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It's all in the firmware

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And what's this landing on our doorstep - a press release from Maxtor Europe trumpeting the shipment of Ultra ATA/100 drives. Dated June 6, the release arrived at The Register on June 15, showing a peculiar urgency on Maxtor's part.

It's not as if Maxtor doesn't know how to jump the gun - in its release, the disk drive vendor announces its 60GB drives can now throughput 100MBp/s. But it turns out the drives could always handle this throughput, but Maxtor had to keep quiet about it, because Quantum owns the patents on the technology.

So even if you own an "old" Maxtor Ultra ATA/66 you can download the firmware from the Maxtor Web site, and you can run it at 100MBp/s.

Quantum has licensed the technology for use by other companies, but only made the specifications generally available of June 5. The company said in a statement: "Once licensing is executed, vendors other than Quantum can announce and begin shipping products that incorporate ATA/100 technology."

The firmware download is only available for the DiamondMax60 and DiamondMax30 families, check out this link to see if your model is included in the list.

As soon as the spec was made public, a flurry of new products started shipping featuring the ATA/100 technology, with stuff from Seagate as well as Maxtor.®

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