Seagate’s latest hard drive, the GoFlex Desk External Drive offers a whopping 4TB of storage. It also offers connectivity adapters and decent speeds. Don’t get your hands all over it, though, because it quickly gets dirty from too much handling.
Upon first glance, the newest GoFlex looks like a thickpaperback book. It stands vertically, encased in reflective blackplastic. To keep the drive cool, ventilation holes are on the top andback of the unit. The all-black finish looks great, but the reflectivenature of the enclosure makes it a fingerprint and smudge magnet. Inour lab, the drive required constant cleaning with a soft cloth to keepit nice and shiny, something I wasn’t keen on doing every day. But inmost situations, you’ll place the GoFlex on your desk, and never haveto handle it.
What makes Seagate external drives stand out is thatthey’re not tied to one type of connection technology. Our review unitcame with a USB 3.0 adapter (compatible withUSB 2.0). You can get a $50 FireWire 800/USB 2.0 adapter from Seagate’sWeb site. When the adapter is affixed, it feels sturdy and rock-solid.Detaching it took a bit more muscle than was anticipated, but thatshouldn’t be a problem unless you plan on switching between adapters ona frequent basis.
Connecting is effortless
Using the GoFlex is an effortless endeavor. Just plug the drive into awall outlet with the included AC adapter, connect it to your systemwith the also included USB 3.0 cable (which can be plugged into a USB2.0 port), and you’re good to go. The device powers on when you hook itup to a Mac, and powers off when youunplug it from your computer. The drive comes preformatted for Windows,but the Seagate Setup Assistant software (located on the drive) letsyou choose between installing an NTFS driver for Mac and PC use, orformatting it for Mac only operation and Time Machine support.
What about speed? The GoFlex holds its own amongst the competition. Itwrote a 2GB folder at 30.8MBps and copied it back at 36.1MBps over USB2.0, not quite beating the CalDigit AV 4 in writes, but definitelysurpassing it in reads. In our write 2GB file test, the GoFlex beat theIomega eGo Silver Desktop, writing data at 32.7MBps. However, theGoFlex’s 2GB file read speed was 38.5MBps, a bit slower than the eGo’sscore. The GoFlex completed our low-memory Photoshop test in 80 seconds, andwas just 0.2MBps shy of achieving the AJA System write test high scoreof 32.2MBps.
The Seagate GoFlex Desk gives you a lot of storage space and lets youconnect to the port of your choice. Sure, it attracts blotches andmarks, and its connectors require some strength to remove, but thoseare small quibbles for what otherwise is a great entry into theexternal hard drive market.