hard drive history

size matters: especially when you can't get it

Seagate Medalist Pro

Photo: Red Hill.

Seagate Medalist Pro

These tiny, beautifully finished drives were very, very fast — just as you'd expect from Seagate's slim-line Decathlon heritage.

The Medalist Pro 2520 was noticeably faster even than the IBM Deskstar 3 range, and that made it the fastest IDE drive around at that time. The technology was mind-blowing: MR heads, PRML read channel, and a mere two platters to store 2.5GB. All of this was amazing stuff in 1996.

Unfortunately, the 2520 had a disturbingly high in-service failure rate, always with the same fault: sustained re-seeking causing a massive drop in performance. (Five minutes to boot Windows, sometimes more.) Thankfully, it was one of the very rare hard drive faults that do not result in data loss: a couple of tedious hours in the workshop and we'd have the data transferred to a new drive with a minimum of fuss. Seagate replaced the faulty drives and addressed the problem at source eventually, but not before we had switched to the slower but more dependable Quantum Fireball TM 2.5GB drive, and then the superb 3.2GB IBM Deskstar 3.

Data rate116 Mbit/secSpin rate5397 RPM
Seek time11msBuffer128k
Platter capacity1.28MBEncodingPRML
Form3½" slimlineInterfaceIDE mode 4
ST52520A2.56GB4 MR heads***