We have already devoted two reviews to IBM/Hitachi hard disk drives on our web-site, and in two more articles they participated as “mutes”. Nevertheless, we collected twice as mach information about the drive as we have already shared with you, and there is still a lot of exciting stuff left behind. However, it is not about the amount of data, but the extraordinary character of this data that attracts us most and that pushed us to continuing the investigation about one of the most exciting products in the hard disk drive market. If you are interested in HDDs in general, and are curious about IBM (now Hitachi) in particular, then you should enjoy reading this article a lot.
The thing is that 180GXP HDD family appeared an unusual, maybe even mysterious, and conceptual. Deskstar 180GXP should be replaced with Deskstar 7k250, but we have every evidence proving that this new Hitachi solution will inherit a lot from the predecessor. And this predecessor appeared not that simple at all: the number of outstanding peculiarities, which we have already discovered, exceeds all possible (read common) limits. But we will return to this matter later today :)
There is one more reason why we decided to continue working on this material. Our old testbed based on Intel Pentium III 600E has long deserved a retirement that is why we tested all the latest hard disk drives on two test platforms. Finally, the database of benchmark results, which we have obtained using new testing methodology and new test system, has grown big enough for the old testbed to be finally retire. In the pervious article we kind of introduced a new testbed to you, and the current review is going to be a sort of a farewell article: farewell to the good old testbed and the hard disk drive solutions from the Blue Giant.
From Dawn till Sunset
The history of hard disk drives is about half a century old already and IBM brand name is a definite legend of this history, no doubt. We owe the era of personal computers in general and hard disk drives in particular to this great company. This way, the very first floppy drive was developed by IBM in 1956 and was called RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control). They first implemented an aerodynamic actuator for the read/write heads in IBM 1302 drive (in 1962). The voice coil has been first implemented in IBM 2310 in 1965, and in 1971 IBM introduced its track following servo in the 3330 model. The IBM 3340 announced in 1973 is the one that gave birth to the term “Winchester”, which has become a common name by now. In 1975 they launched IBM 62GV equipped with the world’s first swing-arm heads actuator, which has also become an inalienable part of the contemporary “Winchesters”. In 1979 IBM 3370 appeared the first hard drive to boast thin-film magnetic heads and special methods for un-length-limited (RLL) coding scheme and IBM 62PC turned out the first drive with “non-floppy” magnetic hard discs.