During the last months, the hard drive companies mutually topped each other in terms of per-platter capacity. After 15 GB and 20 GB, most companies now offer hard drives at around 30 GB per platter running at 7,200 rpm. 5,400 rpm models already store 40 GB per platter, and new records could still be established this year. We received three representatives from the newest generation. Maxtor's 536DX series (4W060H4), Seagate's U6 series (ST360020A) and the Western Digital WD600AB. All of them have a total capacity of 60 GB.
Former IDE hard drive reviews at Tom's Hardware Guide have always dealt with 7,200 rpm models, the so-called performance drives . Naturally, the budged drives cannot keep pace with them, as they usually run at 5,400 rpm, resulting in slower data transfer rates and longer access times. Comparing apples and oranges would be quite unreasonable, thus we did not include 7,200 drives in the benchmark charts.