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Maxtor's 300 GB Monster Reviewed 484

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the never-enough-space dept.
bustersnyvel writes "Tom's Hardware Guide has a nice article about Maxtor's new 300 GB DiamondMax harddisk. " The question is - will the drive perform despite having only 2mb of cache, and running at 5400 rpm?
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Maxtor's 300 GB Monster Reviewed

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  • Good Lord! Most laptop drives now have 8 or 16!
  • Well I read the first 2 pages of the article while it was still waiting for the "future", then I go to read page 3 and its gone! Hit refresh here and sure enough its open for posting. That took what 2 min?
  • by matticus (93537) on Monday October 13, 2003 @05:03PM (#7202078) Homepage
    Like every new Maxtor, the first one that comes out is the 5400/2MB model. This is for the warez kids and the movie people. Then, in a month or two, sure enough comes the 7200/8MB model for the uber-raid systems sold by Advanced Unibyte and Transtec and the like. Give it a year, and the rest of us will be able to afford it when the 500GB model comes out.
    Until then, it's dual 120s or 160s for price reasons.
    • 250GB for $149.99 (after rebate) = less than $0.60/GB [mercurynews.com]. (And 8MB buffer/7200RPM at that...)
  • Better link ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by phoxix (161744) on Monday October 13, 2003 @05:03PM (#7202080)
    The following link seems to work better ... http://www.tomshardware.com/storage/20031008/index .html [tomshardware.com]
    • Re:Better link ... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ianoo (711633)
      I've noticed this recently, Slashdot submitted posting links to individual servers over at THG, which are obviously going to get hammered. That site has like, 10 load balanced boxes, so really they should take the number of the wwwX.tomshardware.com before they post the link!
  • Personally... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blitzoid (618964) on Monday October 13, 2003 @05:04PM (#7202085) Homepage
    Personally I'm not worried so much about speed as I am about reliability. I've had to RMA a couple maxtor drives recently, and losing 300gb of data would really, REALLY suck.
    • I hate to be the one who tells you this, but besides IBM's 75GXP and 60GXP lines (which fail much more than most), Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor, Samsung, and $harddrivemanufacturer's hard disks all fail pretty regularly. IDE drives have never been the pinnacle of reliability. You get what you pay for. I just make sure to get the ones with the 3 year warranties because of this-in 3 years, you normally have a reason to get a new drive anyway (up until recently, with 300GB what am I saying? MS XP 5 or
    • Same experience here - had an 80GB Maxtor - failed a year after purchase, got replaced under warranty, replacement failed again in a few month - couldn't be bothered anymore.

      Switched to a Lacie FW drive now (what do they have inside?). And a Western Digital 20GB that came built into something is running 4 years straight with no problems (fingers crossed).

      Maxtor does seem to have a very poor reliability record - look around at other comments and reviews.
      • Re:Personally... (Score:3, Informative)

        by afidel (530433)
        Stop posting stories about single drive failures, they are irrelevant, instead go to Storage Review [storagereview.com] and check out the reliability database. With the exception of the Deathstars and some problem models from other manufacturers most IDE drives have decent failure rates that generally seem to jibe with the manufacturers MTBF. And if you really care add all your current drives and all future purchases to the reliability survey and go back when they die or go out of service. I have a total of 10 Maxtor's in the
    • I agree but I would think this drive is aimed at people wanting RAID. Then again 3x120Gb drives woul d be cheaper

      Rus
    • Nothin' a good ide raid controler and a spare drive could solve. Low cost backup solution. A tape drive is smarter, but once your drives fill, you can always add a pair of new drives and add to your storage w/o the tape swapping routine.

      That is, unless you have the money for a drive and eventually a feeder for when your drive becomes obsolete.
  • The question is (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rufus211 (221883) <rufus-slashdot@h ... g ['kis' in gap]> on Monday October 13, 2003 @05:04PM (#7202088) Homepage
    The question is - will the drive perform despite having only 2mb of cache, and running at 5400 rpm?
    Because you know...if I have a 300gb hard drive I am OBVIOUSLY using it to run my games off of. Get real, this is for backing up mp3s or videos to. Or if you're a profesional doing video editing that needs insane space you get two of these and RAID them together and poof, they're already faster than a single 7200 rpm HD.
  • by The One KEA (707661) on Monday October 13, 2003 @05:04PM (#7202094) Journal
    A drive that big is hardly useful by itself; it's better off in a RAID 1 or RAID 1+0 configuration. Having 300GB of data on a single hard disk only guarantees that when the disk crashes and FUBARs all of your non-backed-up data, you'll wish you'd gotten 2 of the monsters. Drives this big are just too vulnerable when used singly without RAID or a sound backup plan.

