If you have been reading our materials carefully, you should remember that we have already offered you three parts of Mega Roundups for the drives with 80GB, 120GB and 160GB storage capacities (for details please see the following articles: Mega Roundup 3: Twenty One Hard Disk Drive with 160GB Storage Capacity, Mega Roundup 2: Twenty Two Hard Disk Drives with 120GB Storage Capacity, Mega Roundup: 20 Hard Disk Drives with 80GB Storage Capacity). Right now it looks like only extra-large drives of 200GB and bigger sizes have been left unattended. There are relatively few such discs available, so we decided not to split them further into categories (200GB, 250GB, 300GB) but to deal with them with one stroke, in one review.
We’ve collected sixteen devices in total: nine 200GB ones, six 250GB ones and one 300GB drive. The list of the manufacturers has become shorter, too. Samsung isn’t yet producing hard disk drives of such capacities, so we’ve got only four manufacturing companies you know so well: Hitachi, Maxtor, Seagate and Western Digital.
Foreseeing some remarks on your part, we want to confess from the start that this article doesn’t include the newest devices, which have become available in shops when we were writing these lines, but we promise to take a closer look at the newcomers in separate articles. Another reason to exclude the new HDDs from this roundup is their support of Native Command Queuing, and this technology is an exiting story in its own right.
Deskstar 7K250 is the only product series from Hitachi to include 200GB and bigger models. To be exact, it includes two Parallel ATA drives of 200 and 250GB capacities and one 250GB Serial ATA drive – the PATA products even share the same model name and only differ in the capacity. Hitachi must have intended the 200GB model for OEMs, not for retail, and didn’t think out a special name for it, but we spotted this HDD in retail shops.
The characteristics are rather boring – the drives all belong to the same family, are based on 80GB platters, and have 8 megabytes of cache memory on board.
Since there are no official data about the number of platters and heads for the HDS722525VLAT80 drive with 200GB storage capacity, we put the supposed data into the spec table above. All the details and explanation of our reasons for this supposition you can find in the article called Hitachi Deskstar 7K250: Vancouver 3 HDD Review.
Maxtor offers a more extensive selection of “large” hard disk drives:
The DiamondMax Plus 9 series is represented with two 200GB discs that have different interfaces. We’ve already encountered products of that line, so we are unlikely to learn anything new about them today. As for the drives from the MaXLine Plus II series, it is the first time they participate in our tests. Well, this whole series consists of only two products, but what products they are!
Launching the MaXLine II series, Maxtor defined a new class of hard disk drives which combine the good price/performance ratio of PATA/SATA devices with the highest reliability of SCSI ones. The special new design and the use of reliable components helped to boost the mean-time-to-failure parameter up to 1 million hours (against the standard 500.000 hours of ordinary desktop drives).
Thus, with all their excellent qualities, the MaXLine Plus II drives really claim to be the ideal storage media for corporative database systems (with loose requirements to the response time, of course), for the disk subsystem of powerful workstations and so on.
We have also got a real monster into our review – the 5A300J0 drive of 300GB capacity. It is the top-end model of the MaXLine II series that consists of two products (250 and 300GB capacities). Like their seniors from the MaXLine Plus II line, the MaXLine II models are intended for the so-called midline and near-line applications.
But what’s the difference between the two lines (with and without “Plus”)? Their spindle rotation speeds differ! The 5A300J0 drive is the only device in this review to have a spindle rotation speed of 5400rpm. The dissimilarity doesn’t end at that, though. MaXLine II drives are equipped with a 2MB cache buffer (against the 8MB buffer of MaXLine Plus II series HDDs) and have one platter more.