iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






New IBM HDD Solutions

June 21, 2002

In the spring review on the situation on the IDE drive market I wrote that we shouldn't expect any new solutions from IBM in the near future. Formally I'm right - the drives with the altered index (AVVN instead of AVVA) belong to the same 120GXP aka Vancouver line, but...


As you can see, there are some differences in the appearance. And what about the specs?

Product name Deskstar 120GXP Deskstar 120GXP
Model names IC35L120AVVA07-0 IC35L080AVVA07-0 IC35L040AVVA07-0 IC35L040AVVN07-0 IC35L020AVVN07-0
Capacity (GB) 120/80/40 40/20
Data heads (physical) 6/4/2 2/1
Data disks 3/2/1 1/1
Max.areal density (Gbits/sq.inch) 29.7 29.7
Max.recording density (KBPI) 524/547 524/547
Track density (KTPI) 56.7/54 56.7/54
Data buffer 2 MBytes 2 MBytes
Rotational speed (rpm) 7,200 7,200
Latency average (ms) 4.17 4.17
Media transfer rate (max.Mbits/sec) 592 592
Sustained data rate (MB/sec) 48 to 23 (Zones 0-30) 47.5 to 22.9 (Zones 0-30)
Seek time (read, typical)
Average (ms) 8.5 8.8
Track to track (ms) 1.1 1.1
Full track (ms) 15 16
Idle (Bels) 3.0 (1 disk)
3.0 (2 disks)
3.1 (3 disks)
Height (mm) 25.4 25.4
Width (mm) 101.6 101.6
Depth (mm) 146 146
Weight (max.g) 640 640

Well, the new drives have a smaller Sustained Data Rate and a greater seek time (both Average and Full Track). In the tests this will probably result in an increased access time, reduced linear read speed and Ziff-Davis WinMarks scores. Let's check it. It seems that the AVVN disc is a little shorter, but the figures say the drives are equal. Probably, the upper lid of the AVVN is more prominent.


Access time 7200 rpm (Ziff-Davis WinBench 99)

Well, the AVVA has scored 12.5 ms (the specified time is 4.17+8.5=12.67 ms), the AVVN has it 13.1 ms (4.17+8.8=12.97 ms). The former disc has a little better results than the specified, the latter one has it worse.

Disk transfer rate 7200 rpm (Ziff-Davis WinBench 99)

Nothing unexpected. Just a small deviation from the specifications.

Look at the diagrams.



As expected, we have all the same, only a bit lower :)

Now comes a standard suite of applications.

Well, there is nothing to be said...

Intel IOMeter 7200 rpm

It's interesting that at the average load the AVVN disc is a little ahead. But on the whole the results are almost equal. The complete results can be found in the table.

And now the temperature mode. Contrary to my expectations the temperatures of both drives measured with the DTemp utility after the Intel IOMeter test turned out to be almost equal - 42 degrees C (the room temperature was ~23 degrees C). Note that we compared the one-platter and three-platter drives.


So, what do we have? The new incarnation of the IBM drives loses to the senior solution in all aspects. I don't understand why the company released such a model taking into account that it doesn't do much business on the OEM market. And customers received a cheaper drive of a less size from IBM.

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