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After receiving your great feedback on the mega roundup of 80GB hard disk drives we unhesitatingly moved on to test devices with the most attractive price-to-performance measurements. As you probably know or guess, this time we are going to check out HDDs with 120GB storage capacity.

The number of participating drives has increased over the previous roundup – we have compiled files on 22 devices! The qualitative aspect of the today’s roundup should hopefully be higher along with the quantitative one. We will offer you testing results of a SerialATA drive which Samsung had equipped with an 8MB cache buffer as well as the results of the 7200rpm SATA drive from Western Digital. Speed matters as we learned in our previous roundup: the WD740GD model nearly spoiled all the fun in our first article, having won in about all tests and completely discredited all other devices. Today we don’t have such an unquestionable leader – we will be seeking for the best among peers.

Like in our previous test session, we took same-capacity drives, so some makers are represented by devices from different generations, but this fact only contributes to our desire to present a thorough picture of this class of devices.

So let’s first take a look at the technical characteristics of the drives as specified by their manufacturers and cast a glance over each of them.

Testing Participants

Hitachi supplied us four drives of three generations (120GXP, 180GXP and 7K250) which is an indication of Hitachi/IBM’s having long passed over the 120GB capacity barrier. To our bitter regret, we couldn’t get a 120GB drive from the Deskstar 7K250 series with the SATA interface and an ATA driver of the same generation with an 8MB cache.

Maxtor, on the contrary, is represented by drives of one and the same generation, DiamondMax Plus 9, but they are so different!

We wrote it numerous times that you can find drives with platters of difference capacity among DiamondMax Plus 9 products. Considering that the drives may have different amount of cache memory, we have 4 models and that’s not all yet! The series includes drives with ATA as well as SerialATA interfaces! Don’t get dizzy, there are only 6 drives in total (there are no SATA drives with a 2MB buffer in this series)!

So our roundup includes all four modifications of Maxtor’s 120GB ATA hard disk drive and one SATA device.

It’s simpler and at the same time more complex with drives from Samsung. Thanks to the adaptive formatting technology, each drive from Samsung is a unique device with its own zone map (we are preparing a separate article concerning this technology).

Our today’s test session includes three HDDs from Samsung: an ATA drive with a 2MB buffer, a SATA drive and a 5400rpm drive (the only drive with such low spindle rotation speed).

 
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