With its 1TB capacity, Iomega's UltraMax provides enough space to alleviate your storage woes. But it is really only for Mac users.

While it may seem like your hard drive will always have room for all your media, at some point it's going to hit its limits. So the prudent approach is to purchase a new drive before you reach that point.

With its 1TB capacity, Iomega's UltraMax provides enough space to alleviate your storage woes. And, at around £230, it's reasonably priced - although there are less expensive options, such as the SimpleTech USB 2.0http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/reviews/index.cfm?reviewid=1663.

Depending on its storage size and connectivity options, the Iomega UltraMax either features a slender silver anodized aluminium case with a silver plastic stand that helps it stand vertically, or a more boxy aluminium body with two horizontal drives. There are versions of the Iomega UltraMax that use USB 2.0 and FireWire connectivity. Others have eSata and USB.

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A blue LED activity light sits behind the ventilation perforations on the front panel while a security port allows you to tether the unit to your work table as necessary. Besides the 1TB capacity unit we reviewed, the drive also comes in a 500GB version, 640GB, 750GB, as well as a 1.5TB model that uses two drives and a larger enclosure.

The UltraMax hard drives are designed to be compatible with Macs, and work out of the box with OS X 10.1 or above on Apple computers with an Intel processor or G3 processor or higher and a built-in USB or FireWire connection.

You can, however, reformat the UltraMax Drive to NTFS or FAT32 for use with a PC (instructions included). So it's compatible with Windows 2000, XP and Vista. FAT32 format allows cross-platform use.

To operate the UltraMax, simply plug in the external power supply and cable the drive to your Mac using one of the four available types of ports - FireWire 400, FireWire 800, USB, or eSATA. The UltraMax comes with dual FireWire 800 ports to allow you to connect multiple devices.

We found the connector spacing on the Iomega UltraMax's back panel to be slightly roomier than some others we've tested.

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With its 1TB capacity, Iomega's UltraMax provides enough space to alleviate your storage woes. But it is really only for Mac users.

Once you turn on the power switch, the Iomega UltraMax automatically mounts on your Mac's desktop. Unlike some other drives, Iomega's model comes formatted as HFS+, so there's no need to reformat it before using it with your Mac. It's also bundled with a copy of EMC's Retrospect Express backup software.

Performance was somewhat mixed. In our file duplication and low memory tests, the UltraMax clocked in with the slowest or next-to-slowest times among all the 750GB and 1TB drives we looked at. The drive turned in better numbers in our copy test.

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Iomega UltraMax: Specs

  • 1TB external 7200rpm hard drive
  • FireWire/FireWire 800/Hi-Speed USB
  • 122x245x78mm
  • 2.3kg
  • OS required: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Apple MacOS X 10.1 or later, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional/XP Professional
  • transfer rates: 800Mbps(FireWire800)/400Mbps(FireWire)/480Mbps(Hi-Sp.USB)
  • interface type: IEEE 1394b (FireWire 800) / IEEE1394 (FireWire) / Hi-Speed USB
  • 8MB buffer
  • included AC adaptor
  • 1TB external 7200rpm hard drive
  • FireWire/FireWire 800/Hi-Speed USB
  • 122x245x78mm
  • 2.3kg
  • OS required: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Apple MacOS X 10.1 or later, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional/XP Professional
  • transfer rates: 800Mbps(FireWire800)/400Mbps(FireWire)/480Mbps(Hi-Sp.USB)
  • interface type: IEEE 1394b (FireWire 800) / IEEE1394 (FireWire) / Hi-Speed USB
  • 8MB buffer
  • included AC adaptor

OUR VERDICT

With four different types of connectors from which to choose, Iomega's UltraMax offers maximum flexibility for those who need it - and it does so at a very respectable price. But with so many Windows PC-ready drives around, the Iomega UltraMax is probably best suited to Mac users. Macworld.com

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