hard drive history

1999: maturity

Quantum Bigfoot TS

Photo: Red Hill.

Quantum Bigfoot TS

Traditionally, Quantum's long-running range of 5.25 inch Bigfoot drives was fairly cheap but very slow. In the trade they were known, not unfairly, as the "Quantum Slugfoot". We never liked them much and never sold them new. Odd ones got traded-in from time to time, and we tried to find a suitable, performance-insensitive use for them. Despite poor performance and some early teething troubles, Bigfoot drives were usually reasonably reliable, and the Bigfoot idea was an interesting concept which is explored further here.

The Bigfoot TS is listed here just for interest. Introduced in Winter 1999, it was the last and fastest Bigfoot (or the least slow Bigfoot, at any rate). Like others in its family, it was very little cheaper than other entry-level drives (notably the Seagate Medalist range) and only worth considering if price was the only thing you cared about.

This last Bigfoot was eventually replaced by the much superior Quantum Fireball LCT: a 3.5 inch drive with a very old-fashioned 4400 RPM spin rate — nothing else spun so slowly by that time — but a surprisingly decent performer.

Bigfoots often had quite good data transfer rates, and their seek times, while poor, were not all that far off the mark, but the slow spin rate of the big 5.25 inch disc resulted in very high latency. A Bigfoot was always noticeably slower than a comparable drive of the standard type, vastly slower than the best standard drives, and even more so than the raw performance figures suggest.

Most Bigfoot drives went into rather nasty little supermarket-brand computers (we need not mention names such as Hewlett-Packard or Compaq!) though it is surprising sometimes to see the otherwise well-credentialed machines they sometimes turned up in. Less surprising was the delight most Slugfoot owners would show when they got their system home after a hard drive upgrade and discovered how much faster it was.

Performance1.05Reliabilityno data
Data rate168 Mbit/secSpin rate4000 RPM
Seek time10.5msBuffer512k
Platter capacity6.4GBInterfaceATA-33
TS 6.46.42GB2 MR heads
TS 8.48.45GB3 MR heads
TS 12.712.84GB4 MR heads
TS 19.219.26GB6 MR heads