We don’t review hard drives very often on IT Reviews, mainly because the days when end-users regularly upgraded their drives are fading into distant memory. Most new PCs come with hard drives so large that the rest of the machine is likely to be obsolete long before the hard drive fills up. This is because the cost per megabyte of drives has plummeted in recent years, so PC manufacturers can afford to be more generous when building their PCs. But some drives still are worth a mention and this is one of them.
There’s nothing much in the spec to give an indication that the MPG3409AH-E should perform particularly well. It’s a 7,200rpm drive with a quoted average seek time of 8.5ms for read operations and 9.5ms for write operations. It has two platters, four read/write heads and a 2MB data buffer. Just the sort of spec, in other words, that you’d find in a wide range of EIDE desktop drives from several manufacturers. The capacity – 40GB – is sufficient but not excessive for the desktop market, and the price is reasonable.
Yet somehow, this drive manages to perform exceptionally well. Compared with other, similar drives we’ve seen, it has better sustained data transfer rates and better real-world random access times too. Given that the specifications are nothing out of the ordinary, we can only assume that the buffering algorithm has been tweaked to match desktop operations better than its competitors.
The MPG3409AH-E comes with disk manager tools for partitioning and formatting, plus diagnostics software that lets you tweak some of the more obscure settings. That’s the lot, though; there are no drive mounting screws, cables or other paraphernalia in the box. The drive is SMART-compliant and comes with a three year RTB warranty.
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