Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme review: Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme

The FreeAgent Xtreme also works with Macs, but you will need to reformat it. However, Mac users might want to check out the FreeAgent Deck, which Seagate makes especially for Mac by replacing the eSATA port with FireWire 800 ports.

Cost per GB
The FreeAgent Xtreme can be found on the Internet for around $220, which translates into about 22 cents per gigabyte--about the same as the SimpleTech (re)drive . However, though not as eco-friendly as the re-drive, the FreeAgent Xtremes comes with more connection and capacity options.

Model Capacity Est. street price Cost per GB
Vox V1 750GB $200 $0.26
SimpleTech (re)drive 500GB $110 $0.22
Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus 250GB $90 $0.36
FreeAgent Xtreme 1GB $220 $0.22

Performance
The Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme's USB 2.0 performance met our expectation, though it was still a little slower than that of the SimpleTech (re)drive or the WD My Book Mirror. The drive performed significantly faster with FireWire 400, and especially with eSATa--where the writing speed got up to 440Mbps.

Portable hard drive read/write tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

(Throughput in Megabits per second)
Write  
Read  
Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme (eSATA)
439.52 
336.8 
Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme (FireWire 400)
234 
260.8 
SimpleTech (re)drive (USB 2.0)
200.72 
237.4 
WDC Mybook Mirror (USB 2.0)
197.36 
236.7 
Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme (USB 2.0)
191.92 
224.8 

The drive also performed very smoothly and quietly; it stayed relatively cool during the testing process, too.

We did notice, however, that the FreeAgent Xtreme's eSATA connections would appear disconnected after an hour or so of idling, and we had to repower the drive for eSATA to be recognized by the system again. While this doesn't affect the data stored on the drive, it's a nuisance--especially since eSATA says this is the connection that shows the best throughput performance on the drive.

Service and support
We believe you won't need much support for the FreeAgent Xtreme beyond the duration of the warranty. And Seagate delivers! It backs the FreeAgent Xtreme with a very generous 5-year warranty. Toll-free phone service is available weekdays, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. (PT), or you can e-mail technical support via a Web form. Seagate's support site offers installation and troubleshooting assistance, a download library, a knowledgebase, and a drive troubleshooter.

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme (640GB)

Part Number: ST306404FPA2E3-RK

MSRP: $179.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Form Factor 3.5"
  • Hard Drive Type external hard drive
  • Interface Type IEEE 1394 (FireWire) / USB 2.0 / eSATA-300
  • Capacity 640 GB
  • Spindle Speed 7200 rpm