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External Hard Drives with Trimmings Aplenty

Maxtor OneTouch II Small Business Edition

Maxtor's OneTouch product family has been available for a few years now. We tested the 250 GB OneTouch in Fall 2003; this spring, we tested the 300 GB OneTouch II. The name is based on the backup button found on the front of its sleek metal enclosure.

Because the OneTouch models aim at end users and small businesses, Maxtor offers a more professional version in its Small Business Edition products. The company seeks to meet the backup needs of small businesses, particularly where their servers are concerned. Unfortunately Maxtor falls for its own hype - a phenomenon that's too typical in this market sector - by overstating the storage capacity that compression can deliver. They optimistically claim "300 GB native, 200 GB compressed." With mixed data types this kind of ratio is seldom practical; our own experience indicates that a more realistic ratio might be 300:250 when the compressed data includes digital photos, e-mail, database files and customer lists. And although Maxtor's choice of Small Business Edition appears to anticipate use with Windows Small Business Server, there is no server anywhere however evocative the product name may be.

Although rubber feet for the enclosure are included in the retail package, users must attach these themselves. The drive is attached to a PC through a USB 2.0 connection; other interfaces aren't yet available in the SBE. Those who want FireWire or FireWire800 links must live without Maxtor's business options.