Seagate’s GoFlex drive has an unusual two-part design that consists of the main drive unit and a separate ‘desk adaptor’ that houses its USB 3.0 interface and also acts as a stand for the drive. The idea is that you can buy a different adaptor if you need to – perhaps one with a FireWire adaptor for a Mac. You can also buy the drives on their own at a slightly lower price, then simply connect each drive to the adaptor as required.
- See Iomega Prestige review
- See LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2TB review
- See Western Digital My Passport for Mac 1TB review
It’s an interesting idea, although it doesn’t strike us as giving the GoFlex any great advantage over its more conventional rivals. However, the drive works well and emerged as one of the top performers in our tests. Its overall sequential speed of 150.50MBps put it neck and neck with the Hitachi Touro Pro for read performance, and it nudged ahead of the Touro Pro with a speed of 119.30MBps for writing performance. That pattern was repeated when copying smaller files: the GoFlex and Touro Pro read files at 54MBps, while the GoFlex pulled even further ahead when writing small files to achieve a speed of 85.56MBps.
Review from 20/10/2010
Seagate's FreeAgent GoFlex Desk External Drive is a good-value USB 2.0 external hard drive. Its 192bit encryption and 3TB capacity make it ideal for those seeking serious storage, data security and peace of mind.
The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk External Drive is relatively slim considering its huge storage capacity. It’s somewhat skinnier than the Western Digital MyBook World Edition (1TB) (44mm), although slightly taller (158mm).
The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk External Drive has a detachable bottom tray that allows users to switch between USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and FireWire 800 connections (the USB 3.0 and FireWire adaptors are sold separately). While this is convenient, the tray doesn't feel as sturdy as we'd like. During our tests, the unit toppled over after a minor knock (luckily, it wasn't near the desk's edge).
The external hard drive has four LEDs that act as a capacity drive. There's a SATA port hidden underneath the detachable tray; if you use it you'll need to sit the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk External Drive flat on its side and the capacity gauge won't work, however.
The 3TB Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk External Drive comes with a ‘Seagate Dashboard’ interface, which handles backup management, synchronisation and data encryption. When prompted to install the hard drive’s Memeo backup software, you can either install the free (but limited) version, or trial the premium version for 30 days. The premium version allows you to backup data online or to specific locations on the drive.
Overall, the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk External Drive impressed us during our USB 2.0 storage benchmarking tests. During our 19.4GB large file benchmark reading test, the hard drive produced an average speed of 29.2MB per second (MBps) and completed the task in 12 minutes and 57 seconds. During our 19.4GB large file writing test, the unit generated an average speed of 29.5MBps and finished the job in 13 minutes and three seconds.
In our 3GB small file benchmark reading test, the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk External Drive demonstrated an average speed of 16.6MBps, tidying up at three minutes and nine seconds. During our 3GB small file writing benchmark, the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk External Drive delivered an average speed of 12.7MBps, checking out at four minutes.
The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk External Drive offers reasonably good value. It's a great option for anyone who is after serious storage capacity, security and peace of mind.