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Appeared on: Thursday, May 05, 2005
Maxtor OneTouch II

1. Introduction

Maxtor One Touch II External Hard Drive - Page 1

External Backup Solution with Powerful Capabilities

In the last few years, hard drive manufacturers have had to come up with ingenious ways and incorporate more and more features in order to make a "difference" in the market. One of the giants in hard drives is Maxtor, the company that pioneered the revolutionary "push-button" approach to data storage backup.

The company has developed an interesting feature designed to let computer users back up their files and folders with just the touch of a button. And while it sounds easy to use, it's also just as easy to setup. The One Touch II is the newest addition to Maxtor's very good, external drive family.

- WHAT it is and HOW it works

The One Touch Backup system was originally developed at Quantum laboratories, before that company was acquired by Maxtor in early 2001. Maxtor simply had to improve the system before releasing it onto the market.

The process starts when the user presses the button on the One Touch external drive, initiating the backup process. It's simply the fastest way possible to perform a backup, faster than CD or a removable cartridge system and certainly faster than floppies. Backup and Restore is handled exclusively by Daunt Retrospect software.

- Simplicity

Throughout the entire backup or restore process, you won't find any complex menus or commands and there's no need for any technical knowledge in order to set up and use the Maxtor One Touch II drive. Even installation of the One Touch software is a matter of a few clicks with the mouse and some simple questions such as the user's name and preferred language.

By leaving everything to default settings, Retrospect backs up everything on the local drives, including Internet favorites, address books, my documents folders, outlook express mail folders, operating system folders, applications, etc.

Retrospect allows for two modes of backup called Comprehensive and Duplicate. The backup files created by Retrospect when doing Comprehensive backups are compressed automatically and their format is such that they are not accessible directly. Only with Retrospect can the administrator of the PC access all the backed up files and restore any particular file or files back to the PC. Comprehensive backup creates restore points so that the user can for example create a backup for each day of the week rather than simply overwriting the previous backup.

With Duplicate backups, older saved files are overwritten with newer versions.

Retrospect also includes a disk self management facility that makes best possible use of available disk space on the the Maxtor One Touch, erasing any unnecessary files and always keeping free space at a maximum.

The Maxtor One Touch drive - just press the button and your files are backed up in one, simple step. It's simply the fastest backup.

- Drive Lock Security

Maxtor offers a new Drive Lock feature for greater data protection. This is a password protection scheme that can keep unauthorized users from viewing sensitive data. Once the original user switches off the computer or the drive is disconnected from the system, access to the drive will be denied until the right user name and password are provided. This is something extremely important for professionals and power users where security is necessary.


When the worst happens and data is lost, restoring files from a previous back up on the Maxtor One Touch is a very simple task. It is a three step process:

-Friendly Interface

The graphical interface for One Touch software has been redesigned by Maxtor since the previous version, making setup and restore, drive management and security settings a lot easier to manage.


Maxtor's One Touch II is easy to install, requiring only power and a USB 2.0 or Firewire connection.

It is expandable, making it easy to connect up to 63 drives via Firewire, or 127 USB 2.0 drives with the use of USB.2.0 hubs.

Needless to say, the drive is hot-swappable (thanks to the USB and Firewire interfaces) making it easy to connect to and disconnect from any computer at any time.

All the connection ports are conveniently located on the back of the device for easy connection with the PC. However, something that may be worth considering is the inclusion of a connection on the front, since quite a large number of users may want to connect their digital cameras or DVD camcorders for example, directly onto the drive to download their media files.


The drive is made from high quality anodized aluminum and gives the impression of a device that will last.

The One Touch II, features a handsome, rugged aluminum enclosure with a single illuminated push-button on the faceplate. The push-button activates the automated backup process. The construction is "bulky" but by no means heavy, making it easy to transport from location to location.

You're also not likely to hear any noise from the drive itself, since it is barely audible except during intense disk activity when you can hear the odd muffled whirring noise.

The first generation of One Touch drives lacked a power switch, which meant that there was no easy way to turn the device on and off. The new design adds a switch making it easier to power up or down the drive under all possible conditions.

- The Package

The package we received was a European retail version of the Maxtor One Touch II 300 GB External Hard disk drive.

The Maxtor One Touch FireWire and USB 2.0 Hard Drive Includes:

Maxtor provides a package that contains everything necessary for the handling and various connections of the drive.

It is worth mentioning the high quality of all cables and the power supply included.

