Maxtor has announced its Maxtor Personal Storage 3000LE, the world's first 40GB external hard-drive with USB 2.0 interface.

The device costs £175 and is in distribution to retail outlets. USB 2.0 offers up to 40 times faster performance than USB 1.1, the currently adopted USB (Universal Serial Bus) standard. USB 2.0 devices are also backward-compatible, and will work with USB 1.1-enabled Macs. Adaptec and Keyspan both offer PCI-based solutions that can add USB 2.0 connectivity to Macs, and a variety of USB 2.0 solutions are currently reaching market.

The 40GB 3000LE operates at 5,400rpm, and can hold up to 40 hours of uncompressed digital-video.

Tex Schenkkan, senior VP, consumer electronics and business development at Maxtor said: "Now that USB connectivity is available to hard-drive users at an affordable price, each family member can own a unit to store their own data and applications in order to extend the value of their Mac."