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The IBM 75GXP Series vs. The IBM 120GXP Series

Introduction

Woe is me, the king has fallen. Yes, my beloved IBM 75GXP IDE series of hard drives no longer rule the roost. Yes, Western Digital has a 1200BB series, but some tests of that drive fell below IBM's older 60GXP series. In early November 2001, IBM corporate announced that their 40GB per platter competitor was ready. But you couldn't get one. Not until the third week of December could I even order one from anywhere...those lucky OEM's!

I've now had this drive for two days and I hope that the following review answers more questions than it creates. Does the new IBM king work well in overclocked systems? Is it a worthy successor the to IDE king of mid-2000? What about reliability and heat dissipation? The short answer is that IBM has outdone themselves yet again.

Factory Specifications
The 75GXP
  • 7200 RPM spindle speed
  • 15.3GB of storage capacity per disk
  • 8.5 mS average seek
  • 2MB cache buffer
  • Fast data transfer rates (up to 100 MB/s)
  • 3-year warranty



IBM

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10/10 Rating (2000)
Factory Specifications
The 120GXP
  • 7200 RPM spindle speed
  • 40GB of storage capacity per disk
  • 8.5 mS average seek
  • 2MB cache buffer
  • Fast data transfer rates (up to 100 MB/s)
  • 3-year warranty


IBM

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9/10 Rating (2002)

Installation Notes

I suppose I need to cover a few ground rules. Musts that...well...must be followed in order to achieve sustained high performance. Past IBM drives had developed (in my opinion) a bad rap for reliability and quirky performance.

It is paramount that the installation of such a special drive must careful and deliberate. Don't merely "throw" or "whip" these high speed units into a case at some strange angle with bent and twisted ATA100 cable.

Place the drive where the ambient temperature never exceeds 80-85°F. If this is not achievable with a fan blowing cool air directly across the HD, then seek another location. All high RPM drives must be kept cool. I use InWin "S" series cases and while they might look boring, the airflow is simply the best in the market. The interior temperature never exceeds 5°F above ambient (without any additional case fans).

Screw the drive into a bay that has at least 1-2 inches completely open above and below the unit. If you cram this hot rod between one or two other models, you'll end up with dead useless paperweights in no time.

Lastly, don't even think of moving your computer while the drive is operating. Those sensitive heads will smack the platters with a nice "scrrraaaatch" or scraping sound and once that happens, it's RMA time.

I have used several 15GB 75GXPs, supposedly the most problematic model, in a small college environment for well over a year. The only time one required replacement was when the case was moved and bounced while formatting. Otherwise, the 75GXP series has been and still holds great respect for me in all performance areas.

The Tests

Three types of tests were used. The first is using HDTach version 2.61 to view the STR (sustained transfer rate). This is the rate at which the drive could manipulate large files (i.e. several MB in size). The second test is from the SiSoft Sandra (v1.11.8.53) HD benchmark. Please note that scores in Windows XP are approximately 20% too low, when compared to Windows ME (just for Sandra). Multiply the XP scores by 1.2 to get the equivalent ME scores. The third test might be the most practical one. After copying the entire contents of the Windows XP Professional CD to the hard drive, I simply performed a copy and paste to another folder and timed the procedure. This will be a very realistic average of what the HD will "feel" like in every day use, such as booting up and running many standardized business applications and web browsing. These numbers will be significantly lower than the best case scenario maximum transfer rates.

 





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