The march of technology amazes me. Yeah, I'm an old guy, but it still surprises me when I realize that the amount of storage that used to fill a data center can now fit in my pocket. G-Technology's G-Drive mobile (made by Hitachi, US$199.99 MSRP for 1 TB) is the perfect example of mass storage in a small, silent box. Read on for a review of this mobile companion and a chance to win one!
There's not much too say in terms of the design of the G-Drive mobile -- it's a slim metallic box 5 inches long, a little over 3 inches wide, and about 3/4 of an inch high. There's no power port; the G-Drive is bus-powered by either FireWire (400/800) or USB 2.0. The device comes with cables for each connection. A single white LED on the front of the drive indicates when it is powered up and in use.
On the inside, there's a 5400 RPM 1 TB drive with an 8 MB cache. For speed, I'd much rather see a 7200 RPM drive, but that would most likely drive up both the cost and power requirements of the drive. However, as you'll see with the benchmarks, this is still a pretty fast drive despite the slower rotation speed of the disk.
The G-Drive mobile also comes in 500 MB ($149.99 MSRP) and 750 MB ($159.99) versions, although I'm at a loss why someone wouldn't want to double their capacity for just fifty bucks more. I found the drive to run a bit hot -- I had placed my iPhone on top of the drive at one point, and when I answered a call I wondered why the phone was so hot...
As with other drives of this ilk, the G-Drive mobile is almost completely silent.
TUAW uses a standard industry benchmark to compare the I/O capabilities of disks and arrays. The benchmark uses the AJA System Test, which simulates reading and writing video. The specific test I used was the Disk Read/Write test, also known as the DiskWhackTest, set at a video frame size of 720 x 486 8-bit and a file size of 128 MB.
The drive read speeds were surprisingly fast in our benchmarks, matching almost every FireWire drive that we've tested (only one is shown below for space considerations). When it came to USB 2.0 read speeds, the G-Drive mobile was slightly faster than the competition across the board. Write speeds were slower for the G-Drive when connected via FireWire 800, while almost identical to other drives with a USB 2.0 connection.
Conclusion and Giveaway
If you're the owner of a MacBook Pro and have an available FireWire 800 port, or have a FireWire-equipped desktop Mac you'd like to back up while keeping a lot of available desk space, then the G-Drive mobile will fill your requirements. Those who only have USB 2.0 ports on their Macs should spend their money on less expensive USB-only drives that offer read/write speeds in the same range as the G-Drive mobile.
Thanks to G-Technology and TUAW, you now have a chance to win one of these sweet little drives. Just fill out the entry form below (only one entry per person, please) and we'll pick a random winner next week. Here are the rules for the giveaway:
- Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
- To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
- The entry must be made before May 20, 2012 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
- You may enter only once.
- One winner will be selected and will receive a G-Technology G-Drive mobile valued at $199.99.
- Click Here for complete Official Rules.