Storage Review heeft een review van de 20,4Gb grote Maxtor DiamondMax VL20 neer gemikt. Deze ATA66 schijf heeft een 5400rpm rotatiesnelheid, 512Kb cache en richt zich op het low-end segment. De reviewer vergelijkt de VL20 met de DiamondMax 40 (met 2Mb cache):
Conclusion? Well, the VL20 is certainly doesn't match the performance of the DM40. Who would expect this to be the case, however? Maxtor would be in somewhat of a quandary if this were the case. What is interesting, however, is that the VL20 significantly lags behind another seemingly identical drive lacking only the other drive's larger buffer. The way we see it, readers can draw one of three different conclusions from these results:
- Despite presented evidence to the contrary, buffer size has a significant impact, especially when the difference is fourfold as is the case here. Or
- Despite what Maxtor implies, the DiamondMax 40 features significantly better electronics/firmware that allows it to maintain an edge. Cynics will like to point out that it probably involves more effort and/or cost to "cripple" the VL20. Or
- The VL20's firmware is optimized for 2 megs of buffer rather than 512k and thus suffers more of a performance loss than it should. This last conclusion, incidentally, matches our own conclusion in a previous article: Increasing a drive's buffer size results in little performance increase without firmware optimization. Inversely, decreasing a drive's buffer size without tailoring the drive's electronics around it results in a disproportionately large drop in performance.