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ExcelStor Io.40GB
By CPU-zilla
Category : Storage
Published by Jimmy Tang on Monday, 10th June, 2002
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars  
Price : SGD138

First Impressions

Looking at the drive alone, one cannot help but conclude that it looks exactly like an IBM Deskstar 120GXP. The shape and position of the screws gave out its disguise right away. Looking at the interface PCB on the flip side of the drive, we were pleasantly surprised indeed. The board is exactly the same, right down to the chips, the layout of the electronics, heck, all of it. Surprisingly, the location of the serial number label is also placed at the same position, not to mention a particular pencil marking on one of the main controller chip had the same notation.

The IBM Deskstar 120GXP looks exactly like the ExcelStor Io.40GB... or...err.. is it the other way around?

The interface board on the ExcelStor. See the IBM chip in the center? Pay special attention to the areas circled in red and compare it with the IBM Deskstar 120GXP below.

The interface board on the IBM Deskstar 120GXP. Man... even the pencil marks are the same. There's not a doubt they are actually the same drive.

Which is which? There's no way to tell the difference. By the way, ExcelStor's drive is the one on top.

Now, we know that the drive is really an IBM Deskstar 120GXP clone, so we can expect the ExcelStor Io.40GB to behave and perform exactly like one. Since the firmware could have been tweaked and tuned by ExcelStor, we'll never know if it is any better or worse, thus, it is the objective of this review to discover that.

The drive is based on a 40GB platter density and it uses only a single disk to achieve its full 40GB capacity. Utilizing two heads, one on each side of the disk, the ExcelStor Io.40GB could deliver an average seek response of about 8.5ms. That's exactly what IBM's DeskStar 120GXP claim it could do as well. Not surprising at all. The interface is still at Ultra DMA 100, a generation behind that of Maxtor.

Setting up the drive was easy and if you've been toying with IBM hard disk drives all this while, you should be able to set the jumpers on the drive even if you're blindfolded. Since the drive spins at 7,200RPM, cooling may be required but we think it is optional as there won't be much heat generated from a single platter.

As we received the drive without much documentation, it is hard to tell if ExcelStor manufactured the drive according to IBM's exact specifications. Whether they manufactured the drive with glass disk technology or not, we'll never know unless we open up (and at the same time, destroy) the drive.

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