Personal Storage 5000DV, by Maxtor
Posted: 23-Sep-2003

5 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Maxtor Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Bill Catambay Class: HARDWARE

Description
The Personal Storage 5000DV is an add-on storage geared towards video editing and high-end graphic users. Available in 120GB, 160GB, and 200GB sizes, the Personal Storage 5000DV also features a "OneTouch" button that automatically activates download procedure (using Dantz Restrospect Express for copying or backing up data). The drives runs at 7200 RPM, and supports both Firewire and USB.

This review is for the 200GB drive attached to a G4/867 running both Mac OS 9.2.2 and OS 10.2.6.

Set Up

Before I installed the software, I hooked the 5000DV drive up to my G4 under OS 9.2.2, and the hard drive showed up on my desktop immediately - no drivers needed. I tried the same test under OS X, but there it begged for me to follow the directions and install the software drivers first.

There is an addendum instruction page that comes with the drive that contains information on one side for Windows XP, and information on the other side for Mac OS 10.2. For 10.2, the instruction was to follow the instructions on the Installation CD in a filed name "OS X 10.2 Jaguar update.pdf". Oddly enough, the PDF file looked almost the same as the addendum instruction page with the "How to reformat" heading and Capacity chart. The only difference was under "Installation Note...", instead of listing a single instruction to look for a file on the CD, it actually listed the detailed instructions (the point being, why not have just included those steps on the printed addendum page?).

Mac OS X
Per the instructions, I installed Restrospect Express, then installed the Retrospect Express 5.0.236 update (both installers were named the same, but in different folders). Then I ran the Maxtor 5000 Update, and the setup process for OS 10.2 was complete.

Mac OS 9
As mentioned above, I was able to use the drive on OS 9.2.2 without any installation. To get the One-Touch button to operate, however, I did need to install the Restrospect Express software. Very simple.


The Hard Drive
Out of the box, I was quite impressed with the design of the Maxtor 5000DV hard drive. The color scheme is very nice, with reinforced and rounded edges. I used the stand which comes with the drive to prop the drive up vertically, taking up very little desktop space.

The other major achievement of this piece of hardware is how silent it runs. If it weren't for the green power light on the front, I would not have known it was on! Even in operation, with data being transferred from and to the drive, it was a soft access sound (rather than the loud grinding that many other drives tend to make). I don't know if the magic is in the case or the electronics, but whatever is muffling the sound is doing an excellent job.

The drive runs on its own power (via AC through a power adapter), and can use either the Firewire or USB protocol. For my tests, I had the drive hooked up to my Firewire chain. The drive was used for several weeks, and quite extensively. The data transfer rates were excellent, and the drive performed flawlessly. When I shutdown the computer, the drive properly spins down.

The only thing I could find fault with in this drive, and this is a very small thing, but there is no external power button. As long as the OS is behaving properly, that's not a problem, because the drive shuts down when the system shuts down. However, if you experience a problem with the system, the drive could end up on after you turn the computer off. In this case, the only way to get the drive to shutdown is to unplug the power (or reboot the Mac and hope that the OS re-syncs with the drive). It would be better to have an external power switch.

One Touch

As impressed as I was with the drive's operation, it was the One-Touch action that really got me excited about this unit. At first I was afraid of that button that sat ominously on the front of the unit. I wondered, "What does it do?" I had originally gone into this review thinking I was just reviewing another hard drive.

To overcome my button fear, I read up on the One Touch operation. It sounded too good to be true. Push the button and important data files would automatically be backed up? This is the dream device of every hard working Mac enthusiast who ponders the importance of backing up data, but finds the task too tedious. Even after a disaster occurs, and we either suffer the fear of lost data, or actually lose data, do we ever learn? We make promises to ourselves that we will, from now on, back up important data. At best, we may do it once before falling back into our familiar pattern of being free of tediousness (that's why we're Mac users). The One Touch action on the 5000DV drive removes the tediousness out of the task!

