Maxtor 6Y200M0 200GB Review

The 6Y200M0 proved to be very reliable in our benchmarking tests and showed no signed of trouble...
The 6Y200M0 proved to be very reliable in our benchmarking tests and showed no signed of trouble...
The 6Y200M0 proved to be very reliable in our benchmarking tests and showed no signed of trouble...

Highs

  • Quiet operation; good seek time; Serial ATA standard

Lows

  • Only comes with a 1-year warranty

DT Editors' Rating

Home > Product Reviews > Hard Drive Reviews > Maxtor 6Y200M0 200GB Review

Summary

Maxtor’s DiamondMax Plus 9 6Y200M0 200GB hard drive is a reliable and solid performing hard drive. Because of its detailed instructions and Maxtor’s utility program, installation is simple to do and error free. Media enthusiasts will love the large 200GB of storage space and because the 6Y200M0 is very quiet, it will not interrupt you while you work. Gamers will love the speedy access times and can rest assured that the 6Y200M0 will not slow you down.

The 6Y200M0 proved to be very reliable in our benchmarking tests and showed no signed of trouble – even after prolonged use lasting several weeks. 

Introduction

When Maxtor first announced their new DiamondMax Plus 9 series of hard drives, we were impressed by their specifications. These new hard drives feature a 7200RPM spindle speed, 2MB and 8MB of cache (depending on the specific drive), 150MB/sec Serial ATA version and an 80GB platter size. What we found however, was that the first drives to hit store shelves actually had the older 60GB platters in them. This was somewhat disappointing, but the drives were still very fast and proved to be reliable which is what counts.

Today we are reviewing Maxtor’s 6Y200M0 SATA (Serial ATA) drive which features an 8MB cache buffer, a 7200RPM Spindle speed and true 80GB platters and updated firmware. The 6Y200M0 has a street price between $150 and $200 U.S. dollars depending on whether you purchase just the bare drive, or Maxtor’s retail kit. The drive we are using in this review is the boxed retail version.

Features and Design

Maxtor sort of messed up in the marketing department when it came to their new DiamondMax Plus 9 hard drives. Like we said in the introduction, Maxtor was supposed to feature 80GB platters in this series of drives from the get go. In fact Maxtor even announced they were the first storage company to introduce an 80GB high-density hard drive. As it turns out, Seagate actually introduced the first high-density drives based on the 80GB platters despite Maxtor announcing it first. The good news is that if you have not purchased a larger hard drive yet, now is the time to do so because the 6Y200M0 is using the larger 80GB platter and features updated firmware which is supposed to give better performance.

Our 6Y200M0 test drive arrived in the retail box, so the unit we are reviewing should be identical to the one you may purchase from a retailer. Maxtor includes an SATA cable, installation instructions and a utility disk so the installation process goes as smooth as possible. Maxtor includes a 1-year warranty with this drive, which is a sore subject with some enthusiasts. Manufacturers traditionally offered 3-year warranties on hard drives until a few years ago. With the release of the 8MB cache hard drives, only those higher-end models got the 3-year warranty. Now, it seems like most companies are going towards 1-year for many of their hard drives.

Performance

 In our tests we pitted the 6Y200M0 against the Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 6Y160M0 (160GB) and the Maxtor DiamondMax D540X (160GB) hard drives. The 6Y160M0 160GB drive is part of the same series as the 6Y200M0 200GB model with the exception of the platter sizes (the 6Y200M0 uses the 80GB platter versus the 60GB). As we expected, performance numbers were nearly identical. Both of these drives share the same amount of cache, interface and rotational speeds. The Maxtor DiamondMax D540X is also a 160GB size drive, but it has the 2MB cache, uses the ATA 100 interface and has a rotational speed of 5400RPM. While the DiamondMax D540X is a great value and would be perfect for a budget system, it simply lacks the speed to compete with Maxtor’s higher-end drives.

System Configurations:

Windows XP Pro SP1; AMD Athlon 2400+; Abit AT7 Max 2 motherboard; 1GB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; Maxtor 160GB Sata HDD

Features and Design (continued)

If you were to physically compare the Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 6Y160M0 160GB drive we reviewed last year to the newer 6Y200M0 we are reviewing now, you would not be able to tell the difference. We had to e-mail Maxtor to see if the 6Y200M0 features the larger platters and updated firmware. And if you look on their website or in their manual there is no mention of the size of the platters used, so if this matters to you, get ready to do your homework.

Our 6Y200M0 drive features an 8MB cache and the newer SATA (serial ATA) interface, theoretically capable of up to 150 MB/sec data transfer speeds. If you have an older computer you probably do not have a SATA compatible controller on your systems motherboard. There are add-in PCI cards which you can purchase so you can add this drive to your system. Since the 6Y200M0 also features a 7200RPM rotational speed and sub 9.3 ms (milliseconds) seek time, when you combine that with the cache and the SATA interface you should have one smoking drive on your hands.

With drives running this fast, you typically would expect a high level of noise to be associated with the faster speed. For example, when some CD and DVD burners spin up, it sounds like a rocket taking off. Luckily the 6Y200M0 features a 100% FDB (fluid dynamic bearing) motor system (branded as Maxtor’s Quiet Drive technology) to keep things quiet.

