The Maxtor claims seek times “as low as 3.0ms”, but does not provide a full set of specs (at least not readily available on the web site). Since seek time is a relatively meaningless spec, it’s hard to draw any conclusions about how the Maxtor would compare to the Raptor. Which is why I’d like to see real words tests on it for access times and multitasking tests.
The Raptor specs offered are much more detailed, but still only relative seek times.
The Maxtor is rated up to 98MB/sec sustained transfer, which is not too exciting. Better than the Raptor (`75) but probably not too noticable in most cases.
I don’t think I’d turn down a free Maxtor though, but I doubt I’d feel much difference over the Raptors.
For the uninitiated: “seek time” is the time it takes for the head to move to the location of the requested read or write. Add this to the time it takes for the platter to spin around to the requested sector and you have access time. Higher RPM should lower the access time, but in the real world it does not always do this. The biggest impact of the higher RPM is in the sustained transfer. But unless the data being transferred is continuous on the platter, you may not even see that benefit.
So the drive with the fastest access times always wins in real world tests, because we all have fragmented files and multiple tasks going on. When multitasking or dealing with a fragmented file, the drive with a faster access time can even beat a drive with faster transfer rates.
You’ll also notice in the specs that drives function very differently, speed-wise, when writing than when reading. Speeds can be very different. Personally, I’d prefer faster write speed and slower read speed over the opposite, but you rarely see this. When transferring from one drive to another, it’s always the writing drive that is controlling the speed of the transfer. When reading and writing on the same drive, it’s the access time that will make it seem slow or fast. (and the size of the cache).