The Drive

The Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 40 series of hard drives, builds upon its predecessor the DiamondMax 6800 series, by increasing the platter densities to 10.2 GB per platter. By increasing the platter data densities, the DiamondMax Plus 40 series is able to obtain storage capacities of up to 40.9 GB’s, as well as realize an increased data transfer rate.

In the March 2000 roundup we saw how much of an impact rotational speed has on a hard drives performance. The other major factor of course, is the data density of a disk drives platter. With all else being equal, the drive with the higher data density will offer increased performance, simply because more data is going by the read/write heads, upon every revolution.

In addition to the increased platter data densities, all of the drives in the DiamondMax Plus 40 series feature 2 MB of 100 MHz SDRAM cache memory, rotational speeds of 7200-RPM, sub 9 ms seek times, and utilize the Ultra ATA/66 interface. The DiamondMax Plus 40 series also features Maxtor’s Dual Wave twin processor technology, which reportedly gives a ten-fold increase to command processing speeds.

The DiamondMax Plus family also includes Maxtor's ShockBlock and MaxSafe features. ShockBlock, which is designed to protect the drive from any damage caused by improper handling, which would happen mainly during installation, is able to withstand up to 1,000G of short-duration shock loads, without damaging the drive.

Lets take a quick look at the complete lineup in the DiamondMax Plus 40 family:

Model Number

Formatted Capacity

Data Surfaces / Heads


10,245 MB’s



15,367 MB’s



20,490 MB’s



30,735 MB’s



40,981 MB’s


Upon reviewing the above chart, some of the information that can be gleaned from the model numbers becomes obvious. The 2nd through the 5th digits, represent the capacity of each drive model, which would be represented in 10 MB units. Thus the 1024 in the 51024U2 model number represents 1024-10 MB units, or 10,240 MB’s. The digit following the “U” represents the number of available data surfaces that each drive contains. Again, using the above example, one quickly sees that the 51024U2 model has 2 usable data surfaces. You can also see how the 10.2 GB’s per platter of data density comes into play. Using the second model number in the above chart, the 51526U3, you can see that although this drive contains two platters and therefore would have 4 available surfaces on which to record data, only 3 of them are being used.

We want to point out quickly, that we refer to one side of each platter, as a data surface. This is due to the fact that each platter can contain 2 data surfaces, one on each side of the physical platter. We bring this up because both surfaces of a platter are not always used, as shown with the 51536U3 model above. In all reality, the 15 GB model is the exact same as the 20 GB model, both of which utilize 2 platters and have a total of 4 data surfaces. However, in order to satisfy a wide spectrum of users, all of which have varying storage capacity needs, many manufactures will make an in-between unit, to help satisfy this market demand.

The reviewed drive, the Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 40 (52049U4), has a formatted capacity just shy of 20.5 GB’s and utilizes all four of its 5.1 GB data surfaces, on its twin platters This model is the middle drive in the DiamondMax Pus 40 family, and the results obtained from this drive should be fairly representative of its siblings.

All of the drives in the DiamondMax Plus 40 series are backed by Maxtor’s comprehensive 3-year warranty, which also includes Maxtor’s unique No-Quibble policy. The No-Quibble policy allows you to obtain an advance replacement drive, which is shipped in as little as 2 business days from your calling their RMA department. You then have 30 days in which to return the defective drive, allowing you to return it with a more economical shipping method. This policy allows you to get your machine back up and running quickly, without the weeks delay you may normally encounter. Maxtor does require a credit card number for the advance replacement program, however no charges are made if you return the defective drive within the 30-day window.

Index The Test

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now