Round-Up: Comparison Testing of 22 Hard Disk Drives

DiamondMax Plus 10 300 GB (6B300S0): Solid Performer

Since Hitachi pushed a 500 GB drive into the channel, trumping both Maxtor's and WD's 400 GB offerings, the 300 GB Maxtor drive may seem like small potatoes by comparison. But that isn't necessarily the case; for 90% of users, 300 GB on the desktop is more than enough. The DiamondMax 10 is also available in environmentally friendly RoHS compliant models - look for part numbers that begin with 6L instead of 6B - and in a variety of capacities as well.

Maxtor offers versions in this family with 80, 120, 160, 200, 250 and 300 GB capacity, spanning one to three disk platters. Although buyers can choose between UltraATA/133 and Serial ATA I with command queuing, only the top models with 250 and 300 GB of capacity also offer 16 MB of built-in cache; the smaller units have 8 MB instead.

With nearly 127 MB/s of throughput at its command, the DiamondMax gives SATA I a serious workout - higher rates are nearly impossible to achieve. We measured a maximum transfer rate of 63 MB/s for these drives: a decent value, if not exactly world class. At around 13 ms, average access times were also in the middle of the pack. But in the PCMark 2005 Benchmark labeled "Windows XP Startup," this drive registered one of the fastest times of any of the drives we tested here.