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PC Buyers Guide - July 2002 - Hard Disk Drives

With so many items for sale in the markets, it can sometimes be difficult to decide what's hot and what's not. Come join Nick Swan as he brings us another installment of the TweakTown Buyer's Guide. There are some new toys out there, but we'll try to see which ones deserve a place within our own special systems. Come check it out!

| Guides | Posted: Jul 3, 2002 4:00 am

Hard Disk Drives

 

- Western Digital Caviar Special Edition Hard Disk

 

Times on list: 3

 

Western Digital's website for this product

 

 

When Quantum and Maxtor joined forces some time ago, the competition in the hard disk industry began to thin out. Add to that IBM's woeful 60GXP and 75GXP hard drives which suffered very frequent data loss and complete failure and the market is left with three main forces. Maxtor, Seagate and Western Digital. In recent times, all three companies have put out excellent drives and Maxtor went the next step and added ATA-133 support to their drives.

 

The Western Digital drives, or WD for short, supports ATA-100, spins at 7200 RPM (revolutions per minute), has a 2MB buffer, an average Read Seek time of 8.9ms and comes in sizes from 20-120GB. If you're in need of some serious space, the 80-120 GB models also come in a "Special Edition" format which ups the buffer to a massive 8MB's. All the drives come with WD's special Data Lifeguard which is a group of software utilities that tries to identify problems on the disk and then fix them before they result in data loss. You also get a 3-year warranty.

 

The performance of the normal WD drives is excellent, but the performance of the Special Edition drives are unbelievable. In many cases they can outperform a SCSI drive, which obviously puts them ahead of the Maxtor and Seagate IDE drives. With a buffer of 8MB and performance that can beat SCSI drives, the WD Caviar Special Edition drives are the ones to get. Couple these together in a RAID array and you can get even higher performance (and an awful lot of HDD space seeing as they only come in 80-120 GB sizes). The choice of size is yours but it's going to take a lot of programs, MP3's and DIVX to fill even the 80GB model up.

 

If you're in the market for a hard drive that can support insane FSB speeds, the Seagate Barracuda IV drives have been getting a reputation for just that. Take a look if that's your cup of tea.

 

- Find the best price on Western Digital Caviar Special Edition 100GB!

 

- Seagate Barracuda ATA IV Hard Drive

 

Times on list: 3

 

Seagate's website for this product

 

 

The Seagate Barracuda IV can't keep up to the Special Edition WD's, thanks to their massive buffer size, but they can surpass the normal WD Caviar drives in performance and are slightly cheaper. The Barracuda IV comes in sizes ranging from 20-80GB, has a 2MB buffer, spins at 7200 RPM, has an average Read Seek Time of 9ms and supports ATA-100. Like the WD drives, they have a data protection system, in this case called 3D Defense System. They also come with a 3-year warranty.

 

As I've said, the performance is better than the normal WD drives and they are priced slightly cheaper. The Maxtor drives support ATA-133, but you will rarely exceed a transfer rate of 100MBytes a second so there's nothing to worry about. To cap it all off, they have a reputation for supporting crazy FSB speeds, which is a big plus for extreme overclockers.

 

- Find the best price on Seagate Barracuda ATA IV Hard Drives!

 

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