Real Gentlemen: Performance IDE Hard Drives

Disk Noise Level

When we first turned the system on with Seagate's Barracuda ATA IV, we were a little but suspicious. Was the drive running? It was, and even though it runs at 7,200 rpm, it is almost as silent as a 5,400 drive!

The new Western Digital drives (600BB and 800BB) are very modest too. The drives we tested before produce clearly more idle noise.


The clear winner of this drive review is Seagate's Barracuda ATA IV. It is a fast hard drive with excellent performance - though it does not reach the maximum data transfer speed of other drives, it is able to sustain high rates throughout the whole medium. In addition, it is the quietest of all 7,200 rpm drives right now.

Western Digital once again shows their ability to build timely hard drives that run both fast and quiet.

What's Next: UltraATA/133 On The Way

On July 31, Maxtor released the specifications for this accelerated interface. This information was published only some days after Intel's announcement to wait for the integration of Serial ATA into their chipsets til 2003. Currently, VIA, SiS, Adaptec and Promise already agreed to Maxtor's latest thrust and are ready to implement it into their next generation controllers. Everybody expected Serial ATA to become the next hard drive interface standard. Now, Maxtor's UltraATA/133 standard could become the perfect transitional solution, as first chipsets are expected to hit the market early 2002 already.

While we will not get rid of the flat cables until arrival of Serial ATA, UltraATA/133 is still downwards-compatible to UltraATA/100, UltraATA/66, UltraDMA/33 and all PIO modes. You can also keep using your 80-pin IDE cables.