Maxtor aims at I/O

Maxtor Corp. officials are tackling input/output bottlenecks, one of the most persistent problems affecting PC systems' performance, with a new series of Serial Advanced Technology Attachment drives that include much native command queuing and larger-than-normal buffer sizes.

Those features, together with a second processor to take care of data transfer, allow the drive to self-balance system workloads and help PC systems better run multiple high-demand applications, such as graphics-intensive programs, without being overwhelmed, company officials said.

The new Maxtor DiamondMax 10 drives, which have capacities of up to 300G, include a 16M buffer, which is significantly larger than that on most other PC hard drives.

Native command queuing may be the most significant addition to the Serial ATA drives. The technology was only in larger storage systems until recently, but it's now migrating to the desktop.

A hard drive with native command queuing can store multiple commands at the same time, and, based on workloads, dynamically reschedule those commands to allow for the most efficient movement of data depending on the demands of the applications running on the PC.

With drives that use native command queuing, users experience much faster boot times and file transfers, said Sunil Kumar, director of chipset and software marketing at Intel Corp., whose chipsets and Matrix Storage Technology are used in the new Maxtor drives.

Prices for the Serial ATA drives, which are shipping now, have not been announced.

A parallel ATA version will be available at the end of the third quarter of this year, Maxtor officials said.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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