    I'm all for innovation, but seriously, who needs a 300GB hard disks except for pr0n c0lLeCt0R5, warez d00ds and RAID junkies?
    • Survey says......*DING!*

      Home theater PC users!


      Seriously. Even using a good codec like DivX or XVid you're still looking at ~1.5GB for a full length ripped DVD with 5.1 surround. A large DVD collection needs a lot of hard disk space.
    • A drive that big is hardly useful by itself

      This would be a good drive for a small form factor music server that only has room for one hard drive. Rip all your CDs and store them uncompressed or with lossless FLAC compression. If you lose the drive, you lose a weekend of ripping.

    • I'm all for innovation, but seriously, who needs a 300GB hard disks except for pr0n c0lLeCt0R5, warez d00ds and RAID junkies?

      Well, I'd like to put one in my Tivo. I'm building up quite a collection of concerts off of Direct TV's free channel.

      Also, I don't have one, but an HDTV recorder uses up around 10GB/hr, so even at 300GB, that's only 30 hours or so.

      To say nothing about data archival and whatnot (I've got a document imaging database that's well over 50GB that's been in use for less than a year, and
      • Well, I'd like to put one in my Tivo. I'm building up quite a collection of concerts off of Direct TV's free channel.

        Unfortunately, Tivos can't make use of all the space on drives this big. I think Linux limits the usable space on a single drive to @160Gb unless something has changed. Maybe you could partition a 300 and trick Tivo into thinking it's two drives; that'd be something to research. The Tivo seems to slow down quite a bit too, when it has that much space to deal with. I upgraded my DirecTV Tivo

        • To be exact, this is what the Hinsdale How-to TiVo upgrade [newreleasesvideo.com] says:

          ATA and TiVo kernel confinements limit using at most 137GB (128GiB) of any drives installed in your TiVo. Larger drives may function but you are currently limited to a maximum of 2 drives x 137GB (128GiB) or 274GB (256GiB) of usable space.

          I just re-upgraded my TiVo (after my original 80GB Maxtor expansion drive died), and ended up putting in two 120GB drives too, getting to 86% of the theoretical maximum capacity. I haven't noticed a big s

          • Coincidentally, I re-upgraded my original Tivo (yes, I'm a two-Tivo owner!) to a single Maxtor 120 after it started acting sick. Man is it quiet in comparison. I think my original 80Gb IBM upgrade drive put a permanent notch in my hearing acuity somewhere around the 4 KHz frequency. What's amazing is that I put up with that for 3 years. Surprising what you can get used to.
    • Who needs 300GB disks? People who have lots of video data for one, and that's just for personal use. Raw DV footage eats space for lunch. Spinning Disk Backups and Nearline Storage eat also these things up. The 300GB models have been in the pipe for almost a year, and they mean huge capacity differences when you're talking an 80-disk RAId array.

      Beside those obvious uses, these enable serious DVD collectors to do what the MPAA has been hoping we never think up: watching DVD's from hard disk, with no loss
    • You know, I get that all the time.
    • That is what they said about 20MB drives, and 200MB drives and 2GB drives and 20GB drives before.

      The answer is well known -

      Windows can expand at least as fast as hard drives, and

      almost every GPL'd app now depends on all the other software ever released under GPL.This also leads to exponential increases in HD requirements.

      • I'm not convinced that software actually grows that fast. Sure, it keeps growing, but it doesn't really get that big. On the other hand, there's always more data to get, like icons, sounds, animations, etc., that comes with software, not to mention that it keeps getting easier to generate or acquire larger files. I personally feel that the age of program size mattering is over; any computer without so much memory or disk space that program size doesn't matter can't hold any data that you might want to put o
      • You have created the post that I'm going to base the rest of my day on. I bow before your posting power.

    • by GoofyBoy (44399)

      With textures and maps and crappy coding, games take a huge amount of space. They always push home users to get something faster/bigger/larger.

      Another one is video capture. Huge amount of data there.

      I would just have one so I can dual-triple boot OSs and all of the applications.
    • You never expanded the source code tree of a linux distribution, such as Gentoo? I could fill that drive up pretty quick as a file server.

      The speed of these large drives is *very* fast despite the 5400 rpm. Remember, the density of bytes per revolution in significantly higher. Even though it is spread out across four platters, you have all those heads scanning the sectors during each turn. For compiling large projects, a single drive like this works excellent as a file server. You can easily saturate
  • To quote Dr. J, it is like a dog walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday October 13, 2003 @05:05PM (#7202101)
    Yes it only runs at 5400rpm...

