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-- by Marc Spiwak
Not every PC product is getting smaller. Quantum's new 5.25-inch hard drive series offers a form factor last used extensively when dinosaurs roamed the earth.The Bigfoot CY 6.4 may be big, but it offers bargain-priced storage. It provides 6.4GB of storage space for only $395, or about six cents per megabyte, compared to nine to eleven cents per meg for smaller drives.
The Bigfoot drive uses the same technology as Quantum's 3.5-inch Fireball drive, but is slower and more economical as a result. The Bigfoot CY 6.4 spins at 3600rpm, and Quantum specifies a maximum internal data-transfer rate of 92.6Mb per second with an average seek time of less than 14 milliseconds. Compare that with the 5.1GB Fireball, which spins at 5400rpm, and has a maximum internal data-transfer rate of 132Mbps with an average access time of less than 10ms, according to Quantum.
Bigfoot's documentation is clear and complete, and it was a snap to install the drive, as a slave in a 200MHz Pentium Pro system that already contained a 3.8GB Fireball drive as the master.
Operating systems that use FAT16 have a 2GB limit for both the primary partition and logical drives. FAT32, in Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2, breaks that barrier with more efficient use of drive space, although it can cause incompatibilities with old DOS applications. With FAT32, Bigfoot formatted as a single 6189MB drive, but it took over 45 minutes.
Our Wintune tests showed the Bigfoot drive has an uncached data throughput of 1.8MB per second, while the Fireball's uncached throughput is 2MBps. That's considerably slower than the Maxtor DiamondMax 85120A on our WinList, which posted 5.6MBps. In a test that copied about 100MB of data from one clean partition to another, the Bigfoot finished in 74 seconds, about 2 seconds slower than the Fireball.
The Bigfoot CY 6.4 is fine for most apps, unless you desire the ultimate in performance. If so, you might want to go with the Maxtor DiamondMax 85120A, or a larger capacity or more specialized high-speed drive. But if you simply want the most storage space for the dollar, you don't have to look any further than Quantum's Bigfoot CY 6.4.