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Maxtor 500GB OneTouch III

External FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 storage device By John Virata

With digital media devices gaining traction in everyday households and businesses, people need to find easy-to-use solutions to have ready, portable access to that data. Back in the early to mid 1990s, removable storage devices like the Iomega Zip or SyQuest removable drives or external hard drives were the norm for portable media storage. But that was back when file sizes were minuscule and external hard drives cost thousands of dollars. Today, there are a variety of hard disk drive-based solutions that are not only inexpensive, but are easy to install and are portable. Maxtor Corp. has been offering external hard disk drive-based storage solutions for several years now with its popular OneTouch line of backup and storage devices. These devices are very easy to use, and are always highly designed. And with the recent release of 500GB drives, these devices are tailor made for the latest backup jobs of large system drives.

The Maxtor OneTouch III is one of the company's newer family of solutions introduced at CES 2006. The device is offered as a USB 2.0 only solution for home users who need to backup and store large amounts of music, digital imaging, and other data, as well as USB 2.0/FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 configurations for creative and digital media professionals in the need for portable, external storage. The OneTouch III drives for both Macintosh and Windows start at $159.95 for a USB 2.0 100GB solution to $899.95 for the 1TB Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo Edition, which offers RAID 0/RAID 1 capabilities. The test solution for this article was the 500GB FireWire 400/USB 2.0 drive priced at around $479.

The Maxtor OneTouch III is available from 100GB up to 1TB.

The Maxtor OneTouch III FireWire 400/USB 2.0 storage solution is built around a 3.5-inch 500GB ATA Maxtor hard disk drive spinning at 7200RPM. Built using a rubberized, metal enclosure, the device features two integrated FireWire 400 ports and a USB 2.0/1.1 compliant connection. It features a 16MB cache buffer with an average seek time of greater than 9ms. It supports a maximum sustained transfer rate of 33MB sec when connected via USB 2.0, and 43MB/sec using FireWire 400. The physical aspects of the device measure out at 5.3 inches x 2.6 inches x 8.5 inches. A design aspect that differentiates the OneTouch III solution from the OneTouch II family is the apparent stackability of the OneTouch III family of drives. While the OneTouch II line requires a stand to keep the drive upright, it was not conducive to stacking a second or multiple drives. In addition the surface is slippery to the touch. The OneTouch III line is built in such a way that you could conceivably stack multiple drives, and the surface is rubberized on the top and bottom of the unit, evoking a non-slip and more secure feel to the unit.

The OneTouch III calls for installing the drivers and Retrospect backup software before plugging in the drive. After the software is installed and the computer is restarted, the Maxtor OneTouch Setup window launches. You can then connect the drive as detailed in the QuickStart guide. This involves either connecting the USB 2.0 or IEEE 1394 cable (and not both, as the drive only works with one or the other at one time). Plug in the AC adapter to the drive and plug that into your surge suppressor (highly recommended), power strip, or wall socket. Fire up the device and your system should recognize it as a new volume. Retrospect Backup also launches. Retrospect Backup enables you to backup your hard drive in its entirety as well as select folders on your hard drive. Retrospect calls the backups Comprehensive and Duplicate.

A Comprehensive backup creates restore points that enable you to recover deleted as well as previous versions of files. Comprehensive backup can also be configured to backup and restore the entire hard drive as well. Duplicate will save a copy of the newest versions of your files and will overwrite all previous versions. Comprehensive gives you choices. You can backup the entire computer, specific files and folders, as well as file by type. Choose your backup type, follow the Retrospect screens to configure the session, and click ok. Retrospect will backup the folders of your choosing at the time and day(s) you specified. That is it. In addition, you can turn automatic backup off and on as well as restore at any time. In addition to scheduled backups, you can also backup your data at any time with a touch of the glowing OneTouch button on the front of the device. At 500GB, Maxtor says that the device can store up to 68,500 images in RAW format, 36 hours of DV video, or 8300 hours of MP3 music files. One of the nice aspects with regard to the OneTouch III is the capability to drag and drop files directly to the drive volume or using the Retrospect backup software to backup files automatically. Some other devices require you to specify folders without having the capability to just drag and drop when needed.

The 500GB Maxtor OneTouch III is ideal for a variety of users, ranging from those who create large data files such as music, video, and image files on the home front, to those who produce motion graphics, music, multimedia, animation, and digital video on the professional front, the OneTouch III 500GB is an ideal solution for maintaining and protecting that digital media data. The setup of the Maxtor OneTouch III is easy to perform, all the cables are included, and the QuickStart guide comes in 11 languages, including English, French, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Italian. Documentation is included on a separate CD from the installation CD, in a nicely designed envelope. For those who have 500GB system drives, the Maxtor OneTouch III is an excellent way to secure system integrity  in the event of corruption, and is easily the easiest solution on the market to use. The coolest thing about the OneTouch III? It is 500GB of portable storage. The Maxtor OneTouch III ships with a one year warranty and is priced around $479. For more information, visit

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at
Related Keywords:removable storage, maxtor one touch III, external hard disk drives, media storage,


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