I wrote about my hard drive plans here, but what I ended up doing was purchasing a really cheap internal Maxtor SATA hard drive kit that Costco just started carrying ($170 for 300 GB). The kit comes with a SATA PCI adapter card, which is good because my home system only has a SCSI interface for hard drives. I've been waiting for the next Maxtor hard drive to show up at this price point at Costco. I figure buy it early to maximize the gains for the dollars spent (up until a few weeks ago they had been carrying a 250 GB SATA Maxtor kit for $160 and I was kicking myself for not hopping on that early).

However, when I finally found time to open it up on two weekends ago, I was surprised and then angry that the hard drive only had a 15-pin power connection, it did not have a standard 4-pin power connector (the same connector that I've stared at multiple times over the last decade of installing hard drives). I did a little searching online and it looks like up until this model, Maxtor had power connectors on the hard drive for both 4-pin and 15-pin, so this is a recent change. Of course my power supply only has 4-pin outputs. Worse, Maxtor did not include an adapter from 4-pin to 15-pin in the kit and places like Best Buy and CompUSA are lost causes for such a specialty item. Calls around to a couple mom-and-pop computer stores also struck out.

The Maxtor manual clearly says the power adapter "may not be included in some kits", but I was angry enough that I tried calling (on the weekend, remember) and then emailing them with such choice verbage as "if i have to order an adapter cable online I'll just return the hard drive". Pathetic though it is, sometimes throwing little hissy fits is the only way I know how to fight the system. Well, I was surprised as the next guy when I got an email back (on Saturday no less) from a guy at Maxtor saying "I will check to see if we have any of these power converter cables in stock for your SATA drive. Please provide your shipping address while I check on the stock supplies of these cables."

Unfortunately, I didn't see this email until the following Monday morning (who would have thought a tech support person would have responded so quickly?) so I decided to call them up and talk to the guy in person. He said he would look and then emailed me back later in the day that he found one and had sent it off. I got it a few days later and installed the hard drive last weekend. Thing installed and ran just like it says it would. Time between complaint to satisfaction: less than 5 business days.

I must say that my experience with "bulk" hard drive manufacturers has been spotty in the past. I once purchased a Western Digital external USB hard drive that completely crashed one month after its 12-month warranty expired and I didn't get one ounce of courtesy from the Western Digital tech support/complaint department. Her response was quite blunt that they would not be helping me out and that my only option was to send the hard drive to a data repair shop where the cost of retrieving the data (if it could be retrieved) might stretch into the thousands of dollars. I've steered clear of Western Digital since. My hard drive purchase after that was an IBM/Hitachi SCSI drive (SCSI drives are generally known for their reliability). Thus, I was pretty trepidatious about Maxtor, but for $170 I thought it was worth the risk, since I really needed the disk space. For now, I'm glad I made the choice.

Now if this hard drive fails, I'm sure Maxtor will probably have the same stance as Western Digital, they're large enough that a single unknown person's dissatisfaction doesn't amount to anything once they've got their dough. But for now, I'm quite happy with the Maxtor tech support folks.

Lesson of the Day: Don't be too proud or shy or lazy to make your voice heard if you are dissatisfied. Sometimes the system can be made more agreeable, because after all, the system is made up of people like you and me.

§133 · August 5, 2005 · Technology, Tips · · [Print]

1 Comment to “Thumbs Up Maxtor, But…”

  1. Candace says:

    Beautiful. Touching. what a great lesson of the day.