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OWC Newer Technology Guardian MAXimus Hard Drive Review

Victor B. May 21, 2012 0
4 out of 5 Rating

Other World Computing is a great place to purchase Mac equipment such as batteries, power supplies, Blu-ray writers, and yes, even hard drives.  From personal experience their customer support is very good as well.  Thanks to OWC we were given the opportunity to check out the Newer Technology Guardian MAXimus storage solution.

Right out of the box you are given everything you need to immediately use the drive.  So no scrambling for a firewire cable, for example if you want to use the fastest connection to your Mac.  Here is what is included in the box:

  • The Guardian Maximus
  • Power brick and cable
  • an eSATA cable
  • Firewire 800 cable
  • Firewire 400 cable
  • USB 3.0 cable
  • a Software CD bundle
  • and a User’s guide

If you are a MacBook Pro or MacPro user with other firewire hard drives you probably already have plenty of firewire cables – so the included cables are a bonus.  The one that may be new that you may not need until the new line MacBook Pros/ MacPros maybe start building them in is the USB 3.0 cable.

The unit itself is larger than your standard external hard drive because it includes two 3.5″ drives inside.  This particular model we have has two 2TB drives mirrored(RAID 1), for a total of 2TB of storage.

There are plenty of ports on the back for any system now or for the near future:

  • USB 3.0
  • eSATA
  • two Firewire 800 ports
  • Firewire 400

There is even a place to use a lock, if you need to secure it to your desk.

On the front are four LEDs: power, HDD1, HDD2, and Rebuild.  The HDD LEDs should be green when they are being accessed, and will turn red in the case of a hard drive failure.  That is where the “Rebuild” LED comes in.  When trying to rebuild the data, that LED will flash green.  Most external hard drives I have used in the past usually have only one status light, to let you know the drive is on and it flashes when being accessed.  These hardware status lights are the main component to the system that sets it apart from just a regular 2TB hard drive and great peace of mind that your data is safe.

The owner’s manual that comes in the box has information on what to do when a drive fails and what to do when it rebuilds.  They state that when replacing a failed drive, the good drive needs to be in the HDD1 slot because it rebuilds to HDD2, so if the good drive is in HDD2 when rebuilding, it may erase your data.

That brings me to another great quality of this drive, the internals are easily accessible by four screws at the bottom of the enclosure.  So in the event that a hard drive fails, it should be easy to physically replace a drive inside yourself.

There is also plenty of information in the manual about formatting and options for using this Mac formatted drive on Windows.

I plugged in the drive to a current generation MacBook Pro, with OSX Lion.  The drive came up right away, with a custom icon of the same drive(nice touch), and showed a capacity of 2TB.  I can notice a real speed increase with the Guardian MAXimus versus another external hard drive I have been using recently, which I bought based on price, both using a firewire 800 connection.  There are plenty of benchmark test numbers on their product page, but I had to take a stopwatch test myself, here are some times transferring files to the Guardian MAXimus:

  • 986.9 mb file = :19
  • 10.32 GB folder = 2:43
  • 127.48 GB folder = 34:06

The drive runs cool, thanks to plenty of ventilation and a fan on the case.  The fan makes a little bit of noise on the desk, but not a distracting amount, maybe about the same amount as a quiet powered laptop cooler.

There is also a software package that is more than a $200 value included with the drive:

  • Intech Hard Disk SpeedTools Utilites
  • ProSoft Engineering Data Backup
  • NovaStor NovaBACKUP(Win)
  • Carbon Copy Cloner

There is also a folder full of shareware, freeware and public domain software already loaded on the drive.

At the prices these drives are going for, it may scare some away when the same capacity could be had for a lot less.  The 2TB model used in this review retails on OWC for 414.99 at this moment.  If you add up the components  – two 2TB drives, the enclosure and a software package with premium backup tools valued at around $200, the price tag is very reasonable. There are also different capacities available from OWC anywhere from 500gb to 4TB.

The biggest value with the Guardian MAXimus is having a large storage solution with tools that gives you the peace of mind that your data is safe and in the event that a drive fails, you have a chance of saving it, so for important data, what is that worth?