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Reviewed by: Ed Lau and Carl Nelson [07.10.03]
Edited by: Carl Nelson

Manufactured by: Maxtor, Seagate, Hitachi

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In April, we looked at the difference between two drives that are supposed to be identical in every way except one, the I/O interface.  Serial ATA has come quite a ways since its introduction but while it has the support of motherboard manufacturers, it still hasn't found much of a place in too many of our rigs.

While there is a performance increase, it isn't significant enough to make most of us abandon our cheaper, 8MB cache, 7200rpm drives.  Of course, if you still have an older drive with a 2MB cache or platters that spin at 5400rpm, then, if you can afford it, there isn't much reason to not go with a serial ATA drive other than to wait for SATA II.

For whatever reason you have for not going with serial ATA, today we'll look at what will probably be the last generation of high performance parallel ATA drives before all the major manufacturers truly adopt serial ATA as the front running standard. 

The Players

A couple months ago, I asked each one of the big name hard drive manufacturers to send me their best drive and this is what arrived in my mailbox.

Maxtor's Diamondmax Plus 9 comes in weighing in at a hefty 200GB, the largest of our little
roundup.  Running at a standard 7,200rpm with a 8MB cache, the ATA133 Diamondmax Plus 9 comes in sizes ranging from 80 to 200GBs. 

Because some people with older systems or strange motherboards may have compatiblity issues with large ATA133 drives, Maxtor included a ATA133 inferface card in their retail package.  This is a great idea and shows that they did a little market research before releasing their product.

While Seagate's Barracuda V is the smallest hard drive in the roundup, weighing in at only 120GB, it also runs at 7,200rpm and has a 8MB cache.  Unfortunately, the Barracuda V is only available in ATA100 but that shouldn't be much of a factor as it is rare that any hard drive achieves its maximum transfer rate.  It's available in 40 to 120GB capacities.

And just for the hell of it, we'll throw in the serial ATA drive from Seagate as well.

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