Seagate USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive review: Seagate USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive

Typical Price: $215.00

Seagate USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive

(Part #: CNETSeagate USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive)
4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Attractive design. Good data transfer rates. USB Bus powered.

The Bad Losing the USB cable could be very bad indeed.

The Bottom Line Seagate's USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive delivers solid performance at an attractive price.

8.0 Overall

Seagate's USB 2.0 drive is portable in the same sense that a paperback novel is portable; with dimensions of 254mm by 939mm by 127mm and a carrying weight of 292 grams, it's nowhere near as easy to slip into a pocket as some of the other portable hard drives we've examined recently, although it'd certainly slip into a bag or briefcase without too much hassle.

Visually, the most immediately noticeable thing about the drive is the HAL-style activity light that sits dead centre of the front of the drive. The drive enclosure itself is aluminium with side chrome plating, giving the whole unit a more "business" style look as opposed to the distinctly more consumer-style drives we've seen lately -- especially units like the Mitsubishi Diamond Digital MD100.

The drive itself is powered entirely via USB, and to ensure power supply, the drive ships with a two-ended "Y" USB cable; the green plug controls power and data transfer, while the blue plug supplies power. The theory is that if a single USB port can't supply the drive with enough power, then you can utilise a second port to supply enough. It's a decent way to get around the problem of having to carry around an inconvenient power supply everywhere, although you'd want to make sure that you didn't lose the cable and that any computer you were attaching it to actually had two free USB ports. The drive itself does feature an AC-style power connector, although no power adaptor is provided in the package.

The version of the portable drive we tested with contains a 40GB, 5400RPM ATA hard drive with a 2MB cache. It's worth noting that the larger drives in the same series -- which expands up to a current top limit of 160GB -- feature an 8MB cache. Out of the box the drive is formatted as FAT32, although the accompanying CD (which also features Windows 98SE drivers and the inevitable PDF product manual) includes drive formatting tools for other file systems. Seagate specifically rates the drive for compatibility with Windows 98SE or better, or Mac OS 9.x or 10.2.8 or better.

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