The G-Drive 2TB from G-Technology – now part of Hitachi – is a hugely capacious hard drive that offers an unmatched range of high-speed connection options, namely eSATA, FireWire 800 (backwards compatible to FireWire 400), and USB 2.0. It’s elegantly styled and superbly finished in precision-crafted aluminium.
The style of the G-Drive follows that of Apple’s Mac Pro, with a chassis in natural satin metal and similar perforations. This is form-follows-function styling for essential ventilation and cooling; but the G-Drive goes a step further in a bid to forsake extra cooling fans. The hard disk inside is securely clamped to a sub-assembly that sports a healthy sized finned heat sink. After several hours of continuous read/write action, we found the G-Technology G-Drive 2TB case barely got warm to the touch.
In spite of the fan-less design, the low-level vibration of a 7,200rpm 3.5in disk can be heard. This thrumming resonance may be a tad too intrusive to allow the drive to sit in the lounge as part of a home media hub. Some compliant suspension may have helped here to acoustically isolate the disk from the casework.
Of the three connection standards on the G-Drive 2TB USB 2.0 was, unsurprisingly, the weakest option. Comparable to a pocket USB drive, it had read/write speeds of 27.4Mbps and 20Mbps respectively.
FireWire 800 has been the fastest hot-swappable data bus until very recently, and the G-Drive proved pretty quick here, averaging a 62.6Mbps read speed, but a more pedestrian write speed average of just 25Mbps – not a great deal faster than USB 2.0 in this respect.
Which leaves eSATA, an external-drive-tailored version of the SATA bus that wires up hard disks inside a modern computer. It sped ahead at a 95Mbps average read speed (and a terrific burst capability up to 160Mbps), while writing was at a still-impressive 82.5Mbps.
The intrinsic random access seek time of the fitted hard disk was 13.3ms, and FireWire 800 showed the lowest CPU usage with a 3 per cent minimum.
We’re starting to see USB 3.0 drives appear, but Macs are currently unable to take advantage of the new standard. So if you need your desktop storage fast, stylish and bombproof, look no further than the G-Technology G-Drive 2TB. A quieter disk mount and faster FireWire write speed would have been welcome, but for most users this versatile unit should prove the ultimate high capacity non-RAID external drive.