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Preliminary Atlas 15k Results


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#26 Mickey

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 11:36 PM

Fiscal quarters instead of calendar quarters? When does Maxtor's fiscal calendar year start?

#27 CityK

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 11:51 PM

http://www.sharehold.../maxtor/faq.cfm

Second from the bottom

CK

#28 Mickey

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Posted 26 March 2003 - 12:03 AM

Thanks, CityK. I suppose that scraps my theory, at least.

#29 ar

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Posted 26 March 2003 - 05:42 PM

Don't know about everyone else, but the combination of:

- slightly faster performance, and
- active Maxtor participation in the SR forums (!!)

certainly leads me to prefer the Atlas IV 15K over the Cheetah for my next Uberdisk purchase.

In case it hasn't been said before, welcome Maxtor to the SR forums.

#30 MaxtorSCSI

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Posted 27 March 2003 - 11:16 AM

In case it hasn't been said before, welcome Maxtor to the SR forums.

Thanks!

As for:

"Maxtor Atlas 15K qualification units are scheduled for fourth quarter 2002 availability with full product availability scheduled for early in the first quarter in 2003."

I think early in most people's book would be sometime in January (mid february, late March).


You have to understand the nature of the HDD development process. HDD developers start on the technologies required for a new program 2+ years in advance of the anticipated completion date. A two year engineering task, that completes within one calendar quarter of it's original projected end date, is actually an exceptionally well executed program development effort.

HDDs (especially high-end HDDs) use the most advanced technologies available, both in the Silicon and Mechanical design areas. There are few, if any, consumer devices you could buy that even come close to the level of technological sophistication in your typical hard disk. Mechanical tolerances measured in the sub-microinch range exist throughout these designs (some mechanical features are actually measured in tens of *angstroms*. That's *billionths* of an inch!). Custom, multiprocessor ASICs with 1GHz speed digital signal processing capabilities tax even the most sophisticated silicon design and fabrication processes, and rival the integration complexity of the latest Pentium silicon from Intel. The MR recording heads work on the basis of Quantum Physics ("electron spin". MR elements are actually quantum devices more properly called "spin valves"). And... after the development work is completed, the product has to ramp to volume in a manufacturing facility that's 100x cleaner than a typical medical operating room, achieve >80% yields (so we can sell it at prices that make it affordable), arrive at the end user with "infant mortality" failure rates in the 0.01% range, and achieve annualized failure rates in the sub 1% range.

In actuality, it's pretty amazing anyone ever ships a product even close to on-time!

Sure, Maxtor could rush a mediocre product to market to hit a schedule that had been projected 6-12 months earlier. But, we believe that our customers aren't best-served by that approach. We would rather take a little extra time and deliver something that our customers will really like, than go to market a few months earlier with a less-than-best effort!
Yes, I do actually work at Maxtor. However, the opinions and statements expressed in my posts are my own, they do not represent the policies or opinions of Maxtor Corporation and should not be construed as such!

#31 CityK

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Posted 27 March 2003 - 11:45 AM

Nice behind the scenes info MaxtorSCSI.

I would also hasten to add that the very investor relations announcement quoted above also contained the following statement:

This announcement relating to Maxtor may contain forward-looking statements concerning future technology, products incorporating that technology, and Maxtor's execution. These statements are based on current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties which could materially affect the company's results, including, but not limited to, market demand for hard disk drives, the company's ability to execute future production ramps and utilize manufacturing assets efficiently, pricing, competition, and the significant uncertainty of market acceptance of new products. These and other risk factors are contained in documents that the company files with the SEC, including the Form 10-K for fiscal 2001 and its recent 10-Qs.


CK

#32 Mickey

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Posted 27 March 2003 - 12:28 PM

You have to understand the nature of the HDD development process.  HDD developers start on the technologies required for a new program 2+ years in advance of the anticipated completion date.  A two year engineering task, that completes within one calendar quarter of it's original projected end date, is actually an exceptionally well executed program development effort. 

8O 2+ years?! Maybe I should go work in the high-end market instead. The last new platform I worked on (from the ground-up) we had less than a year to complete. That was considered generous, too.

#33 MaxtorSCSI

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Posted 27 March 2003 - 03:24 PM

Heads and Media, and VLSI all have very long lead times. Development activity in these areas generally starts quite a bit ahead of the actual primary design task.