The drive, with its high quality anodized aluminum case, is as attractive as it is flexible. The Maxtor logo is engraved on both sides of the case. The Maxtor One Touch II drive sports a novel, sophisticated, contemporary look.

The drive comes with a plastic cradle, so it can be placed upright or laid down flat your desk to save space.

On the rear side of the unit are all the necessary connection ports, two FireWire and one USB 2.0, and the power on/off switch. One minus with the unit is the absence of a cooling fan which would help air circulation inside the aluminum box.

Also on the back are located the two screws that allowed us to open the case and gain access to the hard disk enclosed. Note that one screw is covered by the warranty sticker, which voids the warranty if removed.

On the front, we have the One Touch push-button and a metallic mesh that runs from top to bottom and provides some air circulation. The One Touch button has a blue light that flashes when the drive is active.

Opening the enclosure (something we don't recommend you do since you will void the warranty), we see the Maxtor DiamondMax 10 300GB, PATA 133 hard disk installed. The cables and the circuit board are neatly placed around the drive, which is also electrically grounded.

On the underside, we can see more clearly the blue rubber bumpers that absorb any vibrations, especially during transportation.


Below we can see the chip sets responsible for the handling the FireWire and USB 2.0 ports.

2. STEP BY STEP Installation

-STEP BY STEP Installation

Let's take a step by step look at the installation procedure, as well as some "key" features of the Maxtor One Touch II.

Without connecting the hard disk to the system, load the installation CD which should auto run. This will run the installation program and bring up the "Main Menu" screen (screen shot below), from which you choose to install the Maxtor drivers, One Touch Settings program and Retrospect Express.

After the One Touch drivers are installed, it then automatically starts installation of the Retrospect Express HD 1.0 software.

You are then prompted to restart your computer so that the Retrospect configuration changes can take effect.

After restarting your computer, you are instructed to connect the hard drive to the system.

Note that you can have the hard disk connected to the system before the drivers and program installation process but with the power turned off.

So, after connecting the disk and turning the power on, the system detects the drive and tries to find the most suitable drivers.

After selecting "install the software automatically", the hard disk is now ready for use.

3. The program

You are asked to choose what type of backup to make. There are two choices, Comprehensive Backup and the Duplicate.

Comprehensive Backup creates restore points for recovering deleted and older versions of files or even the entire file system, while Duplicate Backup saves only the most recent version of your files erasing previous copies

Once you have chosen the backup type, you then need to indicate what will be backed up. Here, there are three choices:

This is done in an "explorer" style interface which makes the job really easy.

Maxtor One Touch program

The One Touch program is a very useful utility that lets you manage the device. The screen shot below shows the main screen from which you choose from setup and restore, manage the drive's options or protect your data

The Setup & Restore option activates the Retrospect program which was described previously.

The Drive Management menu has five choices:

-1. View Drive Information

View information about the model, the capacity or the serial number

-2. Adjust power settings

Select the time period before the drive goes into power saving mode

-3. Customize One Touch Button

Here, you can opt to run an application of your choosing when the One Touch button is pressed.

-4. Run Diagnostics

Run all the necessary tests to check the hard disk's condition

-5. Adjust Performance

Select between normal hard disk operation or the highest possible performance.


The third option in the main menu screen is the security settings.

From here you can literally lock all your sensitive data and protect it from any unauthorized access.

This is done by setting a password.

In case you forget your password, there's an option to choose a secret question to which you supply the answer. If you forget your password, the software will ask you this question to which you must answer correctly to unlock the system.

We should point out that any data protected in this way is impossible to view, even if the hard disk itself is installed in another computer as a regular drive.

The utilities included with the Maxtor One Touch II hard disk have a lot more capabilities than we've discussed here, such as automated regular backups and scripts. In this review, we have only shown you some of the more important features. It's up to you to explore the rest and take full advantage of unit's capabilities. It is suggested you read the attached printed manual and online help file to fully unveil the software's potential.

4. Tests

- Tests

Our tests begin with the reading and writing benchmarks. The hard disk installed in the One Touch unit we received was the Maxtor DiamondMax 10, with 300GB capacity, Parallel ATA 133, 7200 rpm and an average seek time up to 9 msec.

In the Disk Speed Reading and Writing test graphs below, the vertical axis (Y axis) displays megabytes transferred while the horizontal axis (X axis) shows the time period in milliseconds. Hence, the graphs indicate the transfer rate in MB/s.

A large test file is created on the disk under test. The size of this test file is proportional to the amount of RAM available, which stops the entire file from being cached in RAM. The file is read sequentially from start to end. The amount of data read in each individual read operation is always 16KB.

