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Maxtor Corp., a storage company, said Monday it had begun shipping its new line of hard disk drives ?C DiamondMax 10 ?C with improved functionally and performance aimed at consumer, not enterprise customers. The move provides significant boost of HDD performance and gives Maxtor pretty confident position on the market.

Higher Performance Delivered by New HDDs

The new DiamondMax 10 HDD lineup is designed to work using Serial ATA-150 interface sporting Native Command Queuing for optimized performance. Additionally, two flavours of the DiamondMax 10 ?C 250GB and 300GB versions ?C are equipped with 16MB cache for additional improvements of speed. The new HDDs from Maxtor come in 3.5?± form-factor and fluid bearing 7200rpm motors. Average seek time or the DiamondMax 10 is slightly higher than 9ms, average latency time is 4.17ms.

Maxtor equips its DiamondMax 10 drives using its own Shock Protection System (SPS) and Data Protection System (DPS) to give the drive enhanced protection against operating, up to 60G in 2ms, and non-operating shock, up to 60G in 2ms.

Native Command Queuing Gets Wider Support

NCQ technology enables the hard drive to intelligently reorder and optimize both read and write command execution, improving the performance of queued workloads by minimizing mechanical positioning latencies on the drive. In addition to HDD the NCQ technology should be supported by ATA controller. Currently NCQ is supported by Intel??s ICH6 that is supplied with i915- and i925X-series chipsets.

NCQ is a command protocol in Serial ATA that can only be implemented on native Serial ATA hard drives. It allows multiple commands to be outstanding within a drive at the same time. Drives that support NCQ have an internal queue where outstanding commands can be dynamically rescheduled or re-ordered, along with the necessary tracking mechanisms for outstanding and completed portions of the workload. NCQ also has a mechanism that allows the host to issue additional commands to the drive while the drive is seeking for data for another command.

NCQ also allows the drive to set up the direct memory access (DMA) operation for a data transfer without host software intervention. This is also called first party DMA - it means that the device is capable of complex sequences of operations without CPU intervention. The drive itself knows the current angular and rotational position of the drive head. The drive then selects the next data transfer to minimize both seek and rotational latencies.

Earlier this year Maxtor Corp. began to ships its enterprise-oriented HDD series MaXLine III that sported NCQ in addition to a number of features only supported by Serial ATA II controllers, such as staggered spin up, hot-plug and asynchronous signal recovery.

?°We continue to meet our customers' needs with reliable and cost-effective storage solutions ©¤ whether it's our new DiamondMax 10 drives for desktop use, or our recently announced new MaXLine III drives for midline and nearline enterprise applications,?± said Stacey Lund, executive director of marketing at Maxtor.


Maxtor??s DiamondMax 10 Serial ATA-150 drives in 80GB, 120GB, 160GB and 200GB motors are shipping today. DiamondMax 10 Parallel ATA-133 drives are scheduled to begin shipping at the end of Q3 2004.


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