Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 10


The buffest 7,200rpm drive ever

The first consumer-level hard drive with 16MB of onboard cache has arrived, and it’s kicking buffer and taking names. Its official name is the DiamondMax 10, but it’s known around these parts as “the fastest 7,200rpm drive on the market.” That’s right. This drive outpaced the reigning 7,200rpm king—Hitachi’s 7K400—in almost every one of our benchmarks. And with its 300GB capacity, it’s almost as cavernous. It’s also important to note that the DiamondMax 10 is significantly faster than the 250GB 7,200rpm DiamondMax 9 drive we tested in January, while being just as quiet.

This newfound speed is the result of two factors—increased areal density as well as the doubling of the drive’s onboard cache. The onboard buffer size has increased from 8MB to 16MB, and platter density has skyrocketed from 83GB per platter to 100GB per platter.

In testing, the Max 10 posted the fastest sequential read speeds we’ve ever seen from a 7,200rpm drive, topping out at a staggering 52MB per second on average. This is a lot faster than the 45MB/s read rates of Hitachi’s 7K400, but not quite as fast as the Western Digital Raptor’s smokin’ 61MB/s transfer rate. The DiamondMax 10’s random access times were a smidge slow, averaging 9.3ms after subtracting the standard 4.17ms of rotational latency for a 7,200rpm device.

Despite this deficit, the Maxtor drive still achieved the highest score we’ve ever seen in our Application Index benchmark, which measures a drive’s overall performance in “real world” apps such as Word, Photoshop, and four others. The Maxtor’s score of 26.6 was even higher than the unflappable Raptor (26.4), illustrating just how important onboard memory is for an average desktop workload.

In conclusion, all we have to say is, “wow!” Say hello to the new 7,200rpm king. --Josh Norem

+: Memory: Fastest 7,200rpm drive, huge capacity, quiet.

-: Mime-ory: Needs to be 10K rpm to get a perfect 10.

Month Reviewed: September 2004
Verdict: 9

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