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6 IDE Hard Disc Drives between 15 and 30 GBytes

Quantum Fireball Plus LM 20.5, Continued

The Fireball Plus LM looks like a typical Quantum drive, coming without any stickers. All information on the top is engraved instead. The Fireball Plus LM can't compete in the Business Disc WinMark, but it performs quite well in the Highend part. It scores worst in Ziff Davis' Content Creation Winstone 2000, which is of course only interesting if you need to run applications like Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, Macromedia Director or the audio software Sound Forge. There is mixed news regarding CPU utilization - while the drive occupies the CPU for almost half the time (!) in Windows 98, it requires less than most competitors in Windows 2000 (22%).

The drive provides a decent maximum of data transfer performance, while it is great to see that the minimum performance got also a good result. All in all you will get a very balanced hard drive, which you should not even hear working. The Quantum drive almost got the lowest noise measurement result and just the Fujitsu drive makes less noise. But there's quite an controversial issue again: Seek times under Windows 98 are quite bad, while the drive gets much better results in Windows 2000. It's in fact the fastest drive regarding access performance. The drive heated up average during our test. We measured 45 degrees max, which is tolerable of course.

The backside reveals all electronic chips. Such a drive should be handled with some more care than others, because the chips at the bottom are not protected at all.

In the end I have to say that I wouldn't go for this drive if I planned to use Windows 98. Quantum's Fireball Plus LM will provide much better performance using Windows NT or Windows 2000. It's a cool and quiet drive with great NT performance, but it was not able to convince us for use with Windows 98 at all.

Quantum Fireball Plus LM 20.5
Capacity20.5 GBytes
Rotation Speed7,200 rpm
Average Seek Time8.5 ms
Cache Memory2048 kBytes
Warranty3 years

Detailed specs on the Quantum website