The mantra by which many computer enthusiasts live is that too much hard disk space is never enough. The onslaught of the digital revolution and the introduction of heavyweight operating systems and applications has ensured that the hard drive upgrade remains one of the most common projects in personal computing - but it isn't always easy.
Most hard drives are bought in a bare bones package that includes nothing except the drive itself and maybe a separate document detailing jumper settings. That's why this Maxtor hard drive kit is such an interesting proposition: it's aimed at inexperienced users and features all the components necessary to correctly set up a new drive. In it, you'll find an 80GB hard drive with impressive specifications, including a spin speed of 7200rpm, 2MB cache and an ATA133 interface. I tested it by transferring 128MB of data from one partition to another, a procedure that took just over eight seconds under Windows 98 SE on a Pentium 4-based machine (albeit using an ATA100 interface).
The package also includes a start- up reference guide, a MaxBlast Plus II software installation floppy disk and a CD-ROM featuring utility and monitoring software (some of which didn't work on the included drive). An IDE ribbon cable was also included, as were mounting screws and brackets for installing the drive in a 5.25in bay.
The guide is quite clear in its description of the physical installation, and illustrations are provided. Where it falters is explaining how the software setup actually works - the guide only dedicates half a step to this, merely telling you to "follow the MaxBlast Plus II instructions from here". Also frustrating was the seemingly obsolete help file on the MaxBlast Plus II disk, which described menu entries that weren't present. Luckily, the program is fairly basic to use and will allow you to create and quickly format multiple partitions on your drive without even having to know what Extended partitions and Logical drives are.
Considering that a bare bones drive of the same type can cost less than $510, this kit seems slightly overpriced - but it may be worth the extra cash if this is your first attempt at upgrading.
Maxtor 80GB 7200rpm hard drive
This kit, while not overly informative in its software instructions, has all the bits and pieces you need to "set up a new hard drive correctly.
Distributor: Ingram Micro.
Phone: (02) 9741 2000.
Phone: 1300 652 005.