Test Drive: Maxtor Personal Storage 3000XT

By SmallBusinessComputing Staff | Posted May 02, 2002
Wayne N. Kawamoto
Managing Editor, www.smallbusinesscomputing.com

Is there such a thing as the perfect hardware upgrade? The Maxtor Personal Storage 3000XT can add an impressive 160GB of storage space and it doesn't ask you to open a computer, find and work with open bays, or even format a drive. The 3000XT isn't perfect and will significantly lighten your wallet, but there is no easier way to add this much space to a PC or Mac.

In our testing, we simply removed the drive from its box, placed it near our test PCs, plugged-in its power supply, connected its firewire cable to the ports on our computers, and were ready to go. The drive comes preformatted and immediately shows up on Windows and Mac systems so you can begin to move files.

We found the drive to be quite responsive and faster than any other external drive that we have tested. The drive is great for storing and archiving large files, particularly those that you may want to move around from system to system. But if you need the fastest hard drive performance possible, particularly for demanding video and multimedia work, you'll be better off installing and using a fast IDE or SCSI internal hard drive.

The drive comes in a sleek, stackable and semi-transparent case that is convenient to carry around and move from computer to computer. However, at 1 5/8 x 6 x 8 5/8 inches and over two pounds in weight (and don't forget that bulky AC power brick), the 3000XT doesn't qualify as a portable drive that can be taken on the road with a notebook. We found that the documentation, which is a fold-out affair with one side dedicated to the Mac and the other to the PC, was clear and easy to follow. Maxtor offers a one-year warranty on the drive.

Overall, we were impressed with the Maxtor Personal Storage 3000XT. The external drive offers impressive hard drive storage space, is easy to install and use, and gives decent performance. If you've been looking for a fast fix for rapidly diminishing hard drive space, and want instant gratification that doesn't ask you to endure the usual computer upgrade process, the 3000XT is one way to go.

Manufacturer: Maxtor Corporation, www.maxtor.com

Price: $399.95
Requirements: 1394 port; 32MB RAM or higher.
PC: Pentium II class and/or equivalent processor or higher; Windows 98SE/Millenium/2000/XP; 32MB RAM.
Mac: Mac G3 or higher; Mac OS 8.6 or higher.

Pros: Easy installation, large capacity.
Cons: Not fast enough for the most disk-intensive work.

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