In the last three years, we’ve progressed from the ATA-33 standard, to ATA-66, and now ATA-100. When ATA-33 (UDMA Mode 2) was introduced, there was little doubt that it would prove to be a performance-enhancing step. However when ATA-66, and most recently, ATA-100 arrived, many questioned their usefulness. With hard disks barely able to push the limits of ATA-33’s 33MB/s transfer capabilities, what was the use in moving to ATA-66 or 100? It would be like driving a Jalopy around a racetrack.
Naturally, when Maxtor offered us the chance to evaluate its latest 7,200 RPM hard drive, featuring the new ATA-133 interface, we jumped at the chance. The D740X is Maxtor’s first 7,200 RPM release since its acquisition of Quantum a few months ago, and we’re eager to discover just what, if anything, Quantum’s IDE expertise has been able to do for Maxtor’s IDE lineup.
Further, we also wanted to attempt to ascertain what sort of performance increase users can expect when adopting the latest generation of IDE drives, complete with the new ATA-133 interface. Can ATA-133 actually improve performance, or are there other bottlenecks that need to be removed first?
This article is meant to compare the performance of Maxtor’s latest-generation IDE drives (post Quantum acquisition) to that of previous generations (pre Quantum acquisition). Furthermore we'll try to to establish what, if any, performance increase can be expected in migrating new IDE drives to the ATA-133 interface. However this article is not meant to be a brand comparison of currently available IDE drives, nor meant to compare the IDE interface to anything but itself (we’re leaving SCSI out of the discussion here).
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