Maxtor’s OneTouch brand has been on the shelves for a while now, and its third iteration, available in 100GB, 200GB, 300GB, 500GB, 600GB and in the case of our test unit, 1TB, has recently hit the Atomic labs.
The 1TB size is achieved by striping two 500GB drives, meaning that the case is huge compared to that of standard single drive external solutions. A thick layer of soft rubber is featured at the top and the bottom of the case to shield the internals from harsh impacts, and a single button is featured at the front, around which a white light alternates as data is accessed.
Setting up the drive is easy enough, once you’ve installed Maxtor’s software – Windows won’t recognise it by itself. It also comes pre-formatted for an Apple machine, so be prepared to wipe it after you choose whether you want to run the array in RAID 0 or 1.
Attachment is available in USB2.0, FireWire 400 or 800, with FW800 being easily the fastest (at 77.5MB/s RAID 0 average read), followed by USB2.0 (34.6MB/s) and then FW400 (28.1MB/s). Unfortunately FW800 isn’t featured on many motherboards, so you may need to purchase a 1394b add in board to account for this. e-SATA is conspicuously absent, and considering the growing support behind it seems to be quite an omission on Maxtor’s behalf.
In operation the unit makes a noticeable amount of noise, however once you move over a metre from it (as most users would in practice), it is almost imperceptible.
In terms of software EMC’s Retrospect is bundled, which helps with automating backups. Maxtor’s own software is also included, which allows you to select your RAID type and customise what the button mounted on the front of the OneTouch does. Ordinarily it’s used for a ‘OneTouch’ backup (hence the name), however it can be assigned to any executable you wish – handy if you have other backup programs you prefer to use.
While it presents an excellent package overall and performance is exemplary, the one stumbling block is the warranty – at only one year it shows the amount of faith there is in external products and the way they’re handled – you may as well buy two 500GB internals with a five year warranty and throw them in a third party external case.
This Review appeared in the June, 2006 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine