Articles: Storage

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It seems like just a little while ago we reviewed a 200GB hard disk drive from Western Digital called Drivezilla (see our Roundup: IDE Hard Disk Drives with 8MB Cache-Buffer). Now thanks to Western Digital Company we got an opportunity to test an even larger hard disk drive. The capacity record for 7,200rpm HDDs is 250GB now! Interestingly, the newcomer didn’t boast a unique proper name. Well, it looks as if WD marketing people couldn’t think of anything “cooler” than Drivezilla :).

But WD engineers could do something really cool! The new disk, called “Special Edition 250GB”, boasts the highest per platter density in the industry: 83GB. However, this untypical density was chosen exactly for pure marketing reasons: three platters like that make up the magic number: 250GB!

Closer Look

The fresh piece of candy from WD has a new wrapping as well as a new filling. The package is now made of plastic, not paper as it used to be:

It’s nice that they keep the practice of complementing retail HDDs with a “cost-free” ATA controller. Older mainboards may not recognize such a big hard disk drive, so Western Digital takes it easy: they just present you with a UDMA controller from Promise: Ultra100 TX2. Besides the controller the package includes:

  • Brief installation manual;
  • 80-wire 40-pin UDMA cable;
  • Mounting screws;
  • Floppy-disk with the DataLife Guard v.10.0 utility.

So, if you buy a boxed HDD, you automatically get everything necessary to install it in the computer and make it work.

The exterior of the drive is quite familiar:


Only the shape of the cover is slightly different (you can compare it with WD2000JB in our Roundup: IDE Hard Disk Drives with 8MB Cache-Buffer, for example).

Similar shapes don’t always hide similar content. :)

“Officially”, WD2500JB differs from WD2000JB mostly by larger platter (83GB against 66GB), but we will see that it’s not the only point of difference between them.

You may remember that the last time we compared 8MB-buffer hard disk drives, they were IBM Deskstar 180GXP (IC35L180AVV207-1), Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 (6Y160P0), WD1800JB and WD2000JB. Today we will also take four drives, but the cast is quite different.

Firstly, Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 6Y200P0 turned up right in time for this review. It is the current leader of the DiamondMax Plus 9 family. By the way, this model is going to be the last in this family and the next capacity bar will be cleared by a drive from MaxLine Plus II family (7Y250P0/7Y250M0).

Secondly, we tested Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 6Y200P0 after it underwent some “special” preparations. You may have noticed that the test results we got for last generation Maxtor drives were full of “miracles” and other “peculiarities”.

Thus, we often pointed to a considerable difference in the performance of the drive on different UDMA controllers. A drive was faster with UDMA100 than with UDMA133 in one test and slower in another. For a few months running I have been trying to get repeated results, and, as usual, science defeated common sense in the long rum. In one of our next articles we will share with you the results of our findings. For now, I offer (hopefully) “correct” results for Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 6Y200P0.

Thirdly, WD1800JB is not included into this test session (to make it more straightforward).

Overall, we have top-end HDD models from three manufacturers:

  • IBM Deskstar 180GXP: IC35L180AVV207-1;
  • Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9: 6Y200P0;
  • Western Digital Special Edition 200GB: WD2000JB;
  • Western Digital Special Edition 250GB: WD2500JB.
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