Of course, it's one thing to have a fast drive, but it
might not be worth it if it comes at the expense of personal comfort or
practicality. Fortunately, the Fireball Plus LM isn't hard on the ears and
doesn't produce all that much heat. Granted, I'm used to the whine of a DeskStar
22GXP, which makes for a loud comparison. Although the Fireball Plus LM was
quieter, the noises it made were, to me, not as pleasant as the DeskStar's. But,
that's totally subjective, and you'll have to listen for yourself to see if you
find the Fireball's sounds pleasing or not.
The most offensive and amusing sound it made came under heavy write events. It made a low-pitched growl, which I might have mistaken for a bad sound effect created by a PC speaker on a very old game if I didn't know it was a hard disk. Fortunately, this sound was muted when I put the case cover back on. While it's not the quietest drive around, it's quite tolerable. Heat simply wasn't a problem. Even after the torture test, the drive was just warm to the touch- nowhere near uncomfortable. It should work safely in any system.
version of the drive can be purchased from several online vendors for under $130
(not including shipping, which is usually $10 for the cheap places). This is $20
or $30 more than the cheapest 7,200RPM drives in the 20-gig range, but for the
extra performance and reliability, $30 isn't too much to ask. Quantum's next
Fireball Plus drive will be the AS series, which will hopefully be released in
the not too distant future. Its basic specs are the same as the LM's, but it
will feature higher areal density, larger capacities (up to 60GB), and, of
course, an UDMA/100 interface.
I don't really know how long it will be before the
Fireball Plus AS is released, but I doubt that it will drive down the price of
the Plus LM very much when does become available. Right now the hard disk
industry is pretty cutthroat, and drives are really cheaper than they should be.
The Plus LM still ranks among the top performers in the 7,200RPM UDMA drive
arena, despite the fact that it was released earlier than some of its
All in all, it's quite a respectable drive, and is definitely worthy of recommendation. But the next generation of 7,200RPM disks is just around the corner, and if you want to wait for the latest and greatest, the Plus AS will be out in a few months.