Maxtor – 17.2GB DiamondMax 4320 review

EIDE hard drive
Photo of Maxtor – 17.2GB DiamondMax 4320
£315 + VAT

Upgrading PCs isn’t quite as popular as it used to be, mainly because prices have dropped so much that in many cases it’s easier and cheaper to buy a new PC and sell the old one. There’s one exception to that rule, however. Where hard drive capacity is concerned, too much is never enough. 4GB may have seemed enough a year ago, but not any more. Once you start getting warnings about low hard drive space, there are two options; judicious pruning of irrelevant files and applications (too much like hard work) or installation of a new hard drive.

Assuming you’ve chosen the latter route, you might as well go for broke. 17.2GB should be enough to keep you going for a while, unless you regularly copy DVD disks to your drive. Maxtor gets that capacity by squeezing 4.3GB onto each disk platter, helped by magneto-resistive heads. Other capacities in the range include 4.3GB and 15.1GB drives. And these are all UltraDMA drives, which means that they can be connected via EIDE cable to the motherboard of virtually any new-ish PC.

Maxtor rarely makes much of a fuss about performance, and there are quicker drives on the market. But not by much: the use of a 512KB SDRAM data buffer and 5,400rpm spindle speed gives the DiamondMax 4320 a 9ms average seek time, which is pretty impressive. More important, however, is that the drive is supplied as a full retail upgrade pack. That means you get a nice shiny box containing the drive itself, some mounting rails and screws, an EIDE cable, a simple installation manual and a copy of Maxtor’s MaxBlast software, an installation tool that is also a drive overlay for use with systems that won’t natively support the huge capacity of this drive (ie. most of those over 18 months old).

Company: Maxtor

Contact: 01923 712448


Verdict
This is a retail upgrade pack, so it's not quite as cheap as some other solutions. But for the extra cash you get all the necessary drive installation hardware, plus an installation guide and drive overlay software. Installing a hard drive is not quite child's play, but if you're handy with a screwdriver and can program the video, you should be able to install this one.