Maxtor DiamondMax D540X review: Maxtor DiamondMax D540X

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Humongous, 160GB capacity; solid performance; runs cool; low vibration.

The Bad Its 5,400rpm spin rate is on the slow side; no weekend support.

The Bottom Line The D540X is the highest-capacity hard drive on the market today, but the 7,200rpm competition is faster.

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Maxtor's D540X goes for the big time with a whopping 160GB storage capacity that's 33 percent bigger than that of any other drive currently available. The D540X also features a state-of-the-art ATA-133 interface, which offers a faster burst-transfer rate than the ATA-100 connections used by rivals such as the IBM Deskstar 120GXP or the Western Digital WD1200JB. The one thing standing between the D540X and superstardom is its 5,400rpm spindle speed, which is a little slower than other high-capacity drives'. Maxtor's D540X goes for the big time with a whopping 160GB storage capacity that's 33 percent bigger than that of any other drive currently available. The D540X also features a state-of-the-art ATA-133 interface, which offers a faster burst-transfer rate than the ATA-100 connections used by rivals such as the IBM Deskstar 120GXP or the Western Digital WD1200JB. The one thing standing between the D540X and superstardom is its 5,400rpm spindle speed, which is a little slower than other high-capacity drives'.

No loose screws
As with any hard drive, installing the Maxtor involves opening your PC's case, setting jumpers, and attaching some cables, so if you're a technophobe, make sure your computer-savvy cousin is around. Maxtor ships the retail version of the $300 D540X with an 80-wire EIDE cable, mounting brackets and screws, and the company's Max Blast Plus II software on both CD and floppy. The software includes diagnostics, a utility for copying the contents of your old hard drive to the D540X, and drivers for older systems that can't handle larger drives on their own. Documentation is limited to a setup sheet, but that's really all you need with a hard drive.

The D540X's ATA-133 interface helped it deliver surprisingly agile performance in CNET Labs' tests, despite the drive's slower 5,400rpm spin rate and WinBench-rated 14.5ms seek time. Using a PCI ATA-133 controller card ($50) provided by Maxtor, the drive's maximum burst-transfer rate in HD Tach 2.70 tests was a blazing 100MB per second, with a maximum read speed of 37.6MB per second and a maximum write speed of 22.9MB per second. But the D540X turned in slower (albeit still plenty peppy) scores on disk transfer-rate tests. The controller's role was pivotal; in anecdotal testing, the D540X's performance dropped considerably when using an ATA-100 interface. So if you want better performance, plan on investing in the ATA-133 controller.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Form Factor 3.5" x 1/3H
  • Capacity 100 GB
  • Average Seek Time 9.6 ms
  • Spindle Speed 5400 rpm
  • Buffer Size 2 MB
  • Hard Drive Type internal hard drive
  • Interface Type ATA-133
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