Test Drive: Maxtor Personal Storage 3000LE

By SmallBusinessComputing Staff
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Wayne N. Kawamoto
Managing Editor, www.smallbusinesscomputing.com

When you need additional hard drive space or want to move large amounts of data, Maxtor's Personal Storage 3000LE can add 40 GB of portable hard drive space to most PCs and Macs. The drive is particularly easy to install and is practical for storing data that you want to take with you or lock up.

On our test systems, the 3000LE installed without a hitch-we had the drive up and running within ten minutes of taking it out of the box. All you have to do is connect the drive to power and a PC's USB (Universal Serial Bus - a type of connector found on recent PCs and Macs) port with the included cables, and you're ready to roll. Our two test PCs, which were respectively configured with USB 1.1 and Windows 98 SE, and USB 2.0 and Windows XP, immediately recognized the hard drive as they booted up.

When installing the drive to our Windows 98 PC, we had to download a driver file from Maxtor's Web site to finish the process-a CD or floppy with the driver would have been helpful. 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.

In the past, external hard drives were slow performers when compared to internal hard drives. But by supporting USB 2.0, the 3000LE has the potential to perform almost as fast as some slower internal hard drives. If all you want to do is save data files to an external hard drive, you'll do fine connecting the 3000LE through a USB 1.1 port.

But if you need to support high-end video or other applications that require blazing hard drive performance, you will want to opt for USB 2.0. In this case you'll probably have to purchase and add a USB 2.0 interface card to the PC. Maxtor sells such a card for about $50 or you can purchase one through any computer dealer. If you need more storage space with equally fast performance, Maxtor's 3000XT offers 160 GB of storage space and works through a PC's 1394 (FireWire) connection.

The 3000LE comes in a sleek, semi-transparent, stackable case. However, those who want a portable hard drive to take on trips will probably find the 3000LE (1 5/8" x 6"x 8 5/8") to be rather bulky and heavy (and don't forget that AC adapter and cord). Maxtor offers a one-year warranty on the drive.

In all, the 3000LE does everything that Maxtor says it will. This external hard drive offers an excellent solution for storing data in the office and moving it around.

Bottom Line: The 3000LE is easy to install and use and can quickly add 40GB of hard drive space to almost any USB-equipped system.

Rating: 90
Manufacturer: Maxtor Corporation, www.maxtor.com

Price: $199
Requirements: USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 Port; 32MB RAM or higher.
PC: Pentium II class and/or equivalent processor or higher; Windows 98SE/Millenium/2000/XP
Mac: True G3 or higher; Mac OS 9.0 or higher.

Pros: Installs quickly and is easily configured.
Cons: Could include drivers on disc; somewhat heavy for mobile use.
This article was originally published on January 30, 2002

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