Opinions differ wildly in the hard-drive business. While Seagate supplies hard drives with 160 GB of capacity in the ATA area, Hitachi and Western Digital already have 250 GB disks. They all pale, however, compared to Maxtor's monster, which has a full 300 GB of write space. If you're one of those people for whom "big" isn't big enough, this is the one for you.
However, criticism of manufacturers with smaller maximum capacities is inappropriate since the focus of many of these vendors' attention lies elsewhere. As one of the quietest drives spinning at 7,200 rpm, a Barracuda ATA 7200.7 is designed most of all along ergonomic lines and to deliver a good price/performance ratio. Hitachi, Maxtor and Western Digital join the running for highest performance at regular intervals. The result is larger, faster and correspondingly expensive hard drives.
With the 4A300J0, Maxtor is traveling a different route: its aim is to provide as much storage capacity as possible at an acceptable price. The recipe it has chosen consists of 5,400 rpm instead of the favored - because it's quicker - 7,200 rpm and only 2 MB in place of the 8 MB cache usual in top models. Since SATA still costs more, it uses an UltraATA/133 interface. This is ample for the coming months, as transfer rates on the fastest ATA disks are still below 70 MB/s max.
We took a closer look at how the 300 GB monster shapes up against the established major-leaguers from Hitachi, Maxtor and Western Digital.