Maxtor Personal Storage 3000LE

  • Editors' rating
    7.3 Very good


  • Compact;
  • good performance for an external drive.


  • Other USB 2.0 drives offer better value for money.

Maxtor’s Personal Storage 3000LE is an external USB 2.0-attached hard drive that works with PCs or Macintoshes. It’s available in 40GB and 120GB capacities, and we reviewed the latter. Although the 3000LE is a fine product with no real faults, it’s beaten as far as value for money is concerned by LaCie's cheaper USB 2.0 offering.

The 120GB Personal Storage 3000LE is the fastest external drive in this review, and it stands up well even when compared to the internal drives we evaluated. Its Business Disk WinMark 99 score of 8,930 was the second highest overall, while it came third in the High-End Disk WinMark 99 test, with a score of 17,500.

Since LaCie's USB 2.0 product uses exactly the same hard disk as Maxtor's 3000LE (a 120GB Maxtor DiamondMax D540X-4G), the performance difference between these products must be down to the electronics that mediate between the hard drive itself and the USB interface that connects to the PC. Evidently, Maxtor knows how to get the best out of its DiamondMax D540X-4G when linked to a USB 2.0 interface.

The 3000LE is reasonably compact, measuring 4.8 by 15.3 by 22.0cm. The case design allows you to stack several of these drives on top of one another -- although we wouldn’t advise making too high a pile, as the upper drive isn’t solidly held in place. The drive has an external power supply that connects through a mini-DIN connector -- lose or break the power supply and you won’t be able to use a generic one as a replacement. There’s also no power switch on the drive, so if you want to turn it off you’ll have to do so at the mains socket.

Although Maxtor's Personal Storage 3000LE is a perfectly good product, at £280 (ex. VAT) it's more costly than LaCie’s similarly specified (if slower) USB 2.0 offering, which costs £208.51 (ex. VAT). It’s smaller, so if you’re desperately short of desk space this may appeal. And obviously you should check street prices to see what resellers are charging. However, on list price it looks as though LaCie gets the nod over Maxtor as far as value for money is concerned.