The Drive

With the Fireball Plus LM series, Quantum builds upon its award winning Fireball model line by bumping data densities up to 10.2 GB’s per platter. This coupled with 7,200 RPM rotational speeds, 8.5 ms average seek times, and the Ultra ATA/66 interface, allows the Quantum Fireball Plus LM series of drives to deliver the performance needed to be included in today’s high performance desktop computers.

The top-end model in the Quantum Fireball Plus LM line, the QMP30000LM-A 30GB drive, utilizes 3 data platters for a total maximum formatted data capacity of 30 GB’s. Three other models are also available in the Fireball Plus LM line, which are offered at lower capacities and price points to satisfy market demands.

A note of interest with the Quantum Fireball LX is the lower average seek times than the majority of drives on the market with similar specifications. While an average seek time of 8.5 ms, or just 0.5 ms lower than the 9.0 ms of the average hard drive, may not seem like that big of a deal, in certain applications, it helps boost performance by eliminating a bit of latency. The only drive we have tested so far with a lower average seek time than the Quantum Fireball series was the Seagate Barracuda ATA, with seek times coming it at 8 ms.

In addition to increasing its performance, Quantum has also incorporated its Shock Protection System (SPS) into the Fireball Plus LM series. Quantum’s SPS helps to protect the drive against rough handling during installation, minimizing the effects of shock loads, which the industry cites as one of the leading causes of hard drive failures. Along with SPS, Quantum supplies the Fireball Plus LM series with its Data Protection System (DPS). DPS, like similar solutions from other manufacturers, allow a user to quickly determine if it is indeed the hard drive that is causing trouble during system failures. DPS will verify drive functionality in less than 90 seconds to allow a user to initiate actions for a replacement drive, or to continue troubleshooting the rest of the system if the drive tests OK. Together, these two systems help ensure the data integrity of the drive, as performance is secondary if your stored data becomes unusable.

As mentioned earlier, the Fireball LM Plus line contains 4 drive models to satisfy various users needs. As the Fireball Plus LM series is based on 10.2 GB platter densities, the capacities of the various models are based on the number of usable data surfaces that each drive has. Like many other manufactures, Quantum makes two models that utilize two disk platters, one the 20.5 GB model, which uses all 4 surfaces of both platters, and a 15 GB model that only uses 3 of the 4 surfaces. This is done solely to satisfy market demand and to be able to offer a mid-line drive to those that require it.

In the following chart we have the entire Quantum Fireball Plus LM model line listed:

Model Number

Formatted Capacity

Data Surfaces / Heads


10,273 MB’s



15,020 MB’s



20,547 MB’s



30,020 MB’s



As can be determined from the above chart, Quantum’s model numbering system is fairly straightforward to decipher. Reading left to right, the QM denotes that it is a Quantum drive, and the third value denotes the type of drive within the Quantum family. In this case, the ‘P” denotes that it is a performance drive. Other values could be “L” for Low Cost Technology, or a numeric value such a 2, 3 or 5 to denote the form factor, i.e. 2.5”, 3.5” or 5” drive. The next 5 numeric digits represent the approximate capacity of the drive, represented in MB’s. The next two values represent the product family the drive is in. In this case, it is “LM” for the Fireball LM line. Other examples would be SE for the Fireball SE line and ST for the Fireball ST line and so on. The last value represents the interface of the drive; in this case, the “A” represents it’s an ATA drive. Other values would be S for SCIS (narrow), SW for SCSI Wide and so on.

The reviewed model, the QMP30000LM-A, 30GB hard drive, is the top-end drive in this family, utilizing all 6 surfaces of its 3 platters. As with all hard drive model lines that utilize the same components, the results obtained from this drive should be fairly representative of the entire Fireball Plus LM model line.

All of the drives are backed by Quantum’s standard 3-year warranty. One neat feature at the Quantum website is that you can look up the status of your warranty if you registered and see how much time is remaining and get any updated information regarding your drive. Quantum also offers its DPS software along with other useful utilities free for downloading on its website.

Index Specifications

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