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Seagate 4TB GoFlex Desk review: Seagate 4TB GoFlex Desk

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MSRP: $249.99

The Good Seagate's USB 3.0 4TB GoFlex Desk offers great performance and the highest capacity to date among single-volume external storage devices on the market. The drive works with both Windows and Mac OS X out of the box and comes in a flexible design that makes adding more connections or features a snap.

The Bad The Seagate 4TB GoFlex Desk is comparatively expensive, and its other connection adapters cost extra. The drive also topples rather easily.

The Bottom Line Like the previous version, the Seagate 4TB GoFlex Desk offers top capacity and comes in a superflexible design. Supporting USB 3.0, it also offers great performance.

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8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Support 8

The Seagate 4TB GoFlex Desk is the second desktop version of the portable FreeAgent GoFlex Pro and is the upgrade to the previous version of the FreeAgent GoFlex Desk. The new GoFlex Desk offers more storage space than its predecessor, at 4TB. It also supports USB 3.0 out of the box and offered very good performance in our testing.

The drive is designed similarly to its predecessor--it stands up vertically--and can topple easily. It's also rather expensive, costing more than twice the current price of the previous generation, at $250. Expect the street price to soon go down, however.

If you're looking for a top-capacity external drive that works with both Windows and OS X (without having to be reformatted) and that you can use as a docking station for SATA internal drives, the Seagate 4TB GoFlex Desk is a good investment. If you can live with 1TB less storage space, it would be a better deal to get the previous version of the drive and a USB 3.0 adapter.

Drive type 3.5-inch external USB hard drive
Connector options USB 3.0 with optional swappable adapter for other connection types.
Size (WHD) 6.22x4.88x1.73 inches
Weight 2.38 pounds
Available capacities 4TB
Capacity of test unit 4TB
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
Other than the new look that has less rounded corners and the 4TB internal drive on the inside, the 4TB GoFlex Desk is very much the same as the FreeAgent GoFlex Desk. The drive comes in two parts: the hard drive and the adapter. The hard drive is basically just the 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, and these two parts can be snapped into each other to form the GoFlex external hard drive.

The 4TB GoFlex Desk comes with a USB 3.0 adapter and a standard Mini-USB 3.0 cable. It works with both USB 3.0 and previous USB standards. If you want to use it with other connection types, such as eSATA or FireWire, you can purchase additional adapters, which cost around $30 each. The drive part of the 4TB GoFlex Desk also works with the adapter from other GoFlex Desk drives.

This flexible design means that you can use the adapter part of the GoFlex with any internal SATA hard drive, of both desktop and laptop designs. This is a great bonus for those who work with a lot of internal drives, such as system builders or technicians, as it spares them from having to invest in another docking solution, like the Ineo USB 3.0 Dock or the Vantec NexStar.

This also means that when you have two adapters, you can just leave them attached to different computers and move the drive back and forth without having to deal with the cables. You can actually do that between computers that run Windows and Mac OS X operating systems. Though preformatted in the NTFS file system, which is the native format of Windows, the drive comes with a software driver that enables Macs to have full (read and write) access to it or any other NTFS-formatted drives in Seagate's GoFlex family. Without this, the only way to make a drive work similarly between the two platforms is by formatting it in the FAT32 file system, which has many limitations.

The 4TB GoFlex Desk's included USB 3.0 adapter, which is also used as its base, features a storage gauge that has four white LED lights to show the ballpark amount of storage being used. Each light represents 25 percent of the drive's storage. The adapter part is rather light and has a very small footprint. This makes the whole thing topple rather easily when used in the intended vertical position.

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