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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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Hot Hot Hot!

Of course, like almost all PC components, the hard drive heats up quite a bit and it's no surprise considering the platters spinning at 7200rpm.  Manufacturers are taking notice now and engineering cooler (literally) products.  Let's see how the current line-up stacks...

After testing, we found that most drives were about the same. The hottest of all was the Maxtor.

Surprisingly, the ultra-fast Hitachi drive heated up the least.  We all remember the heat levels of past IBM drives and the warranty fiascos that followed.  We can safely say that this is a very nicely engineered drive with high performance and low heat levels.

Think it has anything to do with this hole?

Do not cover.  Yeah, well... what are you going to do about it?  MUAHAHAHA.


During testing, I tried each of the drives as master and a slave because of certain rumors I
had heard about them not playing nice with each other.  Sure enough, for some reason, any drive
linked to the Deskstar 180GXP as a slave could not be recognized.  In fact, my Lite-On CD-RW
and Pioneer DVD-ROM also could not be recognized when linked to the 180GXP.

You're The Next Contestant On...

Of course, triple-digit storage for your games, MP3s and pr0n doesn't exactly come cheap but it is certainly a lot less than the costs of yesteryear.  In fact, you can seriously think of just buying another hard drive instead of backing everything up and reformatting these days when your storage capacity bursts at the seams.

For prices, I looked at the retail package price advertised on the company site or online store.  You can usually find it for quite a bit less with online dealers.

Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 = $300 or $1.50 per GB
Seagate Barracuda V PATA = $140 or $1.16 per GB
Seagate Barracuda V SATA = $190 or $1.58 per GB
IBM/Hitachi Deskstar 180GXP = $270 or $1.50 per GB

Maxtor's DiamondMax Plus 9 came in as my favorite since I've used little else since the demise of my 75GXP and 60GXP, which was rather expected considering the quality of older IBM hard drives. However, on average, the DiamondMax was a close second in most categories and a distant third if a few.  Quite frankly, it did little to impress me. It was the hottest and noisiest of the players.  However, the drive is a pretty good value at $1.50 a GB. While that is on the higher end of the scale in this roundup, remember that Maxtor took the liberty of including a ATA133 inferface card.

Seagate makes a lackluster showing in this roundup, with the PATA drive coming in last in almost all performance tests. However, the drive is an exceptional value at $1.16 a GB (for the record, equivalent drives of 120GB from the other manufacturers were still more expensive than Seagate) and, in a non-official subjective listening test, was the quietest (thanks to the use of Fluid Dynamic Bearings, which we talked about in our "How to build a Dead Silent PC" Article. If you're going for a quiet PC, look into getting a Barracuda V. Also, as the only PATA drive here with a 3 year warranty, it is the pick for those who tend to destroy their sectors.

The biggest surprise for me in this roundup was the excellence of the 180GXP from HGST since I've come to expect very little from IBM drives (even though they're not IBM anymore) after what happened a year or two ago. However, all that seems to be in the past and the 180GXP is, hands down, the pick of this litter. Because of its superior performance numbers and heat disappation, I award it our "I AM HARDCORE" award for being the best of what I assume is the last generation of PATA hard drives.

As for our only serial ATA representitive, the Barracuda V SATA, I will reserve my decision until I've had the chance to try out some others using the new interface.  Look for that on HCW in the future.


IBM/Hitachi Deskstar 180GXP: 93%*
Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9: 85%
Seagate Barracuda V PATA: 80%

*Hitachi Deskstar 180GXP receives the "I AM HARDCORE" Award!

  • 180GXP: Fast! Relatively quiet and very cool (literally)
  • DiamondMax: Still pretty fast! Includes a ATA133 card
  • Barracuda V: Great value! Quietest and a 3-year warranty

  • 180GXP: Can't be used with other drives on a IDE chain.
  • DiamondMax: Red hot and noisy
  • Barracuda V: Slowest of the pack