hard drive history

1999: maturity

IBM Deskstar 34GXP

Photo: Red Hill.

IBM Deskstar 34GXP and Western Digital Expert 2

IBM Storage produced a superb second generation 7200 RPM IDE drives in the Deskstar 22GXP (which was also sold by Western Digital under the Expert brand). Announcement of the third-generation Deskstar 34GXP followed soon afterwards. To our surprise, actual drives arrived quite promptly, without the usual inordinate IBM delay, and they were outstanding performers. The arrangement with Western Digital continued and the 22GXP was also manufactured in WD plants and sold as the Western Digital Expert 2

Alas, the market life of this fine pair of drives was dominated by stock shortages, not just of Experts and 34 GXPs, but of all the 7200 RPM drives. From about mid-99 on, it became all but impossible to buy any brand of 7200 RPM drive in an orderly manner. Out of stocks and waiting lists were the norm, and although all the drive manufacturers had predicted a major increase in the 7200 RPM market, none of them seemed able to go near to satisfying it.

In practice as a retailer, if you can't be sure of being able to supply a given product, you are very unwise to keep on selling it. Right through the the second half of 1999 and the first half of 2000 we could not be confident of getting on-time shipments of the Expert 2, the 32GXP, or any other competitive IDE 7200, and had no real choice other than to avoid using them in our advertised mainstream systems. We loaded up with extra RAM and sold a lot of machines with 5400 RPM drives instead.

Data rate284 Mbit/secSpin rate7200 RPM
Seek time9.0msBuffer2MB
Platter capacity6.8GBInterfaceATA-66
AC31530013.6GB4 GMR heads**
AC32040020.4GB6 GMR heads*
AC42720027.2GB7 GMR heads
DPTA-37205020.4GB6 GMR heads*
DPTA-37342034.2GB8 MR heads