Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor? Or Maxtum?

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According to Western analysts, modern data storage market is experiencing a real explosion. Incomes are rising faster than revenue from servers and microprocessors. Today's consumers spend on storage devices as much as on the computational power of computers, and in the next few years, these costs will exceed three times the actual spending on calculators. In 2000, sales of hard disk drives totaled more than 30 billion. Dollars, and by 2003 they will rise at least another 40-50 percent. Now sold in the world every month nearly 20 million. Drives of all types (the bulk of the accounts for the OEM supply), and the market potential drives in consumer electronics (Internet terminals, video game consoles, video / audio tape) in the near future estimated to be an order of magnitude Great!


Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?


Height container plates
3.5-inch IDE-drives.

If you have not imbued with the importance of the problem, here are some interesting figures. The total volume of the installed worldwide disk storage is doubling every year (estimate, which is still the basis of the data of the previous section), and a new digital content (in all its forms) is growing annually at 230%! While only 2% of the world's information is stored in digital form, and only 5% of the world population connected to the Internet. Thus, the market potential is huge drives, and now even it is strange to think that there ever can occur saturation! Average capacitance drives in recent years is doubled every year, and the unit cost of megabytes proportionally reduced. And the source of all this throng filling petabytes (pet - a ten to the fifteenth power) now serves not only the software or database (although their volumes are also growing very rapidly), but a diverse multimedia content, and "friendly shell."


Section market drives
(Number of units sold)
in the second half of 2000:


Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?

for all types of discs


Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?

wheels for PC


Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?

Drives for servers

However, hard disks are inherent market same disease as the rest of the computer industry segments. It periodically "reeling" from the oversupply, dumping lower prices (as, for example, the market SDRAM), and so on. N. In this case, the profit rate sometimes drops below acceptable limits (almost to minus), and manufacturers suffer tangible losses. This is despite the fact that the main players in the market hard drives not so much: Seagate Technology, Fujitsu, IBM, Maxtor, Quantum and Western Digital (the rest do not do the weather). Seagate still was the largest empire vinchesternoy (see., Eg, diagrams equity companies in the sales drive in the second half of 2000), less than others to suffer from these diseases. The giant IBM, which has a reputation as a technology leader and traditional derives its profits primarily in other industry sectors, too resistant to such whims. But for the rest of the market shocks are sometimes very noticeable. Fujitsu recently announced the phase-out of some areas of drives, Western Digital and Quantum in the pursuit of the number of CDs sold periodically forced to dump, losing considerable percentage of the profit (still alive in the memory of the crisis year 1999). A Quantum at one time was even close to bankruptcy.

As a consequence of the struggle for the reduction in price, one of the strategic directions in the current HDD manufacturers is to develop a very simplified storage, the cost of which would be as low as possible. Of course, this can not affect the rate and, possibly, the reliability of drives. The examples are not far to seek - in the arsenal of most of the major players have the representatives of the "snail".


Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?


Share drives with different
rotational speed of the PC market.

On the other hand, rapid technological change drives in the past few years, these companies are forced to invest huge amounts of money in research and development of new products. Just look at the growth charts recording density and speed in recent years. Although each new generation disks lives only half a year, and hope for its self-sufficiency in these conditions is extremely difficult. I note in passing that IBM is act rationally others - skipping part of the "steps" high road, it is less likely to produce new models, but puts them in more new products and outstanding characteristics allow them to be competitive throughout the year.

To reduce development costs, and the costs for the organization of production, sales and technical service can bring together several companies. This way and decided to go two "disk" giant - Maxtor and Quantum, announced 4 October 2000 on their merger. More precisely, the purchase "vinchesternogo" units Quantum HDD (one of the oldest manufacturers of disc based in Silicon Valley more than 20 years ago) by Maxtor. New supergiant inherit, of course, the name of the buyer, although a number of top managers from the clan rivals jokingly call it Quaxtor 'th (since the market share of Quantum drives a little more). Well, in my opinion, Maxtum it would still be harmonious and equitable.

