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Davin

Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 8

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Why is it that all the drives this is compared against are 120GB + ?

I am not sure if the results are at all affected by the fact that a 40GB drive is being compared with 120, 160 and 200GB drives. I am aware the storage doesn't necessarily impact performance but I just get this impression of apples and oranges. What are the reasons for the drives chosen ?

Cheers,

TightCode

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Why is it that all the drives this is compared against are 120GB + ?

I am not sure if the results are at all affected by the fact that a 40GB drive is being compared with 120, 160 and 200GB drives. I am aware the storage doesn't necessarily impact performance but I just get this impression of apples and oranges. What are the reasons for the drives chosen ?

Cheers,

TightCode

Actually, it *DOES* impact performance, has he said in the review. (Larger capacity usually means more platters, which means the heads don't have to move as far to go across the same span of data.)

The reason is that he trys to pick the largest drive in a 'family' to test (plus that's what is usually sent his way.) If he was to test every capacity of drive, it would take forever. The reason we don't have more 'current generation' drives of similar capacity is because there aren't any that are the largest in their family. Every other current 'family' of drive uses at least both sides of a single platter in its largest member. (Most use 2 to 4 platters.)

And comparing it to older similar-size drives isn't fair, because you aren't often deciding between a current drive and a four-year-old design. (For comparison, this drive uses a 40GB/side design, using a single side of a platter. If you want to compare it to the first 7200RPM 40GB drive (also a Maxtor, with four 5GB/side, dual-side platters,) use the database to compare this drive to the DiamondMax Plus 40 54098U8. Or, the first 40GB drive at all, Maxtor's 5400RPM DiamondMax 40 94098U8.

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Building upon a paradigm established by the 5400 RPM DiamondMax 531DX and 541DX, the DM+8 utilizes just one side of a single 80-gigabyte platter to deliver capacities up to 40 GB

I believe Maxtor uses 60 GB platters for the 30 GB model. I have seen different performance scores and max/min STR values for it. I am not sure what they use for the 20 GB model.

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How big a difference in performance does a multiple-head/platter drive make over a single-platter drive? Is the average seek time that is higher than other drives this generation due to the lack of additional heads to read data, or is it due to different mechanics? I'm curious. If the seek is due to different mechanics, then how much difference will we see with a larger drive, assuming a data density of 80GB/platter remains constant?

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I have one of the 40MB DiamondMax Plus 8 drives. In general, I agree with the conclusions of this review, but I found substantially better results in my own Winbench testing under WindowsXP on an AMD Athlon XP2000+ rig.

I have gotten Winbench and HDTACH low level transfer rate and seek numbers identical to the results in your review. On the other hand, the numbers I got for the Business WinMark99 and High-End WinMark99 are 13300 KB/s and 33100 KB/s respectively. I tested this drive on both the Via686B ATA-100 controller on my Gigabyte GA-7DX motherboard as well as on an add-in Promise TX2000 Raid controller. The results were within a few % both ways. I have also compared this drive with two x 40GB D740X drives in both single and RAID 0 configurations. In all cases, the results were consistent with test results in Storage Review for the D740X.

I would like to suggest a different use for the DM+8 drive than that suggested by the reviewer. Due to the small size, low heat, and high transfer rate, I would suggest that users consider using a pair of 40GB DM+8 drives in RAID 0 configuration as system drives with just OS and application installed. Then larger and faster drives can be used for data storage, video files, etc. This could provide for a cheaper RAID implemntation. For my own configuration, I am using one DM+8 for OS System and 2 x D740X for bulk data storage. My swap file is on the RAID store as are less essential applications (games, etc.). I use GHOST to backup from my OS drive to the RAID array and thence over my network to another mirror machine.

E'dude

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How big a difference in performance does a multiple-head/platter drive make over a single-platter drive?  Is the average seek time that is higher than other drives this generation due to the lack of additional heads to read data, or is it due to different mechanics?  I'm curious.  If the seek is due to different mechanics, then how much difference will we see with a larger drive, assuming a data density of 80GB/platter remains constant?

It's due to the fact that on a multiple side/multiple platter drive, if internally 'stripes' data. So it writes a little bit on the first side of the first platter, then the second side, then the first side of the second platter, etc. So you get the best transfer rates at the 'beginning' of the drive as you would with a single side/single platter drive. (If it filled one side first, then flipped sides, then switched platters, etc., you'd end up with a staggered graph, fast fading to slow, then back to fast suddenly, fading to slow again, etc, for each side present.)

The reason multiple platters ends up faster in seeks is because in this single side/single platter drive, a seek that needs to traverse 30GB covers 3/4 of the drive. In a 4-platter, double-sided version (it would be 320GB, by the way,) a 30GB seek would only cover 1/10 of the drive, so the heads don't need to move as far. (Which also means that a 240GB seek would be needed to have the same seek time as the 30GB seek in the smaller drive.)

Note that you can get amazing seek times by taking a drive with more platters and 'short-stroking' it. Short stroking is when you do not use the entire capacity of the drive. For example, if you only used 40GB of the 320GB drive, the farthest the read head would ever need to move is 1/8 of the distance the single platter, single sided 40GB drive would need to move. Of course, this ends up expensive fast. (I'm actually running a 30GB short stroked to 20GB in my server. Although I haven't noticed any major difference in speed over it's native 20GB companion.)

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(I'm actually running a 30GB short stroked to 20GB in my server.  Although I haven't noticed any major difference in speed over it's native 20GB companion.)

I'd bet this is due to localization. Actual single-user access consists of the majority of strokes occuring within a tight band peppered by only an occasional significantly long stroke... as a result, the effects of short-stroking, which are readily apparent in a purely random access time test, don't assert themselves.

The situation would be different for a server, of course...

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Ah, thank you. I hadn't put that together before.

I would still love to see some tests of different drive sizes in the same family (with the same data density) to see what the actual performance benefit might be -- it would be of immense help in extrapolating smaller drive performance, especially since I rarely, if ever buy the largest capacity of a generation (just too expensive).

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on the second page of sr's review i read the following:

Equipped with an 80 GB platter, the DM+8 turns in an impressive 60.2 MB/sec transfer rate in its outermost zone. Its inner-zone mark of 40.0 MB/sec also sets a record for an ATA drive. 

is this not supposed to be 40GB???

just checking

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on the second page of sr's review i read the following:

Equipped with an 80 GB platter, the DM+8 turns in an impressive 60.2 MB/sec transfer rate in its outermost zone. Its inner-zone mark of 40.0 MB/sec also sets a record for an ATA drive. 

is this not supposed to be 40GB???

just checking

The platter is 80 GB, but the drive has only one head, so it uses only the other side of the platter, thus giving out the capacity of 40 GB.

Cheers,

Jan

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