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If you’re upgrading your hard disk because your current drive isn’t fast enough, look no further than IBM's Deskstar 120GXP. This Ultra-ATA/100 drive was the fastest in our tests, beating products with higher-bandwidth interfaces to come out head and shoulders above the rest. All this while delivering the equal lowest cost per megabyte among the internal drives in this review.
We reviewed the 120GB version of the Deskstar 120GXP (80, 40 and 20GB models are also available). This 7,200rpm drive has a claimed 8.5ms average seek time and sustained data transfer rate of up to 48MB/s. The drive’s Business Disk WinMark 99 score of 12,900 and High-End Disk WinMark score of 31,700 show that not only is it faster than all of the competition, but it’s also equally at home with mainstream and high-end workloads. We can confidently state that you’ll notice the speed difference between this and other drives in use.
The Deskstar 120GXP's interface is Ultra-ATA/100, which although not the fastest available, is still more than enough to cope with the drive’s maximum sustained transfer rate. SMART fault reporting is supported, providing you have a SMART-capable drive controller. If you use this facility correctly, it should prevent you losing data through hard disk failure.
IBM has developed many hard disk technologies in recent years that have pushed capacities and speeds upwards. The Deskstar 120GXP features glass disk platters, which have a smoother surface and are stiffer than aluminium platters. IBM claims that the smoothness allows the read/write heads to get closer to the disk, reducing errors, while the stiffness reduces the drive’s susceptibility to shock. Also included is a buffer management system aimed at delivering the maximum data transfer rate whenever possible.
You can get higher capacity drives than this, and you can get cheaper drives than this, but the Deskstar 120GXP delivers the best combination of pounds per gigabyte on test. If you want high speed without going to expensive 10,000 or 15,000rpm drives, then the Deskstar 120GXP is an excellent choice. Great value and great performance add up to a compelling choice if you need an internal hard disk upgrade.