by March 1, 2000 0 comments

Quantum Fireball Plus KX 

20.5 GB hard drive. Rs 12,000
Features: 7,200 rpm; 512 kB cache buffer; Ultra ATA/66 interface.
Pros: Good performance; value for money. 
Cons: None.
Source: Ingram Micro India
B-17 Geetanjali Enclave
New Delhi 110017. 
Tel: 11- 6563404 
Fax: 6563401 

This is Quantum’s latest addition to the Fireball family of hard drives. 

The drive gives good raw transfer rates and performs 10 percent better than regular 5,400 rpm drives These drives are positioned above the regular 5,400 rpm hard drives used in most desktop computers. This makes it positioned for applications such as desktop publishing (DTP), CAD/CAM, multimedia, video editing, etc. The Fireball KX family features higher areal density than its sibling, the CX series. This allows more data to be packed per square inch of storage medium. The KX series of drives are available in capacities of 6.8, 10.2, 13.6, 20.5, and 27.3 GB. We checked out the 20.5 GB Fireball

The drive has a spindle speed of 7,200 rpm and a cache buffer of 512 kB. It supports the new Ultra ATA/66 interface, allowing burst transfer rates of up to 66 MB/sec. Its rated seek time is 8.5 ms. Surprisingly, it did better than its rated seek time and showed 7.93 ms in our tests. 

We used a PIII/500 with 64 MB RAM and the Creative GeForce display adapter with 32 MB VRAM for testing the hard drive. The tests were conducted on Win 95 with FAT16 and on Win 98 with the FAT32 file system. Under both file systems, it gave a score of 23.7 in Business Winstone 99. This benchmark runs many productivity applications, such as Corel WordPerfect, Office97, and Lotus SmartSuite to give an overall score. This score is about 10 percent better than for 5,400 rpm hard drive. 

In raw transfer rates, the drive was an excellent performer with a throughput of 23 MB/sec. For an ATA drive, this is very good. In fact, a 10,000 rpm SCSI drive with 2 MB cache buffer that we reviewed recently (See “Quantum’s Atlas 10K”, page 152, PC Quest January 2000) gave a transfer rate of 27 MB/sec. Raw transfer rates bypass the operating system and are the actual throughput of the drive. The actual throughput while running various applications would depend on the nature of the application. The drive doesn’t load the CPU too much either, giving a CPU utilization of 3.68 percent. 

Overall, its performance is very good for an ATA drive, and is good value for money. It comes with a warranty of three years. 

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