Published on November 27th, 2011 | by Greg0
Hitachi G-Drives: Making Mass Storage Look Good
Now that three terabyte drives have become more common, there are a few things to distinguish them. You can get an internal model, and deal with the hassles of configuring your operating system or the drive itself. Or you can opt for an external version, which will work more broadly and offer more flexibility. We've taken a look at several different types- including a Hitachi Deskstar that was incredibly useful and continues to serve as a primary backup for our local music library.
Today's Hitachi offers the same 7200 RPM speed, quiet and cool operation, and excellent durability, but puts it into a lovely all aluminum enclosure. The G-Drive 3TB Professional External Hard Drive sets a new standard for high-capacity, attractive storage. It's more expensive than many, but the sleek looks and fan-less cooling system go a long way towards making the pricetag seem reasonable.
Pre-formatted for Mac users with the HFS+ formatting, it's ready for Time Machine backup use right out of the box. We also tried formatting it for use with our Win7 64-bit PCs, and had some issues related to our computer drivers. After a few updates, some research, and reboots, we tried backing up a test folder of 10,000 small files, as well as a single 2TB file, and used Xcopy to monitor transfer rates in both directions. And we ran the tests primarily with eSATA, but appreciated the FireWire 800/400, as well as USB 2.0 connections. Unfortunately, those looking for Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 are out of luck- drives using the former are few and far between, while we did miss the latter as it becomes almost standard. What we saw were transfer speeds around 100 MB/s for both reads and writes, which is at the upper end of what we have seen in past tests.
A three year warranty is provided; many competitors offer only two years so we liked the added assurance. Plus, Hitachi includes all of the cables, which can save you some money as well as an annoying trip to the store. And, of course, Hitachi offers a wide array of other drive options for those in need- a few types of smaller, pocket drives as well as larger RAID arrays. At $300, available now online, this will definitely set you back a bit. But the quiet operation and solid build quality were definitely helpful, and the brushed metal look is great next to your MacBook Air or other OSX machine.