As mentioned, the drive we’ll be looking at today is Maxtor’s latest 7,200 RPM performance flagship, the D740X. The D740X is Maxtor’s first 7,200 RPM drive released since it acquired Quantum a few months ago, and, at least on a visual level, looks more like a Quantum drive than Maxtor’s previous units.
Fig 2 & 3. The DiamondMax Plus D740X (right), and the older DiamondMax Plus 60 (left). Notice the major design differences, such as the Actuator position (opposite side of the drive altogether), and radically altered PCB layout. The D740X (right) looks more like an older Quantum drive than a Maxtor.
The drive features a massive 40 GB per platter areal density, and will be available with only one or two platters (one to four heads), for capacities of up to 80 GB. Limiting the drive to two platters helps to reduce noise, heat dissipation, and power consumption, as well as cost. Units are currently shipping with conventional ball bearings, although Maxtor may make a unit with quieter fluid bearings available in the future.
For the time being, the retail version of the drive will ship with an ATA-133 controller card. Maxtor has worked closely with Promise Technologies, and the controller card is based on Promise’s Ultra-series cards, and features Promise’s new PDC20269 controller. Maxtor has indicated that it will begin to sell the controller card separately sometime this month (November). OEM drives will not include the controller card. As well, the retail version is accompanied by a 3-year warranty, and access to Maxtor’s toll-free technical support lines.
Seek time is advertised at 8.5ms, and the drive is equipped with a standard 2 MB SDRAM cache buffer. Both of those figures are competitive for a drive of this class.
During our testing, the drive ran slightly warm to the touch. While we wouldn’t suggest stacking three of them on top of one another, additional cooling is not required. Idle noise was almost undetectable, and we suspect that a unit equipped with fluid bearings would be almost completely silent. Seeks were slightly more audible, however, although well within what we would consider acceptable limits. Seeks can be quieted further using Maxtor’s Acoustic Management Utility, which effectively reduces noise by making the actuator move slower. Of course, this degrades performance as well, so we don’t recommend using it unless you require absolute quiet.