It takes about 1 year from the time first-pass heads/media & ASICs are available, to bring a new product to market.

Remember, in many cases, HDD developers are actually *driving* the development of new technologies needed to achieve next-generate target operating points. HDDs incorporate advanced technologies in many different disciplines; silicon, mechanical design, magnetic physics, even statistics (modern HDD data coding schemes use statistical methods to regenerate data. They're called "PRML" or "Predicted Response Maximum Likelihood" codecs).

Like I said, there's very likely nothing else a person will ever own that has the level of precision engineering and advanced technology present in even the simplest desktop HDD. I've been making HDDs for almost 20 years now, and the process never ceases to amaze me. Most people will never understand how complex a device the HDD is, and how inexpensive that advanced technology ultimately costs. It's truly astounding.

#34 duraid

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Posted 27 March 2003 - 04:21 PM

Like I said, there's very likely nothing else a person will ever own that has the level of precision engineering and advanced technology present in even the simplest desktop HDD.  I've been making HDDs for almost 20 years now, and the process never ceases to amaze me.  Most people will never understand how complex a device the HDD is, and how inexpensive that advanced technology ultimately costs.  It's truly astounding.


Nothing else except a CPU and some sticks of RAM you mean! :wink: No matter how much we love them around here (and we _do_ love them) - at the end of the day, hard drives suck. All that's certain is that another 20 years from now, they'll be nothing but an amusing memory, and the source of endless "war stories" we can share with the kids. 8)

Bring on the MRAM!

#35 KingGremlin

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Posted 27 March 2003 - 05:27 PM

Sure, Maxtor could rush a mediocre product to market to hit a schedule that had been projected 6-12 months earlier. But, we believe that our customers aren't best-served by that approach. We would rather take a little extra time and deliver something that our customers will really like, than go to market a few months earlier with a less-than-best effort!


That's all fine and dandy, and there is no confusion about the complexity of a HD. But are you imlying that the competition's drives are any less complex or that they are rushing mediocre products to market simply because they are consistenty able to get their products to market closer to their predicted release date?

Most companies have the occasional hangup or problem that delay a product (NVidia the most recent example), but when you do it time and time again, don't you think there comes a point where you have to be less optimistic about how quickly you can get a product to market?

#36 e_dawg

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Posted 27 March 2003 - 05:45 PM

:) Come to think of it, most HD manufacturers are guilty of getting the product to the consumer later than they originally announced. I think WD is the only company that normally releases products on schedule.

#37 MaxtorSCSI

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Posted 27 March 2003 - 08:02 PM

But are you imlying that the competition's drives are any less complex or that they are rushing mediocre products to market simply because they are consistenty able to get their products to market closer to their predicted release date?


Absolutely not!

I said that *Maxtor* could choose to rush a mediocre product to market, or choose to take a little more time to get it right, and that we choose to take a little more time (I should have added, especially because this is our first 15K product).

It would be extremely presumptuous of me to talk about what other HDD manufacturers decide to do or not do when bringing their product to market. I am not in the least bit qualified to assess anyone elses business priorities but mine.

There are obvious advantages to getting to market with the first offering. There are obvious advantages to getting to market with a stronger offering. Everyone weighs the pluses and minuses and makes their decision based on their own priorities.

#38 KingGremlin

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Posted 28 March 2003 - 03:17 AM

Fair enough. I can see that viewpoint. Though I do think you are skirting the issue or in denial that Maxtor does have a very poor history of ontime releases even when compared to the other HD manufacturers which aren't all exactly stellar either as e_dawg pointed out. More conservative release date estimates would likely be to their benefit.

#39 gmat

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Posted 28 March 2003 - 08:49 AM

As an insider from another high-tech firm, i confirm what MaxtorSCSI said. Indeed delaying the product release to get higher quality is *healthy*. I have lived too many times the 'we announced it was out at this date, thus it's out at this date' that preceded a major your-product-sucks-so-developers-are-fired-management-stays. Management at Maxtor's seems good IMHO.
And for predicting high-tech product release 2 years in advance.. it's voodoo magic, crystal ball predictions, with a pinch of 'magic powder'... and don't forget to do some rituals with chicken bones. Anyone who blames ppl who fail on that 'magic' are either from management themselves, or quite ignorant (no offense) of modern engineering and project management (sometimes both, been there, lived through that).

