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G-Tech G-DRIVE hard drive - 500 GB review: G-Tech G-DRIVE hard drive - 500 GB

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The Good Supports FireWire 400/800 and USB 2.0; generous three-year warranty; modern design; formatted for Mac OS (HFS+ with journaling); rapid transfer speeds.

The Bad Competition offers built-in backup software at no extra cost.

The Bottom Line The G-Tech G-Drive Mobile's Mac-friendly formatting, triple interface design, and snappy throughput performance make it a worthwhile storage solution for Apple users.

8.3 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Support 9

Apple users tend to gobble up internal hard-drive space quickly with large video files, audio tracks, and snapshot images, and using an external hard drive usually requires them to reformat it for use with a Mac. G-Tech relieves users of that extra step and readies its G-Drive Mobile hard drive with HFS+ (OS X's storage specification) with journaling for true plug-and-play Applehead use. Media hounds can easily pair the 500GB drive with an Apple system using USB 2.0 or FireWire 800 for rapid data transfers, and the G-Drive's $150 price tag makes it an excellent value for budget-minded shoppers. We recommend this device to anyone shopping for an easy way to get more storage space for an Apple machine.

Design and features
The drive has two FireWire 800 ports and is available in either pearlescent black or white. The glossy exterior reminds us of the back of the Apple iPhone 3GS, but anyone will appreciate its sleek, subtle design. The drive is heavier than others in its class at just under 9 ounces, but we actually appreciate a sturdier heft in contrast to the flimsy LaCie Rugged eSATA drive.

USB 2.0 and FireWire 800 are your two options for connecting the drive to a host computer, and you actually get two FireWire ports on top of the device. G-Technology also provides a third FireWire 800 to FireWire 400 convertor cable if you have a MacBook with an older FireWire port. Finally, six rubberized feet on the bottom of the device prevent it from falling off a desktop or tower.

Drive type 2.5-inch external USB flash hard drive
Speed 5,400rpm
Connector options USB 2.0
Available capacities 500GB
Capacity of test unit 500GB
OSes supported Mac OS X 10.3.x or higher, Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/Vista
Software included None

The G-Drive Mobile is BUS-powered, meaning it draws all the power it needs from the connection to your computer; there's no need for an external power supply.

Once the G-Drive Mobile establishes a handshake with your computer, you can drag and drop files directly from the Finder onto the drive. The process should be straightforward for techies, but beginners might find themselves wishing for the Lacie Starck Mobile Drive's setup assistant that offers instructions on how to reformat, backup files, and partition the drive. The LaCie drive also comes loaded with a copy of the Genie Backup Assistant tool that uses folder-based backups and incremental restoration points to keep your data safe. On the other hand, the G-Drive Mobile only offers the drive itself with no extra functionality built in, but keep in mind that the LaCie carries a more expensive cost per gigabyte without FireWire 800 compatibility.

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