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   HDD Article : 7200 RPM ATA Drive Roundup »  


7200 RPM ATA Drive Roundup
 Date  : Feb 3rd, 2001
 Category  : Storage
 Manufacturer   : Various
 Author  : Jin-Wei Tioh
The drives in this 7200rpm ATA roundup are the Seagate Barracuda ATA II and the Quantum Fireball Plus AS. Let's introduce these two contenders.

The Seagate Barracuda ATA II is the successor to the original Barracuda ATA. The Barracuda ATA was a great success, replacing the infamous Medalist Pro line and providing lightning-quick storage at a very competitive price. The Barracuda ATA II seeks to build on just such a heritage. Released earlier, Seagate's drive packs only 10.2GB/platter to achieve a 3-platter flagship capacity of 30.6GB. In terms of average seek time, Seagate is rather in this regard, specifying the Barracuda's seek time as 8.2ms. A standard 2MB buffer and a 3-year warranty round up the package. Speaking of package, Seagate quite possibly has the best drive packaging in the industry, the SeaShell. Simple, yet effective, the SeaShell is a reasonably sturdy plastic clamshell which encases the drive. Combined with the standard foam packaging that accompany all drives, this helps to protect the drive in its most vulnerable state : during shipping and handling.

The Fireball Plus AS is Quantum's latest entry into the 7200rpm ATA market, featuring a 20.4GB/platter density. This in tandem with a maximum of 3 platters yields a flagship capacity of 60.0GB. Quantum has specified the AS' average seek time as 8.5ms, as well as a now standard 2MB buffer. There's also the usual 3-year warranty. What makes the Fireball Plus AS unique is, according to Quantum, that the AS is their first to sport the "Hydrodynamic Bearing motors" (HDB motors). The HDB mechanism is akin to the fluid bearings featured in drives from Seagate and Fujitsu, where conventional ball bearings are replaced with a viscous liquid. The aim? To increase reliability while lowering the noise floor. Lastly, the drive packaging that all Quantum drives use is only an ESD bag, which does little to protect the drive against external shocks.

The drives will be put head-to-head on our storage testbed using the defined methodologies. If you haven't read our Storage Testbed Disclosure, which divulges the testbed as well as methodologies, now would be a good time to do so. Alright, let's see what ZD's WinBench 99 has to say about these two.

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