There are so many things in the technology world that takes up so much space on computers. Video editing is getting very big with the average consumer, and MP3's are bigger then ever. But what happens when you just run out of space on your PC? One solution is to get an internal hard drive. Or, you can go with an external drive. What's the difference between the two? Well, the internal drive is usually cheaper and performs better. An external hard drive, however, is much easier to use, and is perfect for people on the go. It all depends on the person on which drive to go with.

This leads me to the Maxtor 5000DV 200GB external hard drive. Maxtor's had the 5000DV series on the market for quite some time now, but it released the 200GB 7200RPM model very recently, which is the drive we are looking at today. Besides its huge hard drive and fast speed, it features a USB 2.0 or FireWire connection, an 8MB cache buffer (just 2MB for the 120MB version), as well as a Maxtor-exclusive OneTouch button. I'll get into that later.

So, what did I think of the powerful and spacious Maxtor 5000DV external hard drive? Read on.


The drive itself is small, just 41x152x219 mm in size. However, one main use of this drive is portability, and the hard drive is small, but it could be smaller to make it easier to carry. It weighs about 2 pounds and 11 ounces, which is manageable.


The drive has a nice bluish shiny coat, and black rubber corners. The front of the drive has two LED lights (one is orange, the other is green), and the OneTouch button. The back has a power port, a USB 2.0 port, and two FireWire ports. The bottom has a sticker with information on the drive, including the serial #.


Unfortunately, Maxtor didn't put a power switch on the drive. This isn't a big complaint, but it would have been nice.


The drive has many features that all make the Maxtor 5000DV a great external hard drive.

For one thing, the USB 2.0 and FireWire connectivity allows the drive to achieve more then 400MB a minute while transferring data. Can you imagine transferring 200GB with USB 1.1? However, although it's the fastest on the market, backing up 200GB with USB 2.0 can still be a long process.

The OneTouch button is extremely convenient for people who back up the same data frequently. If you install the included software, you can setup the drive to backup a specified folder or partition just by pressing the OneTouch button. This worked very well for me, but setting up was a tedious process. My OneTouch button was not doing anything. After three calls to the technical support department of Maxtor, I put the hard drive on a different USB 2.0 port, and the OneTouch button worked perfectly. What it does is it launches the included software and automatically begins the backup. I didn't find myself using the button often, but other people may rely on it daily.

The drive is PC and Mac compatible, so you can use it on either system. You can't, however, switch back and forth between the two. This is because both platforms rely on a different file system.

In the Box and Installation

When I opened the retail box, I found a huge collection of accessories to use the 5000DV with. The package was as follows; USB 2.0 cable, FireWire cable, AC Adaptor, manual, drive, and stand, as well as the drivers and Retrospect software on one CD. The package was secured and packaged well.

Installation, except for the OneTouch button, was easy and fast. If you've ever used a USB 2.0/FireWire device, you can install this drive without even using the manual. For Windows XP, all you need to do is plug in the drive, connect the USB/FireWire cable, and wait. Windows will automatically detect the drive, and you'll be all ready to go.

You don't need to format the drive for first-use either. The drive comes pre-formatted with a FAT-32 file system, but I formatted the drive to make the file system NFTS.

The drive also runs hot when on for a while. Since there is no power switch on the drive, it gets hot if it's plugged in.

System Setup

USB 2.0

  • Alienware Aurora DDR
  • Asus A7N266-C
  • Athlon XP 2200+
  • 512MB Crucial DDR 2100 RAM
  • ATI Radeon 9700 Pro
  • Seagate Barracuda 40GB 7200 RPM HDD
  • SoundBlaster Live! 5.1
  • ATI TV Wonder VE
  • Lite-On 52x CD-RW
  • Generic USB 2.0 PCI Card

  • Performance

    Maxtor 5000DV External Hard Disc Drive Bench tests 1

    Results, as expected, were excellent. It took the 5000DV just 115 seconds to transfer more then 1GB via USB 2.0. It took almost 200 seconds via FireWire for the same test, but one reason why the results are so different could be because it was done using a less-powerful computer. Still, 200 seconds is excellent for more than 1GB of data.

    The 5000DV needed 48 seconds to transfer 515MB of files to the hard drive. This is extremely fast. FireWire took 64 seconds on the same test. To transfer 68MB, FireWire won. It took 6 seconds to transfer via USB 2.0, and 5 seconds via FireWire. Not much of a difference, though.

    Maxtor 5000DV External Hard Disc Drive Bench tests 2

    Files from the hard drive had good results, but were lower then when transferring to the hard drive. It took the drive 164 seconds to transfer more then a 1GB of files via USB 2.0 from the drive to a local drive. It's quick, but it is much slower then transferring to the drive. The same test took 247 seconds when using FireWire, more then a minute longer then USB 2.0. Nevertheless, as an overall, results were very good.


    Maxtor bundles the hard drive with Retrospect 5.6, a backup tool to easily backup and compress files to send them to the 5000DV. Although I liked the program, I didn't use it much. I liked dragging files to the hard drive through Explorer. After all, do you really need compression when you have a 200GB hard drive? However, if you do use the software, you aren't in too bad of shape. Retrospect 5.6 is pretty nice and fairly easy to use once you get the hang of it.

    Setting up the program for first use was somewhat difficult for me. After a call to Maxtor's tech support, the problems were fixed in seconds. According to Maxtor, my setup problems were unusual and no one has reported having them.

    Basically, the software lets you quickly backup any file(s) on your hard drives directly to the 5000DV in very easy steps. You also setup the OneTouch feature through Retrospect.


  • Durable
  • 200GB!
  • USB 2.0 and FireWire
  • Fast!
  • OneTouch Button
  • Software
  • Cons

  • $400 is expensive, no matter what
  • Somewhat large
  • External power required
  • No USB 2.0 or FireWire card included
  • Conclusion

    The Maxtor 5000DV was extremely impressive as an external hard drive. Not only did it provide durability, speed, and support for both USB and FireWire, as well as Mac Support, but it did it all in a package costing $400 at your local CompUSA. That seems like a lot of money. Well, it is. However, the only 200GB internal hard drive at CompUSA is Maxtor, and costs $350. Therefore, the external add-on is just $50 more, but is a lot more convenient. Don't expect on using the 5000DV as your primary hard drive though!

    Although the 5000DV was slightly big, I was still very impressed with the unit overall. Like I said above, it provides durability, speed, wide-range support, and reasonable pricing, and it's great for showing off, as well as backing up data when formatting. Since I have to format about once or twice every couple months, this hard drive is extremely useful for me. It's really a pain to backup everything on CD. That's not going to be needed anymore!

    SLRating: 9.5/10




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