Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme review: Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme

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

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)
Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme (eSATA)
Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme (FireWire 400)
SimpleTech (re)drive (USB 2.0)
WDC Mybook Mirror (USB 2.0)
Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme (USB 2.0)

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

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