Hard drives have evolved significantly over the past few years. There was a time when 1GB of storage space was considered to be extremely big. Today Maxtor holds the world record for the highest capacity drive with their 80GB Diamond Max drive. With Maxtor's recent merger with Quantum they have been able to create a deeper impact in the hard drive arena.

Maxtor is already renowned for their high performance, reliable drives; and their after sales service is still to be beaten by another competitor. Maxtor offers three ranges of drives to suite changing user needs and budgets. The DiamondMax Plus series caters to the performance seeking folk. The DiamondMax range is for the average user while the DiamondMax VL range is catered to the budget conscious.

In the past we have enlightened you on Maxtor's DiamondMax Plus range and the DiamondMax range. Today we take a look at their VL (Value Line) range; the DiamondMax VL 40GB drive. At the outset, the DiamondMax VL 40 is a 5400RPM drive, with a 2MB Cache buffer. The drive features two platters with a density of 20GB and it is ATA/100 compliant. Even though this drive is intended for the value market, Maxtor has been able to cramp in all the goodies we look for in a high-end drive and yet keep the price down. This is the competitive edge Maxtor has over most of its competitors. What most manufactures do with regard to low-end drives is that when they increase the capacity of the drive they reduce the cache memory of the drive in order to reduce cost. Believe me, cache is very important, especially when the drive capacities go beyond the 20GB mark. If the drive does not contain at least 2MB of memory the performance drop is very significant.


Seek Time (Track to track) 1.0 ms
Seek Time (Average) <9.5 ms
Seek Time (Maximum) <20.0 ms
Average Latency 5.55 ms
Rotational Speed 5,400 RPM
Controller Overhead <0.3 ms
Start Time (Stop to Drive Ready) 8.5 sec
Data Transfer Rate: To/From Interface Up to 100 MB/Sec
Data Transfer Rate: To/From Media Up to 46.7 MB/Sec
Integrated Controller/Interface Ultra ATA/100
Buffer Size 2 MB SDRAM
Operating Temperature 5 C to 55 C
Operating Mechanical Shock 30 Gs, 2 ms
Non-Operating Mechanical Shock 250 Gs, 2 ms
Acoustics: Idle Mode 3.0 bel
Power Requirements
Seek 10.6 Watts
Read/Write 5.8 Watts
Idle 5.5 Watts
Standby 1.6 Watts


The Installation procedure went smoothly with no hitches at all. Since most people who'll opt for the DiamondMax VL are budget conscious users, I will assume that most of you who are reading this haven't upgraded your PC for quite some time. If this is the case you might have trouble detecting the drive through your motherboard. You'll have to get an update for the BIOS from your manufactures site. The drive comes with an ATA 66/100 IDE cable, Installation Diskette, which includes the Max Blast software. This software is so user friendly anyone with no computer knowledge can install the drive.

Now lets go check out what the DiamondMax VL has in store for us…


Category: Storage Devices