Maxtor Diamondmax 10/300 & Hitachi 7K250 Hard Drives

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May 12, 2005 by Devon Cooke and Mike Chin

Maxtor DiamondMax 10 6B300S0
300GB, 7200 RPM Hard drive
Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 HDS722525VLSA80
250GB, 7200 RPM Hard drive
Maxtor Corporation Hitachi Global Storage Technology
Market Price
~US$220 ~US$130

SPCR has been recommending notebook drives to those who seek the quietest hard drives for about a year. However, notebook drives are expensive, lower capacity, and cannot be easily mounted in most cases. For most people, 3.5" drives are still the most feasible compromise between cost, size and noise level.

We recently unveiled a comprehensive improved methodology for assessing hard drive noise. Two of the first drives to be tested with this methodology are Maxtor's DiamondMax 10 and the Deskstar 7K250 from Hitachi Global Storage Technology. These products reflect recent trends in the hard drive market, including Fluid Dynamic Bearing motors, SATA interface, and ever-increasing capacity.

DiamondMax 10 is Maxtor's latest and greatest desktop line. It features a large 16MB cache on higher capacity models and supports some features of the newer SATA-II standard, including native command queuing (NCQ). Our sample is the flagship of the line, the triple platter, 300GB model with SATA interface.

MAXTOR DIAMONDMAX 10 (quoted from Maxtor's web site)

Serial ATA/150 and Ultra ATA/133 interfaces

NCQ is not available on the PATA model.

Native command queuing for enhanced efficiency

Most useful for server applications; can reduce desktop performance.

Quiet Drive Technology for acoustics-sensitive applications

No other details given.

Whisper-quiet fluid dynamic bearing motors

Now standard on most drives.
Maxtor Shock Protection and Data Protection Systems for greater reliability
Again, no details given.

RoHS compliant version available

RoHS is a European environmental standard. We're not sure why they bother making a non-RoHS version.

The Deskstar 7K250 series has been on the market for longer than the DiamondMax and is no longer Hitachi's top line, which now offers up to half a terabyte of storage capacity. Even though the largest model in the 7K250 series comes close to the capacity of the DiamondMax 10, its price reflects its position in Hitachi's lineup. It is sold on noise, power consumption and reliability instead of state-of-the-art performance, although in our experience, Hitachi (and previously IBM) drives have always been speedy. As with the Maxtor, we are testing the flagship of the line, which is three platters, 250GB and also uses SATA.

HITACHI GLOBAL STORAGE TECHNOLOGY 7K250 (quoted from Hitachi's web site)

Award-winning, 7200 RPM performance for better throughput in a variety of applications, backed by industry-leading benchmark performance

The standard we-make-fast-drives feature.

Serial ATA and parallel ATA interfaces available

Performance (and noise) are close to identical.

Capacities up to 250GB

Useful for large video files or databases.

Low power design reduces system costs and drives high reliability in ATA-RAID and other multiple drive systems

Also allows the drive to run cooler.
Quiet operating modes for easy integration
into noise-sensitive environments
A fancy way of saying it supports AAM.


The specifications below are specific to models that we examined. Capacity, cache size, platter number, interface, and even performance vary from model to model even within a single product line. Acoustics and power dissipation also vary depending on the number of platters in the drive; smaller capacity drives tend to have fewer platters, and tend to produce less noise and use less power.

Manufacturers' Specifications
HDD Model
Maxtor DiamondMax 10 6B300S0
Hitachi 7K250 HDS722525VLSA80
300 GB
250 GB
16 MB
8 MB
Rotation Speed
7,200 RPM
7,200 RPM
4.17 ms
4.17 ms
Average Seek
<9.0 ms
8.5 ms
Start/Stop cycles
Operating Temperature
0 - 60°C
5 - 55°C
Acoustics: Idle / AAM seek / normal seek
2.9 / 3.0 / 3.8 Bel
3.0 / 3.1 / 3.4 Bel (Idle)

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