Disk highlights

On the desktop, Maxtor recently made the shift from 40GB- to 80GB-per-platter technology. "We've been 'laggers' in the market on this front, so we decided to go for true doubling," says Bob Silva, senior manager of product marketing, for Maxtor's desktop products group.

Silva says Maxtor has decided to rebuild its entire desktop platform around this technology.

Maxtor has integrated the technology into its new DiamondMax 16 and DiamondMax Plus 9 products. The DiamondMax 16 is the company's 16th-generation 5,400rpm drive; the DiamondMax 9 is a three-platter, 7,200rpm product.

Both drives are currently shipping with an UltraATA 133 interface for data-transfer speeds to 133MBps; the DiamondMax 9 will ship with a Serial ATA interface next month. Both units support capacities from 60GB to 160GB.

Despite its leadership role in bringing 80GB-per-platter technology to market, financial analyst firm Needham & Company doesn't believe the announcement puts Maxtor at a competitive advantage in the industry.

In fact, the analyst firm believes that recent news, along with several other factors, may actually work to the company's disadvantage.

"We believe that Maxtor's transition away from MKE [for manufacturing], and resulting shift away from 40GB 7,200 toward newer platforms, has essentially ceded the current sweet spot to its competitors," writes research analyst Richard Kugele.

"Until the market shifts its focus to the newer platforms [and the industry ramps up yields in those platforms], we believe Maxtor may be at a competitive disadvantage," he adds.

For higher capacity and reliability, Maxtor also announced the MaXLine ATA drive family. Silva says that the 5,400rpm MaXLine II and 7,200rpm MaXLine II Plus drives—with capacities up to 320GB and an MTTF of greater than one million hours—are designed for enterprise applications such as near-line archival, NAS, and secondary storage.

Both models are currently available with an UltraATA/133 interface and will ship with Serial ATA support early next year. Pricing starts at $295.

Maxtor also announced two single-head, single-platter desktop drives (the FireBall 3 and DiamondMax 8) and the Atlas 15K, the company's first 15,000rpm drive.

The Atlas 15K will be available in the first quarter in 18GB, 36GB, and 73GB capacities. Maximum sustained data-transfer rate is 75MBps, and seek time is 3.2msec on the 18GB and 36GB models. The drive will ship with an Ultra320 SCSI interface.

At A Glance

DiamondMax 16 5400rpm, 60-160GB, Ultra ATA/133 interface DiamondMax Plus 9 Three platters, 7200rpm, 60-160GB, optional 8MB buffer cache memory, Ultra ATA/133 or Serial ATA* interface Fireball 3Single-head, single-disk, 5400rpm, 20-40GB capacity, parallel ATA interfaceDiamondMax Plus 8Single-head, single-disk, 7200rpm,20-40GB, parallel ATA interface

New ATA family
MaxLine II Up to 320GB, 5400rpm Ultra ATA/133 or Serial ATA** interface MaxLine Plus IIUp to 250GB, 7200rpm, Ultra ATA/133 or Serial ATA** interface

Atlas 15K 15,000rpm, Ultra320 SCSI interface, 3.2ms seek time, 72MBps host sustained data rate, 18-73GB, 8MB cacheAtlas 10K IV10,00rpm, Ultra320SCSI interface, 4.3ms seek time, 72MBps host sustained data rate

This article was originally published on October 01, 2002