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-- by David Hafke
Contrary to what its name implies, the Pioneer SG 2.1 doesn't break new ground in hard drives. The 2.1GB (nominal capacity) drive from Quantum is nowhere near the largest in its category, and its performance is unimpressive. (Note that Quantum, following the practice of most hard drive manufacturers, defines a gigabyte as 1 million bytes. Windows' Explorer will define this drive using the more traditional definitions and will report its total capacity as 1.99GB.)
This Fast ATA-2 disk has a 12-millisecond seek time, a 4500rpm rotational speed and a 101Mb-per-second maximum internal data-transfer rate.
Unfortunately, the Pioneer SG just can't compete with Maxtor's DiamondMax 85120A, its strongest rival on our WinList. The blazing DiamondMax scored 5.6MBps in the uncached disk category of our Wintune 97 benchmarks, while the Pioneer SG scored a lukewarm 1.6MBps. Furthermore, the DiamondMax's 9.7ms seek time and 5400rpm rotational speed are superior to the Pioneer's.
While the DiamondMax's spot on the WinList remains secure, the Pioneer SG does reap the benefits of its magnetoresistive heads and PRML read channel. Its thin-film inductive heads allow the Pioneer to achieve an areal density of more than 719Mb per square inch, a relatively high figure for a 2GB drive.
Installing the drive was straightforward. A label on the case indicates the jumper setting configurations for master/slave assignments. After moving the jumper to the slave position and fastening the drive to a 3.5-inch internal drive bay, we then created a single 2GB FAT32 partition and formatted the drive.
The included documentation is in-depth and informative. The Pioneer SG 2.1 has a list price of $210, which translates to 10 cents per megabyte.
Its modest capacity and less than stellar performance make the Pioneer SG an unsuitable match for any power user. However, it's a decent choice if you're seeking an inexpensive storage upgrade solution.