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Quantum Atlas V 18.3Gig Ultra160 SCSI Drive
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Date: Dec 15, 2001
Section:Storage
Author: HH Editor
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Quantum Atlas V 18.3Gig Ultra160 SCSI Drive - Page 1
 

Quantum's Atlas V Ultra160 SCSI Hard Drive
SCSI One-Ups EIDE Again!

3/17/00 - By, Dave "Davo" Altavilla

We've said this before and we'll say it again, your hard drive is one of the slowest parts of your computer.  Or is it?  Let's take a look at today's computer technology and the speed ratings for various types of components.  Let's see, your main system memory is rated in Nanoseconds.  Your Processor's clock frequency is rated in MHz  Your Graphics card is also measured in MHz for the processor and Nanoseconds for the memory.  Then there is the Hard Drive its access time ( the time it takes for the drive controller to gain access to data on the drive) is rated in Milliseconds.  We aren't going to do the math for you here but "Nano" is one billionth of a second.  "Milli" is one thousandth of a second.  You get the picture.  One of the best performance enhancements you can make to your computer, whether you are into Video Production or Gaming,  is speeding up your storage system. 

Just as the MHz. War has been raging between the various chip suppliers, the Interface Bandwidth War has been raging between the two major camps, EIDE and SCSI.  SCSI always seems to be one step ahead of EIDE and this time is no different.  This is a look at the all new Quantum Atlas V Ultra160 SCSI Drive.  You guessed it.  The "160" here stands for 160MB/sec maximum bus transfer rate.    That is over 2X the current top end bandwidth of EIDE's DMA66 interface. 

Here are the rest of the details...

Specifications / Features Of The Quantum Atlas V
A 7200 RPM and Ultra160 Combo

 

Capacity

9.1

18.3

36.7

Form Factor

3.5 inch

3.5 inch

3.5 inch

Interfaces

Ultra160/m, Ultra2, Ultra SCSI 68-pin Wide

Ultra160/m, Ultra2, Ultra SCSI 80-pin SCA-2

Formatted Capacity (MB2)

9,100

18,300

36,700


Disk Drive Configuration
Number of platters

1

2

4

Head/Recording Surfaces

2

4

8

Bytes per Sector

512

512

512

Maximum Areal Density (Gb/sq. in.)

6.5

6.5

6.5

Encoding/Detection Method

24/25 RLL PRML

24/25 RLL PRML

24/25 RLL PRML


Performance Specifications
Typical Seek Times3 (ms)
Average (read)

6.3

6.3

6.3

Track-to Track

0.8

0.8

0.8

Full Stroke

15

15

15

Average Rotational Latency (ms)

4.17

4.17

4.17

Rotational Speed (RPM)

7,200

7,200

7,200

Internal Data Rate (Mb/sec)

194 to 340

194 to 340

194 to 340

Sustained Throughput (MB/sec)

17 to 29

17 to 29

17 to 29

Data Transfer Rates
(Buffer-to-Host)
Ultra160/m SCSI (MB/sec)

160

160

160

Ultra2 SCSI (MB/sec)

80

80

80

Ultra SCSI (MB/sec)

40

40

40

Buffer Size (MB)

4

4

4

  • Shock Protection System II
  • QDT - Quite Drive Technology
  • Data Protection System (DPS)

 
The picture above is a view of the 36Gig version with the lid off.  We tested the 18 Gig version with two 9 Gig platters inside.  To say the least, this is an impressive set of specs.  The notable points are the huge 4MB Data Buffer size, high density 9Gig Platters, and blistering fast 6.3ms access.  Toss in the all new Ultra160 SCSI interface and we have a winner on paper. 

So we decided to see how it looked when we set it up.  Of course we had to put some new silicon behind this new drive.  That's where Adaptec's new 29160 SCSI Card comes in.

 

 

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Quantum Atlas V 18.3Gig Ultra160 SCSI Drive - Page 2
 

Quantum's Atlas V Ultra160 SCSI Hard Drive
SCSI One-Ups EIDE Again!

3/17/00 - By, Dave "Davo" Altavilla

Test System
HotHardware's Set up with a new twist

Full Tower ATX Case w/ 300W PS, Pentium III 500E overclocked to 750MHz. (supplied by Outside Loop Computers), Tyan S1854 Trinity 400 Motherboard, 128MB PC133 HSDRAM from EMS, Quantum Atlas V 18G Ultra160 SCSI Hard Drive, Adaptec 29160 Ultra160 64 bit PCI SCSI Card (also supplied by Outside Loop Computers ), Elsa Erazor X2, Pioneer 10X DVD/40X CD ROM, Win 98SE, DirectX 7.0a

 

Installation / Setup With The Ultra160 SCSI Interface
Typical SCSI, painless...
Life was good indeed, when we set up the Atlas V on our new Adaptec 29160 card.  The usual concerns for proper termination need to be observed but other than that, things couldn't be easier.  Of course you do require an Ultra160 SCSI Card like the Adaptec, to run this drive at the new Ultra160 spec.  However, it also supports legacy Ultra2 and Ultra SCSI connections.  Ultra2 will give you a max burst transfer rate of 80BM/sec and Ultra SCSI gives you 40MB/sec.  So you ask, "why not go top notch with Ultra160"?  Our sentiments exactly. 

Here is a shot of the Adaptec 29160 Ultra160 Card that we used for the tests.

Click image

That is some serious hardware you are looking at!  This card is a 64 bit PCI card.  Take a look at the edge connector.  It has twice the number of pins as a standard 32 bit card.  However, you can plug the 29160 into to any standard 32 bit PCI 2.1 compliant slot.  You'll still get Ultra160 performance but Adaptec notes 64 bit PCI will give you optimal performance.  Unfortunately, there aren't any standard PC motherboards that support this yet.  As you may know, this is in the works currently.  In any event, we had no performance issues with a 32 PCI set up. More on this later.

 

Also, take a look at the Ultra160 LVDSE Cable!  Talk about pin/wire count! 

Click image


The drive partitioned and formatted quickly and Windows 98SE recognized the drive as having the full 18.3 Gig capacity.  This was a refreshing change as some of the other drives we have tested, fell slightly short of their specified capacity after set up.  Quantum gives you the full specified capacity here. 

A Word On QDT

Quantum's new Quite Drive Technology (QDT) is more than just a marketing gimmick.  Once we had the drive set up and running, it was amazing to actually hear the difference versus one of our WD DMA66 drives.   The only way I can explain it was that the drive sounds muffled.  The Atlas V actually sounds like it is encased tighter with better sound dampening construction within the unit.  This is definitely the quietest drive I have ever heard.

The drive also runs fairly cool.  It is warm to the touch but not hot when under heavy use.  While idle in our case (which admittedly has lots of ventilation) it remained cool.

 

The numbers don't lie...  Benchmarks this way!

 
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