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G-Drive Q Serial ATA 500GB drive

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The G-Drive Q is the Swiss army knife of external disks. The “Q” stands for quad—referring to the four different types of data connectors on the back of the drive. You’ll find two FireWire 800 ports along with a FireWire 400, USB 2.0, and a high-speed eSATA I-type port. You can’t ask for a more versatile drive.

Using the G-Drive Q is easy: You attach the power supply and connect it to your computer via any of the four connections on the drive. The drive ships with a FireWire 800 cable; but for eSATA, USB 2.0, or FireWire 400, you must get your own cable. The G-Drive Q doesn’t require any drivers, and it mounted automatically on my desktop. The G-Drive Q can be configured as a backup boot drive, as it is bootable on all four ports. (Only Macs with Intel chips support booting via USB 2.0.)

The G-Drive Q shares its enclosure design with its predecessor, the G-Drive—a slick aluminum case inspired by the design of the PowerMac G5. Since it operates without a fan, the G-Drive Q is very quiet—only the occasional spin up and spin down of the drive can be heard. Even without the fan, the drive’s aluminum casing dissipates heat easily.

Inside the enclosure, G-Technology uses Oxford Semiconductor’s new 924 chip to interface with the installed 500GB Hitachi 7200-rpm SATA II drive. Using QuickBench (a 50MB custom test) to test data transfer rates, we found that the G-Drive Q scored an average write speed of 55 MBps and an average read speed of 69 MBps via the eSATA connection. With FireWire 800, the write speed averaged 57 MBps, and the read speed came in at 58 MBps. FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 came in at 39 MBps and 21 MBps write, respectively, and 32 MBps and 18 MBps read.


Price per gigabyte $1.12
Connectors FireWire 400, FireWire 800, USB 2.0, and eSATA
Rotational Speed 7,200 RPM
Other capacities 160GB ($219), 250GB ($269)

timed trials

Average Read Speed 69 MBps
Average Write Speed 55 MBps
Copy 1GB to Drive 0:29
Duplicate 1GB on Drive 0:52
Low Memory Photoshop CS Suite 1:20

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

How We Tested—All scores are in minutes:seconds, except for the average read and write scores, which are in MBps (megabytes per second). All tests used the drive’s eSATA port, connected via PCI-X cards installed in a dual-2.5GHz Power Mac G5 with Mac OS X 10.3.9 and 512MB of RAM. We copied a folder containing 1GB of data from our Mac’s hard drive to the external hard drive to test the drive’s write speed. We then duplicated that file on the external drive to test both read and write speeds. We also used the drive as a scratch disk when running our low-memory Adobe Photoshop CS Suite test. This test is a set of four tasks performed on a 150MB file, with Photoshop’s memory set to 50 percent. For the average read and write scores, we used a 50MB custom test based on QuickBench (disk drive performance evaluation software) and ZoneBench (a benchmarking application designed to measure the read and write speeds over an entire local storage device) tests.—Macworld lab testing by James Galbraith, Jerry Jung, and Anton Linecker.

Macworld’s buying advice

G-Technology’s G-Drive Q is one of the most versatile desktop drives around. With nearly every type of connection you could want and quiet operation, it’s a winner.

[ Anton Linecker is a writer and video technical adviser living in Los Angeles. ]

G-Drive Q Serial ATA 500GB (front)G-Drive Q Serial ATA 500GB (back)
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