As we’re probably all aware by now, Apple’s Thunderbolt I/O debuted earlier this year with the new generation of MacBook Pros and threatened to make all other interfaces, like USB and FireWire, seem like stone-age relics — and at the same time, make obsolescent all current external HDDs. All, that is, except Seagate’s line of GoFlex drives.
Swapping couldn’t be easier. The “head” at the interface end of the drive simply unplugs with a bit of force. It’s so seamless that a friend of mine who has a smaller version of this drive didn’t even realize the interface was swappable. Unlike the USB interface, which has a removable cable, the FireWire interface’s cable is not removable, which sometimes was a bit of an issue when toting it around — but a very minor one.
The 5400 RPM drive itself is relatively fast. Tests revealed fast enough speeds of 55.3 MB/sec read and 44.2 MB/write via the FireWire 800 interface (full results below) to theoretically handle editing compressed video. Pair that with it’s gulpingly large volume and the 1.5 TB GoFlex makes a good choice for digital artists or for a portable Time Machine unit. It is, however, a little on the large side, and considerably bulkier than its 500/750 GB siblings.
Seagate did a great job of creating a Mac-specific drive: it’s ready to go out of the box, formatted in Mac-friendly HFS+; it comes with a FireWire 800 interface in addition to the USB 2.0 (the non-Mac version doesn’t — although its USB is a 3.0); and the color matches aluminum-bodied MBPs almost flawlessly, a nice touch.
Verdict: It’s a pricy behemoth; but the unique, flexible modularity of this solid-performer makes it a good choice — especially for those wanting Thunderbolt equipment but needing something now while they wait.