G-Drive Pro with Thunderbolt review: Storage device features four 2.5-inch 7200-rpm drives

G-DRIVE Pro next to Mac Pro Late 2013
Credit: Michael Homnick
At a Glance
  • G-Technology G-Drive Pro with Thunderbolt (4TB)

    Macworld Rating

The G-Drive Pro with Thunderbolt by G-Technology is not very big, especially for being a four drive RAID; it's only a half-inch taller than the company's G-Drive. Does weight and size really matter when it comes to desktop drives?

G-Drive Pro Michael Homnick

Nothing out of the ordinary here...

The aluminum enclosure is much like other G-Technology drives, sporting perforated front and sides panels that complement legacy Mac Pros design. Inside the enclosure, things are quite different. Unlike the G-Drive, which has a single 3.5-inch drive, the G-Drive Pro with Thunderbolt has four 2.5-inch drives configured in a hardware RAID 0. While four-drive RAID setups aren't uncommon, they often features drive mechanisms you can replace without tools. The G-Drive Pro goes in a different direction: opening the enclosure voids your warranty, and you need both a Philips-head and T8 security torx driver to replace the drives. You can't even change the RAID configuration to a mirrored or JBOD setup.

G-Drive Pro Michael Homnick

Two Thunderbolt ports allow you to daisy-chain connections.

The four independent 7200-rpm drives working together give the G-Drive Pro with Thunderbolt a nice boost in speed, while still providing a healthy 4TB capacity. Our tests showed the drive performs about three times as fast as an average 2.5-inch 7200-rpm drive on its own. However, the G-Drive Pro lagged behind competing RAID enclosures that use four 3.5-inch 7200-rpm drives.

Write File
  • OWC ThunderBay IV749
  • G-Drive Pro with Thunderbolt337
  • Buffalo DriveStation Duo323
  • G-Drive raid303
  • CalDigit T3564

Results are in MBps; larger numbers/longer bars are better.

Read File
  • OWC ThunderBay IV744
  • G-Drive Pro with Thunderbolt454
  • Buffalo DriveStation Duo293
  • G-Drive raid301
  • CalDigit T3567

Results are in MBps; larger numbers/longer bars are better.

We did run into something unusual during our testing. After sitting idle for a while, the G-Drive Pro with Thunderbolt would take longer than we expected to become responsive. After 15 minutes of idle time, it took the drive more than a minute to get to a ready state.

Bottom line

You're paying a premium, both in terms of cash and speed, for a smaller and lighter than average desktop RAID. Some may choose to sacrifice raw speed for a bit of added portability, even considering that the G-Drive Pro with Thunderbolt is a desktop storage device and requires external power.

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At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Pros

    • Smaller and lighter than other 4-drive RAIDs
    • Dual Thunderbolt ports for Daisy Chaining

    Cons

    • Lackluster performance
    • The enclosure isn't user serviceable
    • Slow to wake from an idle state
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