    ...but as a timesaver, it comes with its own RIAA and MPAA subpoenas attached.

  • I love you all. DiamondMax's Plus 300 GB Monster Created: October 8, 2003 By: Patrick Schmid Achim Roos Opinions differ wildly in the hard-drive business. While Seagate supplies hard drives with 160 GB of capacity in the ATA area, Hitachi and Western Digital already have 250 GB disks. They all pale, however, compared to Maxtor's monster, which has a full 300 GB of write space. If you're one of those people for whom "big" isn't big enough, this is the one for you. However, criticism of manufacturers with
  • by elviscious (681985) on Monday October 13, 2003 @05:08PM (#7202138)
    Conclusion: Large, fast, quiet-if only the guarantee were longer

    Even if the DiamondMax Plus 300 GB isn't nimble enough to take on the faster-spinning flagships from Western Digital and Maxtor, its overall performance is respectable for a 5,400 rpm drive. Above all, the excellent data transfer rates are certainly welcome.

    Only the longer seek times resulting from the low turn rate and the lower I/O performance mean this disk makes little sense for demanding users running it under permanent load or as a system drive. That said, the hard drive is not designed to do this. After all, anyone able to cough up the princely sum of around $411 will no doubt have their own operating system hard drive that also spins quicker. A 7,200 rpm 80 GB hard drive with 8 MB of cache will currently set you back little more than $106.

    In view of its large storage capacity, the guarantee of just one year is dubious, since even in two years, 300 GB should still be big enough to save it from the scrap heap. Even if guarantees of several years are reserved for the top 7,200 rpm models, a two-year warranty would at least reduce the vendor's risk of having to honor a guarantee of two years. Ultimately, equipment purchases should not only be a question of numbers, but should involve a fair degree of trust, too.

    However, it is curretly part of a promotion, which means that if you go for the kit now, the card will be included.
  • No longer with the worlds largest bloatware not fit on a single drive!

    (Anyone who manages a financials 11i applications knows what i'm talking about)

    BTW, anyone know what this is useable formatted ext2 or ntfs?
  • To say that I want this is an understatement ;-). However, 5400 RPM seems a bit slow, especially if the price tag is a heft $285.

    I mean, with that much space, I would also like faster seeks times. Additionally, the 2MB cache seems awfully small. I guess we have to wait for the special edition like in the Western Digitals, where only the special edition drives have the 8MB caches. DesignTechnica [designtechnica.com] has a bit of information [designtechnica.com] on this drive (family). Go here while Toms Hardware is un-slashdotted :-).

    Suhit
    • what are you going to do with it that you need a fast drive? My OS and apps are on a fast serial ATA drive. Everything else (MP3's, pr0n, archives) are on other drives. This is the perfect drive for that situation.
  • 300Gb? man, that could hold a lot of pr0n. but seriously , why have that much space. i mean that sure is a lot of....oh....i see...

    xao
  • ummm..... Why so slow? My maxtor drie I have now is 7200rpm, the same speed as my other IBM drive too. Why did they go so much slower? It seems with the continual "faster=better" idea we should start seeing IDE drives reaching the speeds of 10,000rpm soon (if there aren't a few already)

    What a let down.
  • Backup (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rf0 (159958) <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Monday October 13, 2003 @05:14PM (#7202194) Homepage
    OK performace might not be that hot but if it can fill a 100Mb ethernet connection then its going to work fine as a small office backup/storage system with RAID 1. Sometimes big and slow is better than fast and small.

    Rus
  • I wonder what it comes out to? (you know that tax that goes to the recording industry for all storage devices or some other such crap)
  • "Four of them are used, raising capacity to around 320 GB. However, "only" 300 GB is used - the remainder is probably reserved for error correction. "

    Am I the only one who finds this worrying. 6% of the disk is for error correction. Thats quite a high figure I feel for something that is meant to be reliable

    Rus
    • You find it worrying that they have a relatively large portion of the drive dedicated to correcting errors, and yet complain that it's a high figure for something meant to be reliable?

      How else is it meant to be reliable (in the sense of data integrity?) ? What's a better way to ensure data integrity?
    • Nope, that's the effect of 2 differnt HD 'principles.

      1: Windows shows binary file sizes(300*2^30), while the box is 300*10^9 bytes. It looks like less.

      2: It's the cost of storing files on a file system. That and Windows Vfat and NTFS are bad about storing files with large allocation tables.

      Try reading the disk from Linux FDISK next time. That'll tell you the exact size of the disk.
  • There seems an obvious need to segment the HD market into two main slices:

    - ultrafast drives with less space
    - ultralarge drives with less speed

    The first for paging and applications, the second for backups.
  • That'd work great in my Tivo, for example.

