FireWire 800 connectivity and 250GB capacity should make managing media a swift affair with the Avastor HDX-800 external hard drive.

The HDX-800 is available in configurations from 80GB to 750GB.

The demands of musicians and sound designers are ever on the increase. Affordable, mega-spec audio interfaces mean large file sizes when working with digital media –and this calls for large hard drives with high-speed connectivity. Avastor aims to address this with its HDX-800 range of portable drives, available in configurations from 80GB to 750GB and which boast 7,200rpm hard disks, plus various connectivity options including FireWire 800.

We tested the 250GB version of the Avastor HDX-800. It ships in a nifty, albeit plasticky, foam-lined carry case and is bundled with FireWire 800, FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 data cables, as well as an IEC mains cable. Avastor has made the sensible move of integrating the PSU into the drive assembly, so you’ll not need a wall-wart or trailing mains adaptor, and the supply auto-switches between 110/220V, which could be a boon for those on the hoof.

The drive is aimed at those seeking a portable storage solution for audio and/or video. As such, users will be looking for low seek times, a high sustained data-transfer rate, plus rugged build quality. Regarding the latter, the Avastor HDX-800's casing, like the carry case, does not inspire confidence – it feels rather flimsy, unlike the metal-jacketed, triple-interface models that competitor LaCie produces, for example.

Both drive and case are, however, quite light, so you’re unlikely to suffer when carrying them for long periods. Performance, meanwhile, is good and fast. Via FireWire 800, a folder containing 1GB of data copies across in about 50 seconds, while multiple tracks of digital audio sampled at 48kHz, 24-bit play back without a hint of a glitch. Those working with material destined for high-definition reproduction, featuring 5.1 surround sound and 1080i video resolution, will find there’s quite enough under the HDX’s bonnet to accommodate it.

This stackable unit, with integral cooling fan, is very quiet in operation, so it’s suitable for use in the studio, and offers the benefit of dual FireWire 800 ports so devices can be daisy-chained. It is, however, rather pricey – comparable drives retail at around £100 – but you do get a case and cables.


The Avastor HDX-800 250GB offers the capacity and speed demanded by video and audio-editing enthusiasts, and comes with a handy carry case. It is, however, pricey per GB when compared with other drives on the market and, although light and portable, may not have the robustness to cope with the rigours of field work.