The decision on the merger was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is supported by Hyundai Electronics America (holder of 35 percent of shares of Maxtor), and led the "conclave" former president and CEO (chief executive officer) Maxtor Mike Cannon (Mike Cannon). The transaction will be tax-free, Quantum HDD Group shareholders will receive for each share for 1.52 shares of the company Maxtor, that under the current market capitalization is approximately $ 2.3 billion. The combined company will inherit sixteen (!) Due Quantum c its manufacturing partner - Matsushita-Kotobuki Electronics Industries, as well as, of course, the manufacturer Maxtor drives in Singapore.

Division of Quantum DSS (DLT & Storage System Group), are not engaged in hard disk will be allocated to an independent company, retaining the name of Quantum Corporation. It will be headed by former CEO Quantum Michael Brown (Michael A. Brown). In February 2001 the unit acquired for 56 million. Dollars a small English company M4 Data with a staff of 130 people, engaged in high-performance systems tape automation (Autoloaders, robots-graders), which will allow Quantum to increase the specific capacity of their products, and consumers streamers from Quantum reduce the cost of storing their data archives.

After the final completion of the transaction between Maxtor and Quantum (expected in late March - early April), the new company will be the largest manufacturer of hard drives with annual sales of more than 50 million discs worth more than $ 6 billion (almost one-third of the total market by the number of disk pieces!) And more importantly, with the strongest financial balance among competitors. It is also expected reduction in annual costs 120-200 million. Dollars over the next one and a half to two years by saving duplicate costs.

Update Maxtor company will have the richest set (and the largest segment of the market. See the diagram above) IDE disks for desktop computers and consumer electronics (here will also help the rich business communication Quantum, and promoted brand Quantum Fireball drives remain in the new product lines) It penetrates finally market SCSI disks and high-performance servers for the famous family of discs Quantum Atlas 10K with rotation speed of 10000 rpm. / min. (Remember that does not make itself Maxtor drives SCSI), as well as strengthen market position of network storage (Network-attached storage) servers, through its family MaxAttach, as a direct competitor to weaken in the face of Quantum Snap Server. Engage drives for mobile computers the company has no plans.

The merger is not too concerned about the competition. Thus, CEO Western Digital Meysendzhil Matt (Matt Massengill) said it - a favorable event, because now companies undercut will be one less (and Quantum in this sense has been very active). About the same position is shared by the top managers of Seagate: one competitor was less so, and it will be easier to negotiate. Although Seagate and so was always confident in their abilities, especially after converting the spring of 2000.


Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?


The dynamics of the company's business Maxtor
over the past two years.

Company Maxtor finished fiscal year 2000 with outstanding (according to Mike Cannon) results. Net income amounted to 27 cents per share, while 1999 ended with a loss of 48 cents per share. In the last quarter of 2000, 7.4 million were sold. Drives, which greatly exceeds all previous figures (see. Chart). CD sales have grown largely due to distributors and retail supply, while the share of OEM decreased slightly. In addition, little has changed and the geography of sales: if earlier Maxtor drives the lion's share (over 70%) was implemented in the United States, is now on sale in Europe and Asia accounted for more than half of the total. Moreover, the situation in Moscow shops can conclude that Maxtor is gradually emerging on the Eastern European market, which can not but rejoice.

For the past year, Quantum has been less successful in the second half quite starved of new IDE drive with a density of 20 GB per platter (a problem with the supply of components) and in the third fiscal quarter of Quantum even lost 4 cents per share (taking into account the cost of the union companies). However, now the situation had improved, and sales of new seventhousanders Quantum FireballPlus AS underway, often at a price lower than the competition.

The first time after the merger of production, the drive models and distribution channels will be divided in accordance with the current state of affairs, but closer to the end of 2001. The major changes are outlined in the strategy and supply chain, and in the product range. Let's see what this union can promise us, the end users (except for a small rise in price supports). Of course, it is too early to predict changes in the lines drives. SCSI series products Atlas, most likely, the first years will develop in the same way as before. But in a segment of the IDE can be significant changes. The fact is that the IDE line from Maxtor and Quantum hard enough overlap, and the new company does not make sense to compete with itself.

Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?
At the moment, in the portfolio at Maxtor has its own three (if not four) most modern IDE-class drives for all market segments (see. Table). First, it drives the middle class DiamonMax 80 with rotation speed of 5400 rev. / Min., 2 MB buffer, special DSP-controller and IDE-largest model in the world with a capacity of 81.9 GB. Quantum analog of them have not. Then - in economy class drives DiamondMax VL40: 5400 too. / Min., The plates for 20 GB, 2 MB buffer, but the design is simplified and a little more time searching. In principle, the series Quantum Fireball lct20 can be considered an analogue of them indirectly, but at last the lower rotation speed (4500 rev. / Min.), Slow search (12 ms) and very small cache (128 KB for all specifications), which drastically reduces their overall performance compared to VL40.



Series drives


Capacity models
GB


Spindle speed,
vol. / min.


Cash,
KB


Average seek time,
ms


DiamondMax Plus 60


10-60


7200


2048


<8.7


DiamondMax 80


61, 82


5400


2048


9


DiamondMax VL40


10-41


5400


2048


9.5


Maxtor 531DX


10, 15


5400


2048


15


Quantum FireballPlus AS


10-60


7200


2048


8.5


Quantum Fireball lct20


10-40


Sub-7200 (4500)


128


12



Series IDE-drives from Maxtor and Quantum companies with a recording density of at least 20 GB per platter.

In fact, just look at the graphs of linear reading speed of these drives that would ensure 40 per cent superiority Maxtor VL40 (29,8 Mill. Bytes / s vs. 21.6 in Quantum lct20). And it is at the same recording density!


Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?


Charts reading speed drives
economic series for WinBench 99 (in millions of. bytes / sec).

A similar pattern is observed for the average search time: 15.7 ms at Maxtor against 18.5 ms at Quantum. However, here it should be noted that the disks Maxtor DiamondMax VL40 often come with already activated option "quiet seek" and average seek time thus is large enough - 21.6 ms. But nothing prevents the user to translate the drive mode to quick search (utility amset.exe site www.maxtor.com). This noise increases very little research (with a "quick search» Maxtor VL40 noise about the same as Quantum lct20), but its speed increases dramatically (see. Diagram). We drive Quantum lct20 software shutdown quiet seek mode, unfortunately, is not provided. In passing, I note that the disc Quantum Fireball Plus AS software control of noise and speed of the search is still present. However, online Quantum appropriate utility could not be found, but a universal program helped ibmftool.exe, developed by IBM for its drives. With it I was able to translate the drive Quantum AS60.0 in quiet seek mode and back (average access time increased from 13.5 ms to 16 ms, and the chatter of the disk during a search of slightly reduced). For comparison, the same procedure with the disk Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 60 (such as using ibmftool, and with amset) slows down the search from 13 to 17.4 ms, and the noise was reduced significantly more research than the Quantum AS.

The benchmarks "fast» Maxtor VL40 confident "beats» Quantum lct20. Often, the superiority of more than 200%! It affects both advantages in speed reading, access time and cache, and in the best optimization of the controller firmware (system DualWave a special DSP, see the details. For example, in this review). "Quiet" is Maxtor VL40 slightly inferior "classmate" in tests High-End Disk WinMark and when copying many small files, while the rest is still superior to the competitor (see. Diagram).


Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?


Performance series drives ekonomicheckih
in WinBench 99, Adaptec ThreadMark 2.0
and up to 500 MB of files.

Another "unusual" drives in Quantum lct20 is a very small application cache - only 128 KB. If the Maxtor and Western Digital have long been moved to 2 MB cache in their drives economy class, the Quantum reason decided to save on "penny" (at present) memory chip based on the fact that the fast protocol UltraATA / 100 compensates for it absence (take a look at the comparative pictures of controllers three discs from Quantum - Quantum lct15 for AS and SDRAM chips are present, but it does not provide lct20).


Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?

lct15


Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?

lct20


Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?

AS


Comparative view from below drives Quantum Fireball.

