Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk review: Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Design: 9.0
  • Features: 9.0
  • Performance: 7.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk offers the highest capacity to date among single-volume external storage devices on the market. The drive comes in a flexible design that makes adding more connections/features a snap. It also has decent performance.

The Bad Out of the box, the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk has only a USB 2.0 connection; other connection adapters cost extra. The drive topples easily when used in the intended vertical position, and it runs rather hot.

The Bottom Line The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk is the largest single-volume external hard drive on the market and has arguably the best combination of design, performance, and storage capacity.

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The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk is the desktop version of the portable FreeAgent GoFlex Pro . The two drives share the same flexible, interchangeable adapter design that removes the worry about what connection types to get for your external hard drive. This is because, though the GoFlex Desk comes with just one USB 2.0 connection, it can support any other type of peripheral connection, such as USB 3.0 or FireWire, via snap-in adapters.

At the street price of around $220 for the 3TB version (the 2TB and 1TB cost $140 and $100, respectively) the GoFlex Desk is a really good deal, especially when you consider its decent performance and the fact that its adapter also supports any internal SATA hard drives.

If you work a lot with internal hard drives and are looking for an external drive for your desktop computer, be it a PC or a Mac, look no further than the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk.

Drive type 3.5-inch external USB hard drive
Connector options USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FireWire
Size (WHD) 6.22 x 4.88 x 1.73 inches
Weight 2.38 lbs
Available capacities 1TB, 2TB, 3TB
Capacity of test unit 3TB
Notable design Interchangeable connection adapter
OSes supported Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista, 7); Mac OS 10.5 or higher
Software included Memeo Backup

Design and features
The FreeAgent GoFlex Desk comes in two parts: the hard drive and the adapter. The hard drive is basically just an internal hard drive housed in a plastic chassis. At the bottom, the drive's housing has a small opening to reveal the internal hard drive's standard SATA female connector. The adapter part has a male SATA connector; these two parts can be snapped onto each other and fit tightly to form the GoFlex external hard drive.

Out of the box, the GoFlex Desk comes with only one USB 2.0 adapter, but thanks to its revolutionary flexible design, you can add support for other connection types, such as USB 3.0 or FireWire, with the simple addition of other adapters--though these, unfortunately, cost extra. You also have the option to buy the GoFlex hard drive part on its own and then a separate adapter to form the external hard drive with the connection option of your choice. In this case, we recommend you get the USB 3.0 adapter, which costs $30, especially if your computer supports USB 3.0 (USB 2.0 ports will accept USB 3.0 adapters as well).

We really love the innovative, flexible design, as it means you can use the hard drives and the adapters interchangeably when you have multiple GoFlex Desk drives in the house. Or you can use just one drive with multiple adapters, which is an ideal scenario for an environment with multiple computers that have different types of peripheral connections. For example, you can use a USB 3.0 adapter with one computer and a FireWire adapter with another. You then can conveniently move the hard-drive part around and leave the adapters attached to their respective computers at all times.

Another great thing about this design is the fact these adapters can also be used with any internal SATA hard drives, of both the 2.5-inch (laptop) and the 3.5-inch (desktop) designs, even those not made by Seagate. This makes the GoFlex Desk a must have for anyone who works often with internal hard drives, because it can replace other docking-station solutions, such as the Ineo USB 3.0 Dock or the VanTec NexStar.

Though the hard-drive part of the GoFlex Desk is just a bare-bones drive, the adapter also includes a storage gauge that has four white LED lights to show the approximate amount of storage being used. Each light represents 25 percent of the drive's storage.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Form Factor 3.5"
  • Hard Drive Type external hard drive
  • Interface Type Hi-Speed USB
  • Capacity 3 TB
About The Author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews networking and storage products, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.