This graph shows the MB/Sec disk write rate over the period of time required to write over 200MB to a hard drive. Cacheing allows the rate to start very high then drop off as the cache fills and the drive can't keep up. In fact, for writing large files cacheing can even cause a decrease in performance (compared to the uncached performance). The cache becomes an overhead in this case.


HD Tach tests the sequential read, random access and interface burst speeds of your attached storage device (hard drive, flash drive, removable drive, etc). All drive technologies such as SCSI, IDE/ATA, 1394, USB, SATA and RAID are supported. Test results from HD Tach can be used to confirm manufacturer specs, analyze your system for proper performance, and compare your performance with others.

This benchmark is intended to determine the maximum read or write speed on the device at various locations. Hard drives, for example, have faster read/write speeds at the inside edge (mapped to block 0) of the device, so it is useful to see the difference in speed. The maximum sustained speed (lowest speed on the device) is an important metric for real time sequential access applications. The maximum speed may be important to a power user that would like to partition the drive into a high speed partition and low speed partition.

The Maxtor gives a very stable performance graph that remains over 29 MB/s throughout its entire capacity.

The High-End and Business WinMark99 tests gave us very good results. This shows the good job that Maxtor has done with the One Touch II unit.

5. Intel's IPEAK Read Tests

- Intel's IPEAK Read Tests

The service time distribution is measured from a set of uniformly distributed random single-sector disk accesses spanning the entire disk. As Intel explains, the resultant distribution of service times is plotted as a probability density vs service time. This curve represents the probability that a request will be completed in a given amount of time. The service time distribution is not cumulative.
The read service time measures the behavior of the storage device from a set of uniformly distributed random single sector disk accesses spanning the entire disk.

Well behaved devices must have no outliers in the service time distribution and the distribution should be narrow. Any outliers make the storage subsystem unsuitable for real time applications, such us multimedia.

The media transfer rate is evaluated in the same way as the cache read hit transfer rate. Rather than generating references that assure the accesses are cache hits, the references are generated to completely random disk locations in order to minimize the cache hit rate. The remaining portion of the evaluation is the same as for the cache read hit transfer rate evaluation. No overhead can be computed from this evaluation as the Y intercept is also a reflection of the average seek time and average latency.The graph presents the original measured data of service time vs transfer size in addition to the superimposed regression line. If the regression fits well, the transfer rate can readily be determined. The transfer rate should be disregarded if the regression does not fit well.

This is a test that measures the amount of CPU usage as the rate of read operations is increased.The resultant graph shows us how active the processor was during each sequence of the test.

Maxtor One Touch gives a good result with the USB 2.0 port.

- Intel's IPEAK Write Tests

Again as Intel explains, write service time test gives a picture of the overall drive write access times and is very similar to the service time distribution for read accesses.By making the write requests back-to-back, typical write buffers are filled and the service time of the write requests as handled by a saturated write channel is observed.

The resultant distribution of service times is plotted as a probability density as a function of service time. This curve represents the probability that a request will be completed in a given amount of time. The service time distribution is not cumulative.

For well behaved I/O subsystems there should be no outliers in the service time distribution and the distribution should be narrow. Outliers in the distribution make the storage subsystem unsuitable for real-time applications, such as multimedia, where variations in service time are detrimental.


This measurement is taken in the same way as for read operations. The disk transfers are all back-to-back in order to keep any write buffer full, thereby forcing physical disk operations. The resultant distribution of service times as a function of seek distance is computed and plotted as a contour view of a 3D surface. The effectiveness of write combining and other write optimization techniques can be ascertained from the graph.

In this test the leading edge of the access band must not fall away too quickly because this is an indication of poor seek performance. Maxtor shows good behavior in this test too.

6. Conclusion

- Conclusion

If you've never experienced the horror of a hard drive crash or similarly catastrophic event that indiscriminately massacres applications and data alike, then more than likely you probably don't bother to back up your computer regularly. If you do perform regular backups and especially if you have large amounts of data, you know that backing up can be a time consuming process. And considering the limited capacities of CD-R and even DVD-R discs compared to the capacities of most server hard disk volumes, backing up amounts to a lot more work than it needs to be. An external hard drive is probably the best way to go for anyone who wants backups done quickly and reliably, and Maxtor's One Touch II external hard drive promises to make system backups fast and easy with little to no attention from you. You can use One Touch II to safeguard huge quantities of information at the push of a button.

