Maxtor 3000LE External Hard Drive

Today I am reviewing the Maxtor Personal Storage 3000LE External USB 2.0 Hard drive. If you need some external, portable type storage this is just one of the solutions. The model I chose is a 40 GB unit it’s also available in a 120 GB configuration. It is more expensive than an internal hard drive, but that’s not the reason for choosing this product. For portable transfer of large files, it can’t be beat.

What comes in the box?

  • USB external hard drive
  • USB 2.0 Cable
  • External AC Power Adapter
  • Installation Guide
  • 1-Year Warranty

The specifications from Maxtor’s website:

  • Ultra-sleek design
  • Easy installation
  • Stackable
  • Powered by Maxtor’s award-winning hard drive technology
  • Hot swappable
  • PC and Mac compatible
  • Formatted capacity: 40GB and 120GB
  • Average seek time: < 9ms
  • Rotational speed: 5400 RPM
  • 2MB cache buffer
  • Weight: 2 lbs, 10.6 oz (1.22Kgrams)

System Requirements

  • Available USB 1.1 or USB 2.0* port
  • CD-ROM Drive
  • 32MB RAM or higher

For PC Users

  • Pentium II class processor or higher
  • Windows 98SE/Millennium/2000/XP

For Macintosh Users

  • True G3 or higher
  • Mac OS 9.0 or higher
  • Mac OS 10.2 or higher

For more information visit Maxtor’s Website

Unlike some of the portable enclosures that are available this one incorporates a full-sized hard drive. It is a Maxtor D540X, 5400 rpm standard 40 gig drive. Installation is very easy with Windows XP or Windows 2000 it’s basically Plug ‘n Play as XP has native mass storage drivers. Just plug it in and you’re ready to go. With Windows 98 there is a driver disk to install drivers. I couldn’t test this as I don’t run 98 on any of my systems anymore. It does need an external power adapter, but the power brick is midway down the cord so it doesn’t take up a lot of space on your powerstrip. The cord is also about 3′ from the drive to the brick and another 6’ to the plug. Being long like this is definitely an asset. The only thing missing is an on/off switch. Weighing in at a little over 2 lbs. It’s not ultra-portable, but it is manageable. It measures 6″ W x 8 ¾” L x 2″ H. It’s about the size of a book. I also think it should come with some sort of carrying case to make it even more portable.

Even though the hard drive used is an ATA 100 drive the 3000LE utilizes a USB 2.0 to ATA 33 Bridge. But this doesn’t seem to affect transfer speeds at all. What does affect transfer speeds is the interface used.

I ran a test on the speed of this drive on my P-4 system an Asus P4B533 motherboard with onboard USB 2.0. The other stuff really isn’t important in this test. This is the first Usb 2.0 device I have ever owned or used. I am impressed with the speed that USB 2.0 provides. In my testing I did a file transfer of a 2.44 GB file from an internal hard drive to the Maxtor 3000LE.

  • With USB 2.0 it completed transfer in 2 minutes 15 seconds.
  • Deletion of the same file was almost instantaneous.
  • With USB 1.1 it took 44 minutes 27 seconds for the same exact file to transfer.
  • Deletion took 14 seconds.

Obviously without USB 2.0 you’ll need a lot of spare time on your hands for large file transfers.

I also ran some tests with HD Tach ver. 2.61. I tested the drive with FAT32 and NTFS file systems and as the tests were almost identical. I am using the FAT32 tests for comparison purposes. The drive comes configured this way so as to be compatible with most operating systems. The tests were run on USB 1.1 and 2.0 ports for a comparison. I also did some comparisons of other drives (internal) on the same system. The USB 1.1 test took forever compared to the others.

I think these tests pretty much speak for themselves. USB 1.1 is just plain slow. USB 2.0 is much faster in all the tests and while it’s no match for an internal drive it certainly shows its benefits. When used as it was intended, that is a portable storage device this drive is just cool. I am pleased with my purchase. The Maxtor 3000LE is somewhat on the pricey side, going anywhere from $130.00 to $200.00 depending on where you shop. I just happened to get mine at Staples for under $100.00 (excluding taxes) with mail-in and in store rebates. I also got a free Maxtor USB 2.0 card if they were purchased at the same time (more mail and in store rebates). Hunt around and you can find some great deals.


  • Portable and large storage
  • Plug ‘n Play (Windows XP)
  • Price (if you hunt down a good one)
  • Speed (with USB 2.0)
  • Ease of use


  • Price (if you don’t shop around for a deal)
  • Speed (with USB 1.1)
  • USB Adaptor (not included)
  • No carrying case
  • No on/off switch

What few cons there were are minimal in my opinion. This is one great portable storage device and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

About Robert Bailey

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