SATA Hard Drives Run Riot: Maxtor, Hitachi, Western Digital 250 GB

Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9

The DiamondMax Plus 9 was the only one of the three drives to reach us in a retail box. At present it contains a Serial ATA controller from Promise as well as a power and data cable.

The technical specs read almost the same as those of the competitors: speed, cache, start/stop cycles - everything looks pretty similar. In our tests, the Maxtor drive achieved high transfer rates when writing and the second-best minimum read transfer rates, making it better qualified than the Hitachi for audio/video applications. Western Digital, meanwhile, is even a tad better.

With nearly 107 MB/s, Maxtor also manages to exceed the usual limits of UltraATA/100. The developers were already able to collect experience with UltraATA/133, since the standard was launched by Maxtor at the end of 2001.But it's never really managed to establish itself since its practical use was only evident in exceptional cases. The only one to do it better is Hitachi (112 MB/s).

Maxtor is the only manufacturer in the trio to equip its drives with fluid dynamic bearings, (FDBs for short). This really does give the DiamondMax Plus 9 a subjectively lower operating noise level than the drives from Hitachi and WD. But as always, the Barracuda 7200.7 from Seagate is still by far the quietest of them all. It is not yet available with 250 GB, however, and the performance is somewhat less spectacular.