With a storage capacity of 300 GB and transfer rate of 480 MB per second, the unit is equally suited to network backups as well. And while tThe One Touch button offers automatic safeguarding of all your data, it can also be assigned to other applications as well.

The latest version offers functions such as the automatic safeguarding of data and a history of recent operations as well as an analysis of the drives status. The One Touch II is establishing itself as the safeguarding solution for the most demanding network and domestic set ups.

As a conclusion to this review, we must say that the Maxtor One Touch II drive performed extremely well in all our tests and proved a competent solution for its cost. The results we had in the benchmarks were almost identical regardless of whether the connection was with the Firewire or the USB.20 port, although the graphs we presented are those from the USB 2.0 tests. The only complaint we have is that Maxtor used the 1394a interface, possibly restricting the unit in speed throughput despite the fact that there are1394b chips readily available in the market these days. The difference is that the 1394a standard supports speeds up to 400Mbps whereas the 1394b up to 800Mbps (although it does allow for a theoretical maximum transfer rate of up to 3.2Gbps).

The Maxtor One Touch II drive is one of the best backup solutions available on the market.

7. Detailed Specifications

For PC Users
- Pentium II class processor or higher
- Windows 98SE / Millennium / 2000 / XP
- CD-ROM drive
- 32 MB RAM or more as required by Windows
- Available FireWire/1394/i.LINK (OHCI-compliant) or USB 1.1 or 2.0 port - Internet connection (for system updates)

For Macintosh Users
- iMac®, Power Macintosh® G3 (Blue and White), or later model
- Mac OS 9.1 or higher, or Mac OS X version 10.1.2 or higher
- CD-ROM drive
- 32 MB RAM or more as required by Mac OS
- Available FireWire/1394/i.LINK (OHCI-compliant) or USB 1.1 or 2.0 port
- Internet connection (for system updates)

Maxtor One Touch FireWire and USB 2.0 Hard Drive Technical Specifications:
- Product Description Maxtor OneTouch II FireWire and USB
- FireWire / Hi-Speed USB
- Type Hard drive - external
- Dimensions (WxDxH) 14 cm x 22 cm x 4.1 cm
- Weight 1.4 kg
- Localisation Europe
- Capacity 300 GB
- Interface Type IEEE 1394 (FireWire) / Hi-Speed USB
- Connector 4 pin USB, 6 PIN FireWire
- Data Transfer Rate 400 Mbps (FireWire) / 480 Mbps (Hi-Speed USB)
- Average Seek Time 9 ms
- Spindle Speed 7200 rpm
- Buffer Size 16 MB
- OS Required Apple MacOS 9.1 or later, Apple MacOS X 10.1.2 or later, Apple MacOS X 10.2.4 - 10.2.8, Microsoft Windows 98SE/2000/ME/XP, Apple MacOS X 10.3 or later
- Power AC 110/230 V ( 50/60 Hz )
- Manufacturer Warranty 2 years warranty

- Device Type Hard drive - external
- Width 14 cm
- Depth 22 cm
- Height 4.1 cm
- Weight 1.4 kg
- Localisation Europe
- Compatibility PC, Mac
- Expansion / Connectivity
- Interfaces 2 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire) - 6 PIN FireWire
- 1 x Hi-Speed USB
- Manufacturer Warranty
- Service & Support 2 years warranty
- Service & Support Details Limited warranty - 2 years
- Cables Included 1 x IEEE 1394 cable - FireWire 400 (6-to-6 pin)
- 1 x USB cable
- Included Accessories Vertical stand
- Compliant Standards Plug and Play
- Power Device Power adapter
- Voltage Required AC 110/230 V ( 50/60 Hz )
- Software / System Requirements
- Software Included Drivers & Utilities, Dantz Retrospect Express Backup
- OS Required Apple MacOS 9.1 or later, Apple MacOS X 10.1.2 or later, Apple MacOS X 10.2.4 - 10.2.8, Microsoft Windows 98SE/2000/ME/XP, Apple MacOS X 10.3 or later
- System Requirements Details Windows 98SE/2000 Pro/ME/XP Home/XP Pro - Pentium III - 500 MHz - RAM 128 MB
- MacOS 9.1 or later - RAM 64 MB
- MacOS X 10.1.2 or later - RAM 128 MB
Environmental Parameters
- Min Operating Temperature 5 °C
- Max Operating Temperature 35 °C
Hard Drive
- Capacity 300 GB
- Interface Type IEEE 1394 (FireWire) / Hi-Speed USB
- Connector 4 pin USB, 6 PIN FireWire
- Buffer Size 16 MB

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