Portable drives have become mainstream and everyone who has more than Rs. 2,000 to spare on one will end up buying at least a 250GB external USB 2.0 drive.
Now, 1.5TB on a portable drive!
But what does one do when he has a bigger budget and requires a ton of space and also speed? Seagate might something for those customers. The new FreeAgent GolFLex 1.5TB drive is a USB 3.0 in a usual portable shell.
Features and Design
In terms of design, it's not overtly fancy. The one thing you do notice is that it's a good bit thicker than most portable drives. Still, it won't be a issue to carry around. It just about fits into a pocket.
USB 3.0 brings in a lot more speed
Unlike other drives, there isn't a need for two USB connectors. The USB 3.0 cable is thick, is of good quality and is fairly long. The drive has a glossy finish, very much like the WD MyPassport drives. This will attract its fair share of fingerprints and also scratches over time. A carry pouch would've been handy, especially when you're spending so much on a drive.
The underbelly is the only surface lacking the glossy finish
The drive has the same USB connectivity module at the back as some of the other GoFlex drives we've seen in the past since they were launched. In this case, there's no need to swap the connector module with a USB 3.0 one. Seagate bundles a Memeo Instant Backup application for you to be able to quickly backup data from your PC to the drive.
Test Rig Specifications
Processor: Intel Core i7-2600K CPU @ 3.40 GHz
Motherboard: GIGABYTE P67A-UD3R
Memory: Corsair Dominator GT 4 GB DDR3 (2 x 2 GB)
Hard drive: WD Velociraptor 300 GB
GPU: ASUS GeForce GTX 580 DirectCU II
PSU: Cooler Master 1000W
Being a USB 3.0 drive, it's safe to assume that the performance is bound to surpass that of USB 2.0. This it does with ease, even though the Seagate FreeAgent 1.5TB is a 5400 rpm drive with 16MB of cache.
The drive rips through the file transfer tests with relative ease. Write speeds are a healthy 87.33MB/s for a single 4GB file. Assorted file tests take a beating though with speeds dropping to 48.14MB/s. Synthetic tests showed the read and write speeds to be around 74MB/s whle reading and 71MB/s while writing. Latencies are somewhat high at 23ms, but it doesn't affect performance much.
Proprietary connector for the drive
Read tests only get better. The sequential file reading test only improves by a miniscule 1MB/s but the assorted read test speeds shoot right up to 78.78MB/s. The limitations of a 5400rpm drive and cache come into picture while you try copying data from one partition on the drive to another. This involves the drive having to read and write onto itself at the same time. Sequential data speeds plummet to 17.69MB/s in this test. In the realworld though, we rarely have to copy data from one partition to another in an external drive.
There are no heating issues or vibrations or audible sounds from the drive. Overall though, the performance is very promising and the speeds are very close to 3.5-inch internal desktop drives.
With drives, a lot depends on the performance more than any other factor. Priced at Rs. 12,500, it's expensive for sure. If you're looking for desktop drive-like performance and capacity, then this is worth considering. For the rest of us who are looking for value for money, we'll still have to wait for the prices to drop. A 1TB USB 3.0 drive for example sells for around Rs. 6,000. Paying close to double that for a 50 per cent increase in space isn't worth it.
Updated 22 May, 2013, 9:27 pm IST
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