Our Summary & Conclusion
The performance improvement offered by NCQ and a faster SATA interface on the Maxtor DiamondMax 10 line of drives is more evolutionary than revolutionary when compared to the DiamondMax 9. And these new features are still not enough for the new Maxtor drives to take the overall performance spot from the Western Digital WD740GD Raptor drives.
However, when pairing the new NCQ enabled Maxtor DiamondMax 10 drives with the Intel ICH7 integrated RAID controller in the right combinations and quantities, some very impressive performance numbers start to emerge. The maximum theoretical combined transfer rate of three Maxtor DiamondMax 10 drives is 450 MB/s. In a RAID 0 configuration with a 4K stripe size, we recorded a burst speed of 343 MB/s, which is about 75% of the theoretical limit.
When configured in RAID 0, the Maxtor drives have faster performance and almost 5 times the capacity of a pair of Raptors. When you factor in the nearly $50 lower price tag on the Maxtor drives, the choice for both performance and capacity is clear. Overall, we were impressed by the value of Maxtor's DiamondMax 10 drives and would recommend them to anyone looking for a high-performing, high-capacity hard drive. And if you've got the funds, and a controller capable of RAID, performance can be increased dramatically by running two or more of these drives in a striped array. We're giving the 250GB Maxtor DiamondMax 10 hard drives a solid 9 on the Heat Meter.