As you remember, not so long ago (in April 2001) Quantum’s HDD division was purchased by Maxtor Company. Since Quantum has never had its own production lines (all the HDDs have been produced in Matsushita-Kotobuki facilities), the major negotiable objects of this deal were Quantum’s intellectual property and well-promoted brand names. One of these brands was Atlas. This proud powerful name (according to the ancient Greek myths it was the name of the titan who was holding the sky) belonged to SCSI drives from Quantum. After the merging Maxtor, which used to have only ATA HDDs division suggested that they should also start producing Atlas SCSI drives.
Moreover, Maxtor not just suggested manufacturing older HDD models designed by Quantum engineers, but was also designing new models (using the same engineering team, I assume?). The first SCSI drive to be launched after the merging appeared Atlas 10K IV with 10,000rpm spindle rotation speed, and a little later they also launched Atlas 15K, which we are going to review today.
This HDD with such a high spindle rotation speed is the first experience for Maxtor engineers, that is why we will pay special attention to it and its features.
We had two Atlas 15K HDDs actually. One of them boasted 18GB storage capacity, and the other one 36GB. The latter HDD was an engineering sample sent out for compatibility tests and the like, while the 18GB model was a fully fledged retail unit.
The differences between the two drives can be noticed with a naked eye:
As you may have already guessed, on the left there is a normal HDD and on the right – a sample. Besides the stickers on the upper side of the drive, I would also like to mention the heat-sink plate at the bottom of the retail drive (you can clearly see it on the lower left picture), while the sample doesn’t have anything like that.
It is interesting that the PCBs of both HDDs feature an empty spot for the memory chip (next to the already existing memory chip). I wonder if it was made just in case the company might run out of memory chips of certain size, or if there will be Maxtor Atlas 15K drives with 16MB of cache memory onboard?