#40 KingGremlin

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Posted 28 March 2003 - 02:17 PM

Indeed delaying the product release to get higher quality is *healthy*. I have lived too many times the 'we announced it was out at this date, thus it's out at this date' that preceded a major your-product-sucks-so-developers-are-fired-management-stays. Management at Maxtor's seems good IMHO.


A quick glance at SR's reliability survey shows the DM+9 tied with a Fujitsu drive for the worst reliability of any drive with enough responses to qualify for a rating and only 3 out of 12 drives in the top 70 percentile. If they are delaying releases for quality reasons, I'd hate to see what would happen if they released the drives when they said they would. Sure the survey is not scientific or gospel, but my own experiences have found Maxtor drives highly unreliable compared to other manufacturers as well, so I'm not surprised by the results.

And for predicting high-tech product release 2 years in advance.. it's voodoo magic, crystal ball predictions, with a pinch of 'magic powder'... and don't forget to do some rituals with chicken bones. Anyone who blames ppl who fail on that 'magic' are either from management themselves, or quite ignorant (no offense) of modern engineering and project management (sometimes both, been there, lived through that).


What are you talking about? How often are products officially announced with release dates 2 years in advance? Products are rarely officially announced more than 6 months in advance and usually closer and it should be assumed that at that point the company feels the development process is well enough along that it can make an announcement about a time frame within which it thinks it can release the product.

#41 e_dawg

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Posted 28 March 2003 - 04:51 PM

I believe the answer to your "why announce a product release date well before it is actually ready to ship?" question lies in the strategy of vapourware. Manufacturers that make "premature" announcements are doing so to make consumers hesitant to buy competitors' products. I mean, how many times were you thinking of buying a current hard drive when somebody comes along and announces a new drive with better features or performance? And how many times did you reconsider buying the current drive now? "Maybe I should wait for this newer and better drive... after all, it's going to be here in 2 months..."

I think I can safely say that new product announcements have caused every single one of us on SR to delay purchases at one time or another... companies know this strategy works. Maybe not all the time on not on everybody, but it's good enough to affect some of the people some of the time. If you don't engage in vapourware releases at least some of the time, you really arent doing your job as management. :)

#42 Eugene

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Posted 28 March 2003 - 04:56 PM

If you don't engage in vapourware releases at least some of the time, you really arent doing your job as management. :)


Cynical as the view is, there may be some truth to that... however, especially in the enterprise market, you have to consider brand/line loyalty. Many firms have invested a lot of money, qualification time, whatever in deciding to go with x firm's drives. If said firm decides to announce a bit earlier than some folks think they should have, is x postponing sales of y and z's already-available drive or is x causing its previous-generation, currently-available family's sales to falter?

#43 e_dawg

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Posted 28 March 2003 - 05:42 PM

If said firm decides to announce a bit earlier than some folks think they should have, is x postponing sales of y and z's already-available drive or is x causing its previous-generation, currently-available family's sales to falter?


Both, but the former is far more important than the latter. As you indicated earlier, it's all about customer loyalty and preventing churn. You know the saying "it costs 5x as much to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one"...

#44 pico1180

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Posted 31 March 2003 - 06:10 PM

So anyways, I love how people get so off topic around here.

Where is the formal review of this drive? Going to the database and clicking on the drive takes me back to the home page...

#45 Spod

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Posted 01 April 2003 - 04:26 AM

Not that I know when it's out, but does it really make a difference if a review is out 6 weeks before availability rather than three? I expect Eugene's busy (or been busy) with drives being released sooner. Or perhaps there's an issue he wants satisfaction on before he releases the review.

Spod

#46 pico1180

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Posted 01 April 2003 - 07:23 PM

Not that I know when it's out, but does it really make a difference if a review is out 6 weeks before availability rather than three? I expect Eugene's busy (or been busy) with drives being released sooner. Or perhaps there's an issue he wants satisfaction on before he releases the review.

Spod


Oh, I didnít mean to sound snobby at all. It sure seems like thatís how I cam e across. I didnít need to be abrasive. I completely agree with you.

I just thought maybe the drive was delayed and so delayed the review. Or maybe the link was just broke. I didnít mean to sound so pushy. I humbly apologize.

#47 Spod

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Posted 02 April 2003 - 04:10 AM

Hey, no problem. I was only saying there's little urgency to release a review for a drive that probably won't be in the shops for another month or two. I wasn't accusing you of anything.



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