The MK3006GAL Details
On first inspection, this 30 GB "mighty mite" doesn't look much like a hard disk. Toshiba delivers all 30 GB on a single disk platter, which rotates at 4200 RPM, resulting in low energy consumption and quiet operation - important attributes for a small form-factor disk drive. The built-in controller also includes a 2 MB data cache.
The determining characteristics of hard drive performance include both data density on the platter and platter rotation speed - together, these determine how fast data passes under the drive's read/write heads. Given the geometry of a rotating circular platter, the data moves under the heads fastest on the outer edge, since that's where circumference is greatest. This means that larger platters offer better performance than smaller ones. Given the small size of this drive's platters, it was obvious that our testing wouldn't reveal very high data transfer rates, and that is in fact what we observed.
To put this 1.8" hard drive to work we needed two adapters. The first makes it possible to use the same compact interface that's also used for 2.5" drives. The second allows us to hook up the drive to a conventional Ultra ATA controller. With these items in place, disk controllers old and new alike recognize this device without any complaint.
As expected, in testing this device maintains a top transfer speed of 22 MB/s; it could never keep up with any 2.5" (or larger) drive. As a point of comparison, for example, the fastest 2.5" drive we've tested - the Hitachi Travelstar 7K60 - practically doubles the MK3006GALs' top speed. The interface itself is more than fast enough, with a top speed of 80 MB/s. Seek times for the MK3006GAL were surprisingly good, however: the 19 ms we measured for the device is about the same as what we found for 2.5" hard disks with the same rotational speed.
The manufacturer makes drive configuration absurdly easy: the drive always assumes the role of master on the channel, unless you change a jumper to switch it to slave. It's not likely that anyone would use this drive as a master to any other drive as slave, but Toshiba probably figured that in most cases the unit will be used by itself on a channel, and set its defaults accordingly.