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TurboMax/WD Expert vs Jackhammer UW SCSI/IBM 9LZX
Reader Performance Tests By: Jacob Stein 6/9/99
[Last Updated 6/14/99 for SCSI results]

In the continuing threads on IDE vs SCSI drive performance (see my TurboMax review) a PowerCenter Pro owner reports an OEM Western Digital Expert drive with TurboMax PCI card performs comparably to his more expensive SCSI drive and controller. Jacob wrote:

"I just purchased two new WD Expert 13.5 GB OEM pulls for $219 a piece from Complete Computer Solutions (

I installed the drives and a TuboMax card into my PowerCenter Pro (w/RailGun 250/250 1 meg card at 315/210/45). This combination compares very nicely with the 10,000 RPM IBM 9ZX/JackHammer combination that I already had in the machine and at a much lower cost. (see the attached ATTO ExpressPro benchmarks).

WD Expert Scores
IBM 9LZX Scores

The peak read speeds of the WD Expert dramatically improve the day-to-day performance of the machine. However, copying files between the WD and IBM drives (in either direction) is slow, no faster the 2MB/second. Also, it seems that emtying the trash takes a bit longer.

Note that I had to use ATTO ExpresPro 2.1 (which I downloaded from ATTO) to create volumes in order to avoid subtle and not so subtle problems. Using Hard Disk ToolKit or Apple Drive Setup resulted in problems varying from startup freezes at the point that volumes should mount on the desktop to the inability of MS Word and Acrobat Reader to create temporary files.

Fast, quiet (no 10,000 RPM whine or seek clicking), cool and inexpensive - what else could one ask for?
Jacob Stein

Note: I had not heard of a 13.5GB Expert model, but Jacob said they are mentioned at this WD support FAQ page. He bought it as an OEM pull drive.

Updates: - Additional IDE/SCSI Comparisons:

Rod Paine of ASTEC Company sent several ATTO benchmark graphics that also show good results with the TurboMax/WD Expert combo:

Cuda narrow

[6/14/99 addition - Quantum Atlas IV]

Rod's Comments included with the AtlasIV graph:

"Here's another drive benchmark. This is the Quantum Atlas IV 18.2GB 7200 RPM LVD, which is marketed by Quantum as an "Ultra160/m" drive. It's the fastest 7200 RPM SCSI drive we've tested to date, as this unit tested slightly faster than the Cheetah 9LP LVD. However, it doesn't have the Cheetah's "seat-of-the-pants" speed feel, when opening an assortment of various size files from the Finder... a positive performance comment all clients make, when they sit down at their Mac after we've installed a Cheetah. ;-)

This Atlas IV was connected to an Adaptec 2940U2W running v1.1b1 firmware and was formatted with Apple Drive Setup 1.7.2. The PMac is running OS 8.6. As with all our drive tests with the Adaptec cards, the cable is a 15-inch ProMax Teflon solid-wire ribbon with an active LVD terminator.

I should also note that during this test and all our previous tests we've sent you, the two other PCI slots are populated. A ZYNX 100BASE-TX PCI Ethernet card and either (a) 2940UW (v3.0) or (b) TurboMAX (v1.5) or (c) Apple/ATI 2MB video card or (d) an ATTO ExpressPro PCI DC (v1.3.5) are installed, so that we can replicate our client's typical PCI configuration, when running our Adaptec PCI/ATTO ExpressPro Tools drive benchmarks.
-Rod "

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