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Quantum's Atlas 10K II Ultra160 SCSI Drive
Date: Dec 15, 2001
Author: HH Editor
Quantum Atlas V 18.3Gig Ultra160 SCSI Drive - Page 1

Quantum's Atlas 10K II Ultra160 SCSI Drive
Taking advantage of all that bandwidth

8/27/00 - By  Dave "Davo" Altavilla

Interface Speed, Spindle Speed, Access Times and Data Buffers, these are the major components driving the performance levels of any given Hard Drive technology.  Not long ago we brought you a full detailed review of the latest technology in SCSI Interfaces, Ultra160 and the Quantum AtlasV Ultra160 SCSI Drive.   The months have rolled on and so has the product development cycle for Quantum.

In addition to this new found interface speed, Quantum has been making strides in the other sub-system components of their Ultra160 SCSI Drives.  The fruits of those efforts are evident in their new high end Atlas 10K II Family.  Let's have a look.

Specifications / Features Of The Quantum Atlas 10K II
Redlining at 10,000 RPM

  • Storage Capacity: 9.2 GB to 73.4 GB

  • Average Seek Time: as low as 4.7 ms

  • Rotational Speed: 10,000 RPM

  • Interface Options: Ultra160, Ultra2, Ultra SCSI 68-pin Wide, SCSI 80-pin SCA-2

  • Shock Protection System II

  • QDT - Quite Drive Technology

  • Data Protection System (DPS)

Atlas 10K II Family Line-Up

Quantum Atlas 10K II





Form Factor 3.5 inch
3.5 inch
3.5 inch
3.5 inch
Interface Ultra160, Ultra2, Ultra SCSI 68-pin Wide
Ultra160, Ultra2, Ultra SCSI 80-pin SCA-2
Formatted Capacity (MB1) 9,200

Disk Drive Configuration

Disks 2
Head/Recording Surfaces 3
Maximum Areal Density (Gb/sq. in.) 7.7

Performance Specifications

Typical Seek Times2 (ms)
Average (read) 4.7
Track-to Track 0.6
Full Stroke 12
Average Rotational Latency (ms) 3.0
Rotational Speed (RPM) 10,000
Internal Data Rate (Mb/sec) 280 to 478
Sustained Throughput (MB/sec) 24 to 40
Data Transfer Rates (Buffer-to-Host)
Ultra160 SCSI (MB/sec) 160
Ultra2 SCSI (MB/sec) 80
Ultra SCSI (MB/sec) 40
Buffer Size (MB) 8

The Atlas 10K II family has some major enhancements over the Atlas V that we reviewed back in March this year.  First, the data buffer has been doubled from 4MB to 8MB.  This should really help with the sustained throughput of the drive which is 24-40MB/sec versus the Atlas V's 17-29MB/sec.  Next, the spindle speed on the Atlas 10K, as one would expect, is 10,000 RPM.  As you may have guessed, with higher spindle speeds come faster access times.  The 10K II is the first drive we have ever tested here with an amazing sub 5ms. seek time.

The 10K II also has a higher Areal Density at 7.7Gb (gigabits) per square inch on the platters.  This means, that byte for byte, the 10K II is going to cover more data area quicker and with less effort than drives like the Atlas V.  Here is a brief comparison chart versus others in the field.  This shows the model we tested, a 36G drive, and the competition from Seagate and IBM.

In short, the  Atlas 10K sports higher densities per platter, fewer platters, deeper buffer size, faster seek times and higher sustained data rates, than these other top of the line 10,000 RPM Ultra160 SCSI drives.  There is but one other drive that can compete with these specs, the Seagate Cheetah X15.  This is a 15,000 RPM drive and is not quite available yet.  However, on paper, this could be a formidable opponent.

**Update -  8/28**
As a few readers have pointed out, the Seagate Cheetah X15 is indeed now widely available.

On the other hand, specifications are not all that you came here for.  Let's look at the "real world" performance of this hot new drive from Quantum!

Setup, Installation and Initial Performance Numbers


Quantum Atlas V 18.3Gig Ultra160 SCSI Drive - Page 2

Quantum's Atlas 10K II Ultra160 SCSI Drive
Taking advantage of all that bandwidth

8/27/00 - By  Dave "Davo" Altavilla

HotHardware's Test System
Our test bed

Full Tower ATX Case w/ 300W PS, Pentium III 933EB, Abit SE6 i815 Motherboard, 128MB Corsair PC133 CAS2 SDRAM, Quantum Atlas V 18G and Atlas 10K II 36G  Ultra160 SCSI Hard Drives, Adaptec 29160 Ultra160 64 bit PCI SCSI Card (supplied by Outside Loop Computers ), NVidia GeForce2 Ultra, Pioneer 10X DVD/40X CD ROM, Win 98SE, DirectX 7.0a

Installation and Setup on the Atlas 10K II
Ultra160 SCSI couldn't be easier

There really isn't all that much to discuss when it comes to installing a SCSI drive these days.  We used the Adaptec 29160 Ultra160 SCSI card as we did in the Atlas V review.  The drive was partitioned and formatted with Win98SE and we set it up as a blank test drive in our system booting off of a separate drive in an effort to isolate the drive from system overhead during testing and benchmarks.   In the event you were wondering what the whole set up looks like,  here is a shot of the system.

We need some tidying up! 
Click image for view of Ultra160 Cable, Drives and Adapter Card

OK, settle down you hard core Neat Freaks out there.  We realize this case needs a serious cable reorganization. What we wanted to show you was the Ultra160 SCSI cabling, the back side of the drives and the top of the Adaptec Ultra160 card.  This is basically the physical representation of our set up.  The software drivers for the Adaptec card did the rest of the work.  Even though Ultra160 SCSI is a High End Drive Subsystem, life was pretty easy going during installation.

Benchmarks With The Atlas 10K II
New levels of performance were achieved

In our first round of testing we used SiSoft's Sandra Drive Benchmark to get a baseline on this drive's I/O performance.  Here are the results.

SiSoft Sandra Hard Drive Benchmark

We have seen some RAID O Array performance numbers that were higher than this but this is by far the fastest single headed drive performance we have seen to date in the Sandra Test.  Here Sandra reports the drive's seek time at the advertised 5ms ( ok 4.7 was specified, close enough) and Sequential Read and Write Bandwidth right around the high end of the spec 40MB/sec.

This is a real good showing for first pass numbers but let's dig a little deeper.


Winmarks, Hard Drive Tach and The Rating


Quantum's Atlas 10K II Ultra160 SCSI Drive - Page 3
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