hard drive history

size still matters: is there ever enough?

Maxtor Diamond Max 82560

Photo: Red Hill.

Maxtor Diamond Max 85120A

One of the biggest IDE drives on the market when it appeared, and fast too. Maxtor had struggled in the last years prior to takeover by Hyundai — we avoided the fragile 540MB, 1GB and 2GB Maxtor products — but these 5GB monsters were the start of a serious fight back. We liked them.

The rejuvenated Maxtor had done some very nice things and by this time deserved to be reinstated at the top table. Maxtor was the only major drive maker to increase market share and turn a profit in 1997 — a year of severe oversupply and very poor margins for the storage industry — and it looked as though Maxtor had found its niche. At the time we wrote that Maxtor "will probably never be the major force it used to be in the early nineties." That seemed a safe enough prediction: but Maxtor would later to surprise us almost to the point of astonishment when it took over mighty Quantum in 2001.

There was a range of drives in the Diamond Max family but the 5120 is the only model we carried here at Red Hill. We sold a modest number of these before the 6GB Seagate and IBM drives arrived. Alas, over the years since then, their reliability did not prove particularly good. Industry sources assured us that Maxtor had improved a lot since the bad old days of their 850MB and 2GB drives, and that we simply had particularly bad luck with our handful of 5120s. We were not entirely convinced and tended to avoid the brand for some time afterwards.

Data rate107 Mbit/secSpin rate5400 RPM
Seek time10msBuffer256k
Platter capacity1.27GBInterfaceIDE mode 4
Read channelPRMLHead technologyMR
81280A1.28GB2 heads
82560A2.56GB4 heads
83840A3.8GB6 heads
85120A5.1GB8 heads**