Setting up the One Touch operation was relatively simple. You press the button the first time, and it automatically starts up Retrospect Express. Restrospect then walks you through the process of creating your One Touch script.

It was extremely easy to setup the backup script, and even more easy to perform a backup. You don't need to have Retrospect running for the One Touch to operate. Simply press the One Touch button, and Retrospect automatically starts up, loads your One Touch script, runs the script, and then quits. I was floored. The "dynamic duo" of hardware and software made it so easy and painless to back up vital data, truly at the touch of a button!

There is more you can do with the Retrospect software, of course, including scheduling backups to occur automatically. The software by itself is a great product, and can be used with your other drives as well as with your Maxtor drive. There were only a couple of things I wanted to do that I was not able to do. By default, the One Touch script does a copy of files from one source to your Maxtor drive. I wanted to have the script copy files from multiple folders in different locations, but Retrospect did not support that. I tried tricking it by using aliases to the folders all in one folder, but all it did was copy the aliases (not the actual folders and files). Retrospect does support multiple sources, but only for backup archives, not for file duplication. I preferred the file duplication because it makes the copy readily available (rather than in compressed format that can only be read by Retrospect). I wanted my One Touch to make copies of my iTunes MP3 folder, my digital photo folder, and my video folder, but they are all in different folders and on different volumes. Instead, I have my One Touch setup to handle my MP3 files, and then I have other scripts to handle the others.

Pricing & Availability
Prices and availability appear to vary from one location to another. At the time of this review,
Maxtor's store lists the 160GB for $250 and the 200GB for $300. There's also a $30 mail-in rebate offered on the 160GB and 200GB drives that ends on 9/23/03 (the date this review was posted). Amazon lists the 160GB size for $225 ($41 off their normal price of $266). I found the 200GB drive at J&R Music for $250.

Features
  • Versatile add-on storage for editing/storing videos and high-end graphic files
  • Maxtor OneTouch: the easy way to make back-up copies of your files
  • Dantz Retrospect Express software included
  • Flexible Dual Interfaces (supports Firewire and USB 2.0 & 1.1
  • Powerful Performance:
    • Maxtor award-winning 7200 RPM hard drive technology
    • Up to 480 Mb/sec data transfer rate - USB 2.0
    • Up to 400 Mb/sec data transfer rate - FireWire
  • Expandable Storage:
    • Connect up to 62 FireWire devices
    • Connect up to 127 USB 2.0 devices with USB hubs
  • Stands vertically or horizontally
  • Hot swappable
  • Compact design
  • PC and Mac compatible
  • Mac-ready model preformatted for Macintosh computers

Included with Product

  • Maxtor Personal Storage 5000 external hard drive
  • USB cable
  • 6 pin to 6 pin FireWire/1394/i.LINK cable
  • External AC power adapter
  • Vertical stand
  • Installation software (Dantz Retrospect Express & Maxtor Personal Storage drivers)
  • User's Guide
  • Quick Start Install Guide
  • Retrospect User's Guide (on disk)


Summary
The Maxtor Personal Storage 5000DV is an awesome technological achievement in hard drives. Whether you use it as a Firewire drive or a USB drive, on Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X, you really cannot go wrong with this drive. With 200GB of storage, a sleek design, solid performance, and whisper quiet operation, the hardware alone makes this drive a valuable addition to any Mac system. With the One Touch operation and Restrospect Express software, this package is a cut above the rest. It would be nice to have an external power switch, and the ability to copy files with the One Touch script from multiple sources, but feature-for-feature, nothing else comes close to this product. I highly recommend it to any Mac user, and for those with backup needs, this is a must-have add-on to your system.

Pros

  • 200 Gigabyte storage drive with solid performance
  • One Touch action button for easy backups
  • Retrospect Express software for all backup needs
  • Stylish design with desktop saving stand


Cons

  • Lacks an external power switch
  • Retrospect only supports a single source per script for file copying
  • Setup for OS X not as simple as for OS 9


Overall Rating

5 out of 5 Mice