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Quantum Fireball 26GB HDD Review
Quantum Fireball 26GB HDD Review - PCSTATS
A hard disk is a hard disk, right? Well not anymore. The variety of drives on the market can give us a hard time in deciding which one is most suitable for our needs. We are now starting to see hard disk drives going into 15,000rpm rotational speeds and reaching never before achieved storage capacities.
 80% Rating:   
Filed under: Hard Drives/SSD Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Quantum Apr 20 2000   P. Masrani  
Home > Reviews > Hard Drives/SSD > Quantum Fireball

HDD Technology

Northwind GFD Rev2.0

Here's the Northwind GFD Rev2.0.  Here are the mandatory pics.

northwind2.jpg (14172 bytes)northwind2back.jpg (13257 bytes)northwind2mount.jpg (30498 bytes)

The new Northwind, Rev2, has made many improvements on the old design.  As you can see it is the smallest GFD of the group.  It is also the first GFD that I know of that does not require an external power supply.  However, Trinity Micro recommends that you have a 300 Watt power supply when using Northwind 2.  Unfortunately there are still two banks of 10 dip switches each.  Of these only 16 are used, and thankfully they are larger than those on the original Northwind.

The design of the Northwind is very simple and contains a total of five components.  This is why it is able to be so small.  Ditching the power connector saves a lot of space.  With no power wire the only thing you have to worry about wearing out would be the dip switches, but that would be highly unlikely for most users.  It should be a set it and forget it kind of deal.

The Northwind Rev2 came with the usual instructions.  None however are provided on the web site.  The MHz speeds supported are 300-1050, and the voltages are 1.3 to 2.05 in .05 increments.  A note of caution.  Pay close attention to the instructions as the top set of dip switches have the on/off positions switched.  This causes an effect where the settings mirror themselves.  Once again 16 separate switches must be configured for use.  It takes some time, but at least the switches are now larger than with the first revision.

$50 dollars will get you a Northwind Rev2.  That's a good price at only $5 more than the rev1, especially when you consider USPS shipping is included.  Orders are available by phone only.  It appears that no overseas reseller arrangements have been made.  Tech support is by phone or e-mail.  The warranty is lifetime against manufacturing defects.

Once again I easily achieved 750MHz at 1.6V.  I was also able to get the Windows 98 startup screen at 1.65V, but it would crash at that point.  Settings up to 1.8V did not help.  At 750MHz I experienced no difficulties.  The Rev2 performed perfectly.  Again when I monitored core voltage it ranged from 1.62-1.63V.

The $50 price tag with shipping makes the Northwind GFD Rev2 quit a value.  It also has the special feature of not requiring external power, which makes it stand out from the crowd.  Remember however that Trinity Micro recommends that you have at least a 300 Watt power supply when you use this model. 


PowerChips PowerCharger

Lastly we have the PowerChips PowerCharger.  Here are the mandatory pics.

powercharger.jpg (14179 bytes)powerchargerback.jpg (12422 bytes)powerchargermount.jpg (19996 bytes)

The PowerCharger is also the second UK made GFD.  As you can see it is the shortest of the bunch, and it is mouted with the dip switches facing away from the fan/heatsink.  All other vertical mounted cards face forward, so be careful not to place it backwards when using it. 

The instructions for the quite thorough for the PowerCharger.  It also came with pics of how to notch the Athlon cartridge, and a video on cd of the process.  It should be available for download from their site soon.   

The instructions for the Maximzer quickly got me on my way to overclocking.  Settings include MHz speeds of 500-1050 and voltage of 1.45 to 2.0.  It doesn't have the full range of settings, but chances are you will never use them anyway.  The web site also has the full settings for the device as well as in depth product info.

At $65 the PowerCharger is a bit pricey, but that price does include free world wide shipping.  Orders can be placed online, by phone, fax, e-mail, or mail.  Support is available by e-mail.  I could not find any warranty info.  If I can I will update the article.

750MHz was flawless at 1.6V.  It again took 1.65V to get to the Windows 98 startup screen, but it would not get into windows, even at 1.8V at 800Mhz.  Core voltage ranged between 1.62-1.63V.

At $65 the PowerCharger is the second most expensive GFD, although that does include free worldwide shipping.  It is a solid performer however and is the shortest of the vertical mounting GFDs so if you don't have a lot of room to work with you may want to give it a look.

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Contents of Article: Quantum Fireball
 Pg 1.  Quantum Fireball 26GB HDD Review
 Pg 2.  Test System
 Pg 3.  Benchmarks: SiSoft 99
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: Winbench 99
 Pg 5.  — HDD Technology
 Pg 6.  Comparison Chart and Conclusion

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