G-Tech G-RAID with Thunderbolt review: G-Tech G-RAID with Thunderbolt

Unfortunately, unlike the LaCie 2big or WD My Book Thunderbolt, the G-RAID's internal hard drive can't be replaced by the users (unless you want to dismantle the drive and risk not being able to put it back together properly). This means there's less appeal to use the hard drives in RAID 1 because if something happens to one of the hard drives, you'll need to call G-RAID anyway, and can't just replace the hard drive yourself.

There's nothing to setting up the G-RAID with Thunderbolt. Out of the box, the drive works immediately once plugged to a Thunderbolt-enabled Mac running OS X 10.6.8 or later. You do need to turn it on via the power button on the back. The drive takes just a few seconds to boot up and be ready.

Performance and pricing
What shortcomings the G-RAID with Thunderbolt has above, it more than makes up for in performance.

In tests with other Thunderbolt drive, it's the second fastest, trailing behind just the Pegasus R6. In RAID 0, the drive scored some 254MBps when copying data from the R6. When copying data within itself from one place to another, it registered 121MBps. When I switched it to RAID 0 and repeated the same tests, it again was faster than any other dual-bay Thunderbolt drive, registering 154MBps and 74MBps, when copying from the R6 and within itself, respectively.

The drive was also impressive when it was set to copy data back and forth from our test machine, which is a MacBook Pro of late 2011 model that runs a top-speed solid-state drive. In RAID 0, it scored 193MBps in the write test, slightly slower than the Pegasus R6. In the read test, however, it scored 192MBps, topping the chart. When switched to RAID 1, it scored 147MBps for both write and read, no longer faster than the R6 but still faster than other dual-bay drives.

Overall, the G-RAID with Thunderbolt performed well in my testing. The drive did vibrate noticeably and was a little noisy during heavy loads. This won't be a matter, however, if you put it under the desk or on soft material, such as a piece of cloth.

What I found much bigger of a problem is the pricing. Comparatively, at $700 for 4TB (or $850 for 6TB) the G-RAID costs significantly more its peers. The WD My Book Thunderbolt, for example, costs just $550 for the 4TB and $650 for the 6TB. This is a difference that its top performance might not be able to justify.

Data transfer -- Thunderbolt vs. internal (in MB/s)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Unit to unit  
Self read and write  
Promise Pegasus R6 (RAID 0)
353.24 
228.06 
Promise Pegasus R6 (RAID 5)
323.79 
192.53 
Plextor PX-256M2S
261 
162.03 
OCZ Vertex 3
260.71 
150.01 
G-RAID with Thunderbolt (RAID 0)
253.77 
120.64 
Crucial M4
235.51 
117.99 
LaCie Little Big Disk SSD
233.5 
141.69 
OCZ Agility 3
207.75 
101.67 
Patriot WildFire
202 
99.72 
G-RAID with Thunderbolt (RAID 1)
154.37 
73.67 
WD VelociRaptor 600GB
126.33 
58.05 
Elgato Thunderbolt SSD
121.96 
71.84 
Seagate Barracuda XT
115.71 
51.1 
WD VelociRapter 300GB
112.59 
47.12 

Data transfer -- Thunderbolt vs. external (in MB/s)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
G-RAID with Thunderbolt (RAID 0)
193.02 
192.63 
LaCie Little Big Disk SSD
186.8 
184.71 
Promise Pegasus R6 (RAID 0)
184.94 
212.5 
Promise Pegasus R6 (RAID 5)
177.53 
210.5 
Elgato Thunderbolt SSD
168.97 
120.61 
G-RAID with Thunderbolt (RAID 1)
147.34 
146.95 

Service and support
The length of the warranty is the most important thing for storage devices and G-RAID delivers, offering a three-year warranty, compared with a one- or two-year from others. At the company's Web site, you'll find a section dedicated to the drive where you can find all you need in terms of support.

Conclusion
While very fast and good-looking, the G-RAID with Thunderbolt's current high pricing will likely steer users to other contenders. For those who can afford it, however, it'll make a very good storage solution.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Capacity 4 TB
  • Spindle Speed 7200 rpm