Setup and Installation

We set up the 6Y200M0 using the instructions provided with the drive. Our test system has Windows XP Professional installed on it with Microsoft’s Service Pack1 (SP1). Because we have service pack 1 installed on our computer, the operating system had no trouble recognizing the full 200GB found on the drive. If you have an older version of Windows, or do not have SP1 installed, you will need to follow extra instructions and use the utility disk which comes with the drive in order to get a full 200GB out of a single partition since older versions of Windows will not recognize a drive this large.

If you are installing this drive as the primary master drive using Windows XP, you will need to follows Maxtor’s instructions again to make sure you get the full 200GB from this drive. We installed the 6Y200M0 as a secondary drive and then formatted it using the NTFS file system through the administrative tools in our control panel. Using our method, there were no issues during the process of creating a partition and formatting it.

One thing to note is that if you are connecting a hard drive to your SATA controller and your onboard SATA controller also doubles as a RAID controller, you will most likely have to install the RAID controller drivers in Windows before it will recognize any drives connected to it. You may also have to turn on the SATA RAID controller in your motherboard BIOS as well. Most of the first motherboards to feature the SATA IDE standard integrated it into the onboard RAID controllers on their upper-end board.

Performance and Reliability

In our tests we pitted the 6Y200M0 against the Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 6Y160M0 (160GB) and the Maxtor DiamondMax D540X (160GB) hard drives. The 6Y160M0 160GB drive is part of the same series as the 6Y200M0 200GB model with the exception of the platter sizes (the 6Y200M0 uses the 80GB platter versus the 60GB). As we expected, performance numbers were nearly identical. Both of these drives share the same amount of cache, interface and rotational speeds. The Maxtor DiamondMax D540X is also a 160GB size drive, but it has the 2MB cache, uses the ATA 100 interface and has a rotational speed of 5400RPM. While the DiamondMax D540X is a great value and would be perfect for a budget system, it simply lacks the speed to compete with Maxtor’s higher-end drives.

The biggest issue that hard drives have is their reliability. Maxtor is one of the most popular hard drives in the consumer market. They can be found at the major chains like Best Buy and Circuit City and are typically very user friendly. But because there are so many of them sold, you are likely to hear from a sales rep or a friend that their drive failed them and to stay away from that particular brand. This happens with every hard drive model out there. Here is what we have done to test its reliability. We left our test system on for weeks with the 6Y160M0 running 24 hours a day. We made sure that the drive would not turn off in standby or hibernation modes on our computer. We also filled the 6Y160M0 up with data and continually stressed tested it by transferring files to and from the drive. We did not experience any issues with overheating, drive failure or corrupted data. In fact, the 6Y160M0 160GB model we used in our benchmark tests is the drive we use in our test system for everything we test that is computer hardware related. And we have experienced no issues with that drive as well.

There are two types of tests that Maxtor performs on their drives before putting any drives into the market place: Maxtor’s Shock Protection System (SPS, and Maxtor’s Data Protection System (DPS). Here is the description which Maxtor gave us, and this description is directly from them and has not been modified by us:

Maxtor’s Shock Protection System (SPS)

Maxtor’s Shock Protection System (SPS) is just one more example of the technologies that Maxtor is using to build the industry’s most reliable drives and ensure the safety of data. Maxtor tests all of its products to meet demanding specifications that exceed the environmental conditions a drive would normally experience. By studying real-world shock damage scenarios and researching new designs, Maxtor engineers are able to fine tune Maxtor’s drives for optimum ruggedness. This is significant because inappropriate drive handling, particularly during drive installation, can cause problems that may lead to long-term data integrity issues; Maxtor’s Shock Protection System takes a dramatic step forward in eliminating the key contributors to these issues.

Maxtor’s Data Protection System (DPS)

The environment within your hard drive is exceptionally clean — much cleaner, in fact, than a hospital operating room. Every Maxtor hard drive is rigorously tested before it leaves the factory to make sure that areas in which your data will be written are error free. In use however, errors can eventually be created on the disk by microscopic particles, particles generated through handling damage or by wear.

Though rare, these particles can cause data loss over time. The Maxtor Data Protection System is designed to find and correct these errors before data loss occurs. DPS literally begins checking the integrity of your data the moment it is written to the disk, and then continues this monitoring as long as the data is stored in the drive.

We would expect most hard drive manufacturers to say the same thing about how their drives are tested before hitting the market, so we want you to take these with a grain of salt. However Maxtor has put these two processes in the features section of this drive, so it is important to note that Maxtor is pointing these out. Another item worth pointing out is that Maxtor’s hard drives are also used in DVR’s (digital video recorders) and in the Microsoft Xbox (not all Xboxes, earlier versions used Seagate drives), so there has to be a certain level of reliability with these drives, especially to be used in the consumer electronics segment where replacing an internal hard drive is not as easy as it would be for a PC.

If you are worried enough about the reliability of your next hard drive, we would recommend that you visit the user reviews section of this review so you can see what other readers have to say about this particular drive. Another good place to check out user reviews is Epinions.com.

Conclusion

Maxtor’s DiamondMax Plus 9 6Y200M0 200GB hard drive is a reliable and solid performing hard drive. Because of its detailed instructions and Maxtor’s utility program, installation is simple to do and error free. Media enthusiasts will love the large 200GB of storage space and because the 6Y200M0 is very quiet, it will not interrupt you while you work. Gamers will love the speedy access times and can rest assured that the 6Y200M0 will not slow you down.

The 6Y200M0 proved to be very reliable in our benchmarking tests and showed no signed of trouble – even after prolonged use lasting several weeks.