    Just because its not the latest and greatest doesn't mean its specs aren't very useful for current applications.
  • A "nice article" at Tom's? What's next, military intelligence and beautiful BASIC code? Now, I'm no native English speaker, but I always manage to find minor, I don't know, "bumps" in the language and grammar in articles at Tom's. The first paragraph in this article contains the sentence "They all pale, however, compared to Maxtor's monster, which has a full 300 GB of write space" which illustrates my point. Is "write space" typical usage? It doesn't seem familiar, at least not to me. I've more or less stop
  • RAID 1 for me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday October 13, 2003 @05:27PM (#7202309)
    With that much data at risk and Maxtor's lousy warranty length and previous poor reputation, I'd want a RAID 1 (mirroring) configuration for starters. Does push the cost up a bit.

    (For those of you frothing at the keyboard to tell me that RAID 1 is the worst configuration, there's nothing else that works with 2 drives and provides full data backup.)

    • Raid 1 is the BEST for 2 drives, however you want the 2 drives either from different batches OR different manufacturers.

      If there's problems, you dont want them both to die at he same time, right?
      • Raid 1 is the BEST for 2 drives, however you want the 2 drives either from different batches OR different manufacturers.

        Different batches, possibly. Different manufacturer's, no. A 300 GB drive from manufacturer A and a 300 GB drive from manufacturer B usually aren't exactly the same size. Which means you'll have complications when mirroring.
  • Sweet TiVo drive! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rex Code (712912)
    Assuming the TiVo BIOS can handle it (or even has to... maybe that's a kernel function), this will easily exceed 400 minutes in "basic" resolution!

    And spinning at 5400 is a big plus. It's plenty fast for a Tivo, and will run cooler on less power.
  • by CraigV (126819)
    If I want speed, I get more RAM, but with hard drives I want reliability and I suspect that higher speeds bring less reliability. Does anyone have a link to an analysis of the reliability-speed tradeoff?
  • As the block density goes up so does the transfer rate. A 300GB drive rate != 30GB drive rate.
    Access times will be similar though.
  • I would love to have seen it at 7200 or higher (although that would have meant SCSI for much higher). As it stands it's a drive that is big and hampered by slow speed of rotation. Bummer. It would have been nice to see a faster drive with an 8MB cache.

    And what's up with these 1 year warranties? They're becoming more common all the time...I don't like that trend at all.
  • At last! I will never run out of space with this HD :)
  • Eh, I thought the point of it was to store massive amounts of data, not to win a race. Eventually, when prices settle down, it'll be both fast and large. But at the moment, they're trying to go big. Who cares about performance at this early phase?
    • Definitely a 'consumer' point of view. Perfectly reasonable, since this is a consumer drive.

      Massive amounts of data are easy to store, and easy to make behave MUCH faster than a single drive. There's not a company that would waste their time on a drive like this. In fact, there aren't many people at home who _should_ waste their time on a drive like this so early, but they will, driving the price down.
      • "There's not a company that would waste their time on a drive like this."

        That's a ridiculous statement, simply for the number of people and companies involved. Not everybody needs 10,000 RPM and an 8 meg cache, certainly if it drives the price up higher.
  • The question is - will the drive perform despite having only 2mb of cache, and running at 5400 rpm?

    Of course it will perform, much like the uber-geek purchasing it: fat and sloth-like, with a really small wang.

    Now if only they had hard drive ginseng...

    (of course this is a flame/trolling!)
  • I back up the family network.

    - A Mac
    - Two Windows 98 machines
    - Three Windows 2000 machines
    - A Windows XP machine

    This drive would be just right for that task. It doesn't need to be fast, nor does it need fast access. It doesn't need to be all that reliable either - the only sad thing would be if someone needed to do a restore AND the Maxtor failed on the same day (or week, given my family tech support contract - or lack thereof).

    A little rsync, a little ssh, everyone with a DSL. Throw in a big HDD like
  • by Fzz (153115) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @11:51AM (#7209536)
    Hmm, a good quality voice-grade codec uses perhaps 32Kbit/s. Less if you'd accept cellphone quality. Assume you recorded everything you hear when you're awake (say 16 hours/day). 300GB would fit 3.5 years of recording. I tend to assume upgrading disks every couple of years, and before then disks will have doubled in size again. So you could record everything you hear for the rest of your life, and keep it on a single disk.

    Now whether you'd want to do this, and how you'd index the data in a useful manner are more difficult questions. As are backing the data up. But you could do this now if you wanted to. Food for thought.

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