For a while, the race to increase drive capacity seemed to have come to a standstill. Now, most manufactures have picked up the baton again. After Western Digital changed their policy and started shipping high-capacity, high-performance drives (80 GB and now 100 GB), Maxtor also joined the bandwagon by recently announcing new ATA/133 drives with capacities of up to 160 GB. Most likely, IBM will join the race soon.
Increasing capacity is one thing and can be achieved by combining high per-platter capacity and increasing the number of platters. However, establishing new performance records and providing maximum capacity requires drives to run at 7,200 rpm rather than at 5,400 - something which has never been particularly easy to achieve. IBM built their DTLA series with up to 5 platters (15 GB each), resulting in a maximum capacity of 75 GB. It took several months for competitiors to follow with their 80 GB models. Maxtor was the first to ship a 5,400 rpm model. More time went by before 7,200 rpm drives became widely available.
Maxtor's latest advances are likely results from the merger with Quantum. Seems like they were able to fuse the know-how of both companies together in a short time. But Maxtor's new drives are not available yet.
Right now, there are two 100 GB drives on the market: the Maxtor 4K100H6 (540DX series, a legacy from Quantum) and Western Digital's WD1000BB. While the Maxtor drive is a mainstream 5,400 rpm model, WD's 100 GB models run at 7,200 rpm and targets high-end users with a demand for high storage capacity.