AVS Club Gold
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Marina Del Rey, CA, USA
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Just tonight replaced the Seagate 400gb (ST3400832AS) I originally purchased with a Maxtor Maxline III 300gb (7L300S0). So far, 100% of the performance problems and glitches I've had with controlling "live" TV (both SD and HD) as well as playing back recordings (both SD and HD) seem to have disappeared completely!
I must therefore attribute all of my previous difficulties to the Seagate 400gb drive, despite its claim to be "state of the art".
Aside from being $120 less expensive (yes, 100gb less capacity, I know) the Maxtor seems to be essentially completely silent inside the very same EP-301SA enclosure (with the built-in fan on the bottom). This is in stark contrast to the very noisy Seagate. I had originally thought the spinning/blowing noise was from the fan, but now that I've replaced the drive and things are near-silent I have to conclude that the fan in the enclosure is noise-free as is the new Maxtor MAxline III drive, and it is the Seagate 400gb drive which was making the noise.
Also, the Maxtor drive has a 16mb cache whereas the Seagate drive only has an 8mb cache. Surely this has to be a contributing factor to my so-far glitch-free experience (limited though it is at the moment). At the very least, it can't hurt and can only help performance I would think.
Also, when I removed the Seagate drive from the enclosure it was quite hot. I don't know if the fan speed in the enclosure is temperature sensitive, so that the whole thing will once again become noisy if the fan speed increases as the drive heats up, but for now it doesn't seem like that's happening. And maybe the Maxtor just runs cooler.
Finally, the internal drive in the SA8300 is also a Maxtor (4R160L0), and the newly available QuickView "expander in a box" product comes from Maxtor. I know these are all standard SATA drives, but perhaps the firmware and software is just "happier" with a Maxtor "partner" externally. I know... ridiculous.
Nevertheless, the Seagate is being returned to Newegg tomorrow and the Maxtor begins a new life of use as an external drive for the SA8300. Hopefully it will continue to be a perfect one as it currently looks like it will be.
My review: avoid Seagate. Go with Maxtor.