stays intact over long periods of time. As soon as a potential problem is detected, the data stored in that area of the disk is moved to a safe location - preventing possible data loss in the long run.
The drive also utilises fluid bearings, which is supposed to give a near-silent running drive. You can still hear the drive when performing intensive tasks, but this is minimal compared to a case fan.