Home > Product Reviews > Hard Drive Reviews > Maxtor 5000DV Personal Storage Review

Maxtor 5000DV Personal Storage Review

Highs

  • One touch backup
  • good performance

Rating

Our Score 7
User Score 3

Lows

  • No power switch
  • puts out a lot of heat
The 5000DV is perfect for those that need a lot of storage and would like a level of portability.

Summary

The 5000DV is perfect for those that need a lot of storage and would like a level of portability. For the HTPC user or those that simply want to store a large amount of movies and music, the 5000DV opens the door to unlimited possibilities.  The one touch backup works as promised and adds a nice touch to the already good performing drive. If an on/off switch was included and the drive put out less heat, Maxtor could possibly have an award winner in the 5000DV. We also would have liked to have seen a longer warranty but that seems to be how all hard drive manufacturers are heading. Overall the 5000DV is a solid performer and proved to be reliable with our use and abuse.  

*Editors Note 8/31/03: We lowered the overall score to a 7 because of the number of e-mails we received concerning the drives reliability. While we did not experience problems with it, please read the user reviews before making a purchasing decision. 

Introduction

Maxtor’s new 5000DV external hard drive is both large and fast; perfect for those in need of a lot of storage. Add to that FireWire/USB 2.0 support, built in backup software that activates at the touch of a button and you could quite possibly have the perfect storage solution. The days of tape backup drives for the home are long gone. Now you can get a 160 GB external hard drive that performs well and is compatible with both Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s Mac operating systems. Maxtor takes the external hard drive concept to the next level in the 5000DV by adding a large 8 MB cache and a 7200RPM drive. The 5000DV is a good solution for those that do video editing, extensive graphics or if you just want to store a whole lot of music and videos.

Maxtor currently offers five drives in their 5000 series, the smallest being an 80 GB external drive and the largest being a 250GB external drive .The 5000DV is itself available in 120GB, 160GB or 200GB sizes. The 160GB and 200GB units also come equipped with an 8MB cache. The 5000DV is specifically geared towards performance and thus includes the 8MB cache and 7200 RPM speed.

Features

Our 5000DV came with a 160 GB capacity drive inside. Expect to pay anywhere from $260- $300 respectively for the 160 GB version and $318-$399 for the 200 GB big brother. Included with the 5000DV is a USB cable (2) FireWire cables, an external AC adapter, a vertical stand, the manual and software. The 5000DV carries a 1 year warranty and is compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems. What scares us more than anything is seeing larger drives enter the market with shorter warranty’s. We are adding more data and important information than ever to these drives, show us your confidence and give us a longer warranty.  

The design of the 5000DV is very appealing with sleek curves and a nice blue shell. Size on the other hand is relatively large for a 3.5″ hard drive, but when you consider that the case has to include cooling we suppose it can be justified. On the bottom of the 5000DV are 4 rubber feet each located in the corner of the drive and designed to act as an anchor should you decide to stack more than one of Maxtor’s external drives on top of each other. If you decide this will be your only drive, you have the option of using the included vertical stand which puts your drive on its side adding a little more desktop room and giving it a touch of style. On the back of the 5000DV are two FireWire ports, one to connect to your computer and the other to daisy chain to your other FireWire devices. There is also a USB 2.0 connector on the back as well as the AC adapter connector. It is what’s located on the front of the 5000DV that sets this drive apart from other external drives on the market.

The front button sends a command to open a special version of the Retrospect Backup Express program. Retrospect automatically executes an internal script which you setup, backing up a partition that you select during the first run; then it quits. The program is easy to set up and convenient to use on the fly, and it lets you schedule backups, too.

If you choose not to use the included backup software then there should be no problems using the 5000DV alone. Upon plugging it into our Windows XP pro based system, Windows recognized it right away without the need of any additional drivers and treated the 5000DV as any other hard drive. If you decide to use the Retrospect software, please read the instructions as there is a plethora of backup options for you to choose from. We found the software to be relatively powerful and liked the fact that you could either manually backup your drive or create a script that does it automatically for you when you specify it to. You can also either have it backup the partition you select or backup everything. If you choose to backup everything it will compress your chosen partitions into a single large compressed file and you will have to use retrospect to restore everything. This takes an incredible amount of time, so be forewarned. Overall we found the backup utility to be faster than a tape drive alternative and easier to use to the drag and drop abilities associated with a regular hard drive.


 

The first thing we noticed about the 5000DV was that it came formatted in the FAT32 file system. We assumed that the primary reason for this is that as a portable drive, FAT32 is more compatible with older Windows operating systems and thus made more sense. If you will be using this drive solely on your computer and already have your operating system formatted in the NTFS file system, we recommend you format the 5000DV to the NTS as well to increase performance. Mac users will want to format the drive right away.

We also noticed that our 5000DV drive is relatively quiet, but it puts out an enormous amount of heat. Another feature that we would have liked to have seen is an on/off switch. An external drive does not necessarily always have to be on and unplugging the drive while it is not in use is a bad idea. Doing further research on drives of this type showed us that the majority do not have an on/off switch. Manufacturers reading this might want to jot down some notes for future reference.

Performance

Measured in kilobytes per second; longer bars indicate better performance

 

eTesting Labs WinBench 99

In our eTesting Labs WinBench 99 tests using the FireWire interface, the 500DV scored in between our Maxtor DiamondMax 9 Plus 160 GB Serial ATA drive and our Maxtor D540X 160 GB hard drive with a beginning transfer rate of 39,900 bytes/sec and an ending transfer rate of 32,100 bytes/sec. While the 5000DV did not perform as well as we expected, it did perform above average for an external drive. Using the USB 2.0 interface should improve the transfer rate by an estimated 70 MB/sec. CPU utilization peeked 75% at times which worried us, but after comparing it to our LaCie Pocket Drive, we assumed this to be normal for a drive using the FireWire interface.  

 

System Configurations:

 

Windows XP Pro; AMD Athlon 1700+; Abit AT7 Max 2 motherboard; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; Leadtek Geforce 4 MX video adapter.

Test and Benchmarks

In our eTesting Labs WinBench 99 tests using the FireWire interface, the 500DV scored in between our Maxtor DiamondMax 9 Plus 160 GB Serial ATA drive and our Maxtor D540X 160 GB hard drive with a beginning transfer rate of 39,900 bytes/sec and an ending transfer rate of 32,100 bytes/sec. While the 5000DV did not perform as well as we expected, it did perform above average for an external drive. Using the USB 2.0 interface should improve the transfer rate by an estimated 70 Mb/sec. CPU utilization peeked 75% at times which worried us, but after comparing it to our LaCie Pocket Drive, we assumed this to be normal for a drive using the FireWire interface.  Please click on the performance tab above and below this review to see how the Maxtor 5000DV performed.

Conclusion

The 5000DV is perfect for those that need a lot of storage and would like a level of portability. For the HTPC user or those that simply want to store a large amount of movies and music, the 5000DV opens the door to unlimited possibilities.  The one touch backup works as promised and adds a nice touch to the already good performing drive. If an on/off switch was included and the drive put out less heat, Maxtor could possibly have an award winner in the 5000DV. We also would have liked to have seen a longer warranty but that seems to be how all hard drive manufacturers are heading. Overall the 5000DV is a solid performer and proved to be reliable with our use and abuse.  

*Editors Note 8/31/03: We lowered the overall score to a 7 because of the number of e-mails we received concerning the drives reliability. While we did not experience problems with it, please read the user reviews before making a purchasing decision. 

Get our Top Stories delivered to your inbox: