The Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition comes in a slim, flat-black chassis that sits in a removable, clear plastic stand. Despite its sleek looks, it is surprisingly heavy at 6.7-pounds. The font of the chassis features a small LED panel, which indicates power, drive activity, and device status. The front also includes vents that deceptively look like they are doors that provide access to the drives inside, but this is not the case--the drives are removable only by powering down the unit and opening it up. The vents were likely added after numerous users complained that the previous version of the device got very hot. Most of the time we found the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition remained relatively cool or a bit warm--but never hot. We also found that the unit ran very quietly; a faint low-whirring can be detected when the drives are active. The back of the unit includes a Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB 2.0 ports, power switch, AC adapter jack, a Kensington Lock slot, a cooling fan vent, and a thumbscrew for opening up the case.
Unless a drive fails, you should never have to open the case. But if you need to open the case, you first loosen the thumbscrew on the back. Once it is loose, the entire side-portion of the case can be pulled off (as the case should be laying on its side during maintenance, from this perspective, it is the top portion that slides off). Each hard drive is held in place by four Phillips-head screws. The SATA connectors at the top of the case include a triangle symbol and a square symbol, respectively. These symbols help you identify which drive needs to be replaced based on what the software reports--the software uses these triangle and square symbols to identify the individual physical drives.
The drive pulls out attached to a mounting bracket that holds the drive in place with two Phillips-head screws on either side of the bracket. After removing the four screws, the brackets come off, and the drive can now be swapped with a replacement drive.
If a drive fails while the Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition is still under its five-year warranty, Maxtor will send you a replacement drive at no cost.