Maxtor's DiamondMax 11 hard drive

All the way to 11?

SEAGATE RECENTLY ACQUIRED MAXTOR in a stock deal worth close to $2 billion, but instead of assimilating the company and its products, Seagate looks prepared to let the Maxtor name live on. With Maxtor increasingly focused on external storage devices, there isn't as much overlap between the two companies' product lines as there once was. However, there's still plenty of potential for clashing on the desktop hard drive front, where Maxtor's DiamondMax 11 sits opposite Seagate's latest Barracudas.

The DiamondMax 11 has everything you'd expect from a current-generation desktop Serial ATA drive, including a fluid dynamic bearing motor to lower noise levels, 500GB of capacity, a 16MB cache, and support for 300MB/s transfer rates and Native Command Queuing (NCQ). Maxtor's NCQ implementation has proven to be particularly potent in the past, as well; the DiamondMax 10 is approaching two years old, but it's had no problem keeping up with the multitasking performance of even Western Digital's most recent Raptors.

Can the DiamondMax 11 extend Maxtor's streak of surprising multitasking dominance? How does the drive compare with the latest competition, including its new step-siblings from Seagate? Newegg hooked us up with a 500GB DiamondMax 11 so we could find out, and we've run it through our grueling series of hard drive tests—with surprising results.

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