hard drive history

size still matters: is there ever enough?

Seagate Medalist Pro 6.4

Photo by kind permission of Seagate.

Seagate Medalist Pro 6.4

One of the first generation of 6GB IDE drives, the Seagate Medalist Pro 6.4 was a bigger brother to the beautiful but failure prone Medalist Pro 2520.

We only sold six or eight, as this was one of the first 6GB drive models available and quite expensive, but all ours performed flawlessly and we continued to sell essentially the same drive in the revised Ultra-ATA form (ST36451). We never discovered the reason for our happy experience with the 6.4 as opposed to the unreliable Medalist Pro 2.5 — in theory they used the same technology, so they should have been equal. Clearly, they were not.

For some unfathomable reason, Seagate was doing weird things with its model line up around this time. Seagate had outstanding enterprise-class SCSI products (as always) and a wide range of cheap, reliable 4500 RPM drives for the low-end market, but only two mainstream 5400 RPM IDE units: the slim-line 2.5 (which by the time its reliability problems were sorted out was too small to sell well), and this huge 6.4 (which was too expensive for most people). Most people looking for decently fast drives were buying in the 3-4GB range, so with no Seagates on offer, we wound up selling a lot of IBM and Western Digital drives in 1997.

From late 1997 on, we switched to newer 6GB drives, mostly the IBM Deskstar 5 and the Western Digital AC36400.

(The second model listed below was a running change, identical except that it supported ATA-33. Seagate list a third 5GB mode 4 model, but this appears not to have made it to Australia.)

Data rate116 Mbit/secSpin rate5397 RPM
Seek time10msBuffer512k
Platter capacity1.26GBInterfacemode 4 or ATA-33
Read channelPRMLHead technologyMR
ST-36450A6.45GB10 heads**
ST-36451A6.45GB10 heads*