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Quantum Fireball CR 8.4B HDD Review
Quantum Fireball CR 8.4B HDD Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: As it stands right now, not even the fastest ATA/66 drives are able to exploit the ATA/66 interface to its fullest extent.
 75% Rating:   
Filed under: Hard Drives/SSD Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Quantum Apr 20 2002   P. Masrani  
Home > Reviews > Hard Drives/SSD > Quantum Fireball CR

Quantum Fireball CR 8.4B HDD Review

With the recent press release from ABit about their Hot Rod ATA/100 hard disk controller, one would have expected to see ATA/100 capable drives on the market. As it stands right now, not even the fastest ATA/66 drives are able to exploit the ATA/66 interface to its fullest extent. This is a proper indication of how slowly hard disk technology evolves as compared to the actual hard disk interface. You could say that this is somewhat similar to the gap between CPU speeds and their respective front side buses.

Current 800MHz+ "Coppermine's" officially still run on a 133MHz FSB although many motherboard manufacturers are offering unofficial support for FSB's of 155MHz+.

I am not trying to say that the Hot Rod ATA/100 is an eyewash, certainly not! In fact, the introduction of this controller card only encourages the pushing of this standard. Surely we will see ATA/100 drives on the market, but the question of exactly when belongs in the hands of hard disk manufacturers. Till then, Viva ATA/66!

One of the makers of ATA/66 drives is none other than Quantum Corporation. After all, it was Quantum who had developed the ATA/66 standard and the ATA/33 standard before it. In the meantime, Quantum has been licensing the technology out to others so that they may boast of ATA/66 compliance and to ensure industry standardization. Otherwise known as Ultra ATA/66, this technology doubles the effective external hard disk transfer rates from the ATA/33 standard. With continued growth in hard disk size and faster rotational speeds, internal transfer rates also went up.

It was foreseen that in 1999, a bottleneck would be reached with the ATA/33 interface. So the ATA/66 standard was implemented to improve the interface and keep up with the internal data transfer rates and will be a cushion for further increases in internal transfer rates for around a couple of more years until these rates begin to exceed 66MB/sec and hence have the need for the ATA/100 interface.

Some content here may resemble the
Quantum Fireball CX 13.0GB review. That is because of a lot of the features and characteristics do remain the same.


In order to utilize the potential of ATA/66, there are a few things that you will need. Firstly, you will need either a motherboard or an add on controller card that supports the ATA/66 protocol. Older motherboards based upon the Intel BX and LX chipsets do not support this option. If your current system runs on these chipsets, you will have to make use of an add on controller card as mentioned above if you want to take advantage of ATA/66.

Quite a number of non Intel chipset based motherboards do support ATA/66. Secondly, you will require a 40-pin, 80-conductor cable to set your hard drive running at 66MB/sec. The reason for this is that this new type of cable increases data integrity and reduces crosstalk. Crosstalk is a phenomenon that occurs when signals leak in to adjacent conductors. Within this newer type of cable, 40 extra ground wires are added to help protect against crosstalk. But don't worry, these new cables are plug compatible with existing connectors.

ATA/66 drives are backward compatible so that you may use them on non ATA/66 compliant motherboards. Of course, you will be operating at ATA/33 (provided your board supports it) speeds. Lastly (and probably most obviously), you will require an ATA/66 capable hard disk drive. Software wise, if your current OS supports ATA/33 transfers, then you can be sure that it will support ATA/66 as well.

If you do not have a board which supports ATA/66, don't worry. This drive will work on current ATA/33 (and earlier) boards. Simply use your current 40-pin, 40-conductor cable and you set to go. A utility from Quantum is there where you can disable the ATA/66 feature of the drive to force it to run in ATA/33 mode. You can use this utility if needed, but from what I have seen, this drive works fine without it. Of course, you can always purchase an ATA/66 hard disk controller from manufacturers such as ABit or Promise.

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Contents of Article: Quantum Fireball CR
 Pg 1.  — Quantum Fireball CR 8.4B HDD Review
 Pg 2.  Specifications
 Pg 3.  Benchmarks: WinMark99
 Pg 4.  HDD Technology and Conclusion

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