The Atlas hard drive family has quite a tradition. The brand name originally comes from Quantum, which Maxtor bought in late 2000, combining the experience of two enterprises. The acquisition placed Maxtor in the beneficial position of being able to offer its own SCSI drives for professional use.
The new Atlas drive is intended to be far more capable than any earlier model in every way, though one unchanged attribute is the 8 MB cache. Maxtor mentions a data transfer rate of 89 MB/s and search times of only 4.0 ms in read mode. As for reliability, Maxtor claims a MTTF (Mean Time To Failure) of 1.4 million hours. Bear in mind that this statement does not refer to a single drive, since annualizing this number would make clear that no mechanical product such as a hard disk will ever last for 160 years. In fact, the MTTF test is done with hundreds of drives in order to calculate the average failure rate.
Maxtor choose to stick with the Ultra320 SCSI interface. However, it is foreseeable that there will be more and more SAS components (Serial Attached SCSI) available no later than next year, which means that drives using this new serial interface should be available soon.
The changeover from Ultra320 to SAS will definitely take years, since the number of already-installed SCSI systems is high, and the need for Ultra160 or Ultra320 will not disappear over night.
Source: Maxtor Datasheet / Website.
Easily recognizable by the label, our test sample was an early engineering sample.