First Look: Maxtor Personal Storage 5000LE

By M. David Stone  |  Posted 2002-12-24 Print this article Print

With the Maxtor Personal Storage 5000LE, adding an extra 80GB of capacity to your computer has never been easier.

With the Maxtor Personal Storage 5000LE, adding an extra 80GB of capacity to your computer has never been easier. Nor has backing up your system: Simply push the button on the front of this external drive and Maxtors OneTouch system does the rest.

The Personal Storage 5000 series is available in 80GB ($199.95 list), 120GB ($299.95), and 250GB ($399) capacities. We tested the USB 1.1– and 2.0–compatible 5000LE, built around an 80GB, 5,400-rpm drive. The two higher-capacity drives add a FireWire interface; the 120GB version comes in a 7,200-rpm drive for better performance.

The 5000LEs ease of use starts with easy installation. The actual steps vary depending on your operating system and whether you want to take advantage of the backup feature, but Maxtors quick-start guide and user manual do an excellent job of guiding you to the right steps for your needs. In our case, it took less than a minute to plug in the supplied USB cable and power cord and let Windows XP Professional recognize the drive.

Installing the bundled Dantz Retrospect Express backup software and setting up the drive so that the button would launch a backup session was almost as easy. A setup wizard guides you through each step, and advanced users can define much more sophisticated backup scripts in Retrospect if they prefer.

We tested using a USB 1.1 connection, which is what youll still find on most systems today. As expected, performance was a bit sluggish. But thats not really an issue, since you can keep working on your system while backing up. We timed a backup of 604MB (4,894 files) at 23 minutes 49 seconds for the backup plus verify. Keep in mind that most of the time the backup will go much faster, since youll back up only the files that are new or changed since the last backup. When we backed up 19 new files totaling 14MB on the source drive, the backup and verify took just 11 seconds.

The Personal Storage 5000LE offers everything youd expect in an external drive. The one-button backup feature and excellent software are welcome additions that set this device apart from the crowd of look-alike drives.


M. David Stone is an award-winning freelance writer and computer industry consultant with special areas of expertise in imaging technologies (including printers, monitors, large-screen displays, projectors, scanners, and digital cameras), storage (both magnetic and optical), and word processing. His 25 years of experience in writing about science and technology includes a nearly 20-year concentration on PC hardware and software. He also has a proven track record of making technical issues easy for non-technical readers to understand, while holding the interest of more knowledgeable readers. Writing credits include eight computer-related books, major contributions to four others, and more than 2,000 articles in national and worldwide computer and general interest publications. His two most recent books are The Underground Guide to Color Printers (Addison-Wesley, 1996) and Troubleshooting Your PC, (Microsoft Press, 2000, with co-author Alfred Poor).

Much of David's current writing is for PC Magazine, where he has been a frequent contributor since 1983 and a contributing editor since 1987. His work includes feature articles, special projects, reviews, and both hardware and software solutions for PC Magazine's Solutions columns. He also contributes to other magazines, including Wired. As Computers Editor at Science Digest from 1984 until the magazine stopped publication, he wrote both a monthly column and additional articles. His newspaper column on computers appeared in the Newark Star Ledger from 1995 through 1997.

Non-computer-related work includes the Project Data Book for NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (written for GE's Astro-Space Division), and magazine articles and AV productions on subjects ranging from cosmology to ape language experiments. David also develops and writes testing scripts for leading computer magazines, including PC Magazine's PC Labs. His scripts have covered a wide range of subjects, including computers, scanners, printers, modems, word processors, fax modems, and communications software. He lives just outside of New York City, and considers himself a New Yorker at heart.


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