Maxtor probably wanted its new gold drive to look like something out of Fort Knox. If you ask us though, it’s garish enough to resemble an oversized block of chocolate in a gold wrapper that’s been left in a car for too long.
From the sides of the, er, striking gold plastic chassis, a small orange power LED can be seen at the front, as can some air vents in one side. At the back the power and data connectors are joined by a single momentary power pushbutton. There’s no activity light, and it’s worth mentioning that the chassis attracts fingerprints like a black hole attracts everything around it.
Once you put the questionable styling to one side and concentrate on the drive’s performance, things start to look better. In our HDTach benchmark, it averaged a sustained read speed of 32.43MB/s and a burst speed of 37.53MB/s. Its seek time was a reasonable 15ms, a bit over Lacie’s quoted 11ms. It can only be connected through USB.
The drive itself is a 7200RPM Samsung 500GB unit which comes preformatted as a single FAT32 partition. Power is provided by a power brick that delivers 12 and 5 volts through a very common circular 4-pin power connector that resembles an oversized S-video connector.
Airflow is provided by a few air vents in the base of the plastic unit. The cooling is minimal, as the vents are small and there is no active fan, but we didn’t have any heat related issues while testing.
Backup software is included on the drive for both Windows and Mac. It’s fairly dimwitted, and only copies a selection of folders to a location, which when we tested it defaulted to our secondary system drive, not the external Lacie. It doesn’t use any compression during backups, nor does it backup incrementally. You’ll find yourself wading through differently numbered folders looking for the correct backup version.
Given the choice, we’d buy a 500GB version of the Seagate Freeagent Pro
. It’s comparably priced, provides multiple interfaces including USB, e-SATA and FireWire 400 and is unquestionably prettier.