The PC seems to be going through something of a sea change at the moment, with Intel’s Grantsdale and Alderwood chipsets bringing bandwidth enhancements across the board.
Now Maxtor has upped the stakes for hard disks. Its new Serial ATA MaXLine III range will feature a record breaking 16MB of cache – an industry first. Cache is a small amount of memory that stores frequently accessed data to help speed up response time.
Aimed at the data archive and workstation market, Maxtor claims that the MaXLine III family will meet the enterprise standard of 1 million hours mean time to failure (MTTF). The drives feature a three platter design, spin at 7,200rpm and will be available in 250GB or 300GB capacities. They will also offer new S-ATA II features such as native command queuing (NCQ). When used in conjunction with supporting chipsets such as the new 9xxx series from Intel, this technology should ensure a significant performance boost.
Native Command Queuing allows multiple commands to be outstanding within a drive at the same time. These can be rescheduled or re-ordered on-the-fly, so that they are dealt with in the most efficient manner. NCQ also has a mechanism that allows the host to issue additional commands to the drive while the drive is seeking data for another command.
Other enhancements include staggered spin up. This minimises the power surge when the drive spins up, which should help to increase reliability.
The drives won’t be available untill the middle of July when we’ll be bringing you a full review.