The Maxtor Ultra 7200 series 200GB hard drive has a lot going for it. The internal drive is speedy and whisper quiet, and it has a relatively lower cost per gigabyte compared to that of the competition. But as we discovered during testing, Maxtor cut a few corners to accomplish this.
The upgrade kit contains the drive (also sold separately as the DiamondMax Plus 9), a parallel ATA/133 PCI card, cabling, software, 5.25-inch-bay rails, and screws. The same upgrade kit is also available with 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, and 250GB hard drives.
The documentation consists of a dense manual, a generic quick-start sheet, and instructions for the controller card. Curiously, the quick-start sheet doesn't even mention the controller card; newbies who look no further might not recognize the need to install it at all. Oddly, the installation routine also forces Windows XP users to create a floppy disk version of the CD-based MaxBlast software to load the drivers for the PCI card.
Once you manage to get it up and running, the Ultra 7200 series delivers great performance (CNET Labs tested the same DiamondMax Plus 9 drive but supplied its own card). Thanks to its faster interface, it posted higher burst transfer speeds on CNET Labs' tests than the comparable Western Digital Caviar Special Edition 250GB, which has an ATA/100 interface. But the DiamondMax Plus 9 trailed on sustained disk transfer rate tests, which are a better indication of everyday, real-world usage. The differences are relatively insignificant, and most users won't notice any speed difference between these two excellent performers.