The Western Digital WDXC1200JB emerged as the winner from the crucible of our today’s tests of 120GB external hard disk drives. Of course, its large buffer (8MB) was the heaviest among the contributing factors to its victory. The other drives had 2MB buffers, and the rest of the characteristics were practically equal. Of course, the higher cost of the 8MB model won’t stop the users who want the maximum performance from buying this device. The support of two interfaces makes it the more interesting solution, by the way. Curiously enough, FireWire wasn’t overall superior to USB 2.0 as in our earlier tests of external HDDs. Probably the reason for this is in the improvements made into USB 2.0 controllers lately. After all, the USB boasts a higher theoretical bandwidth: 480Mb/s against FireWire’s 400Mb/s.
Now, about the remaining two drives. They belong to the same class and price niche, and use the USB 2.0 interface only. The WDXU1200BB from Western Digital has a lower access time and wins in several tests, but the Maxtor OneTouch A14B120 sometimes outperforms it. The latter drive is perceptibly slower at copying files between two partitions. As I noted in the review, the reason for the Maxtor drive to be slower is in the noiseless operational mode of the heads, which results in a worse access time, i.e. a certain performance loss. You can’t change this – the manufacturer has chosen for you. In this situation, you select your device basing on your own preferences and the tasks you are going to solve with it.