However, very strange was that several programs (including, ibmftool) independently showed the presence of a cache of 512 KB (or more precisely, 418 KB, because the rest are busy firmware) from the production model I tested Quantum lct20! I am at a loss to explain it. Perhaps at the last moment the company still decided to increase the cache, although then where it is located? Not in the controller chip, in fact? I also note that the drive Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 60 and VL40 controller boards are almost identical (the difference, apparently, only in microcode).


Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?


Bottom View drive Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 60 and VL40.

By the way, the traditional design of the case have long drives Quantum changed in the last series lct20 and AS - instead of typical spiral appeared semicircular recess (see. Photo). In the Maxtor drive chassis design is continues the tradition.


Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?

lct15


Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?

lct20 and AS


Comparative view of the top drives Quantum Fireball.

The most recent series of Maxtor - 531DX - a new trend in the HDD manufacturers. The drives of this class specifically designed as simple as possible in the design. They comprise up to 70% fewer parts than conventional discs, only one plate, coated with a magnetic layer on one side only, and one head. The reduced number of parts must be, according to the developers, contribute not only to reduce the cost of the disk, but also improve the reliability and durability, as it reduces the number of points of possible failure (for the series even coined a slogan: "One head is better than two"). In addition, this series of drives by one-third thinner than usual: only 17 mm instead of 25. This saves space in the body and improves the ventilation air, which should also increase the longevity of discs with less heat. These drives used parking system head on the plastic "ramp» (load / unload ramp) on the inner edge of the magnetic layer (the first time to drive cost less than $ 100). Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?
This dramatically reduces the likelihood of damage to the magnetic head and the surface of the plate. The lifetime of the components of the drive is designed for at least 5 years and 50,000 switching cycles. These discs will have a capacity of 10 GB (only on order for OEM, $ 90) and 15GB ($ 100 base model; Technology 30 GB platters). At speed of 5400 ob. / Min., 2 MB buffer (!) Interface UltraATA / 100 and internal read / write speeds 34/22 MB / s 531DX model will be suitable not only for office applications, but also for more demanding performance applications (for example, to work with audio files). Quantum Analogues of them have not yet exist (except lct20?). Only, in my opinion, the lack of these discs - slightly inflated price.

And finally, the top model in seventhousanders IDE Maxtor and Quantum are now direct competitors in the market. As DiamondMax Plus 60 and FireballPlus AS60 when plates 20 GB capacity, 2 MB buffer, interface UltraATA / 100 (true, Maxtor is already a new version ATA-6, while the rest is ATA-5) have a close reading speed and write (Maxtor's a little higher - see. graphics) and almost the same access time (13 ms to 13.5 ms and Maxtor for Quantum).


Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?


Charts reading speed drives leading series
WinBench of 99 (in millions of. bytes / sec).

В тестах оба показывают хорошие результаты: Quantum с минимальным перевесом лидирует при копировании 10000 файлов и в High-End Disk WinMark под Windows 98, а Maxtor уверенно обходит собрата в остальных (см. диаграмму). Наличие контроллера DualWave, безусловно, помогает сингапурцу (Maxtor'у) одолеть японца (Quantum'а) при работе с потоковыми приложениями (копирование одного файла, многопотоковая запись/чтение). Так, в тесте Nbench при одновременной записи 2, 3 или 4 потоков по 500 Мбайт Maxtor практически не сбавляет скорость относительно однопотоковой, а Quantum «проседает» более чем втрое! К тому же, Quantum AS при работе по протоколу UltraATA/33 имеет заметно «заваленную» на начальных дорожках скорость чтения (см. график), тогда как Maxtor DM Plus 60 выдает максимум возможностей протокола (31,7 Мбайт/с). Зато в серверных тестах Intel IOmeter диск от Quantum всегда немножко обгоняет Maxtor'а (на 1-2 %).


Quantum + Maxtor = - Quaxtor?  Or Maxtum?


Производительность дисков ведущих серий
в тестах WinBench 99, Adaptec ThreadMark 2.0
и копирования 500 Мбайт файлов.

Таким образом, нынешние IDE-модели дисков Quantum будут в новой компании Maxtor на правах падчерицы. А что будет дальше, мы увидим уже осенью.