G-Technology has a reputation for producing high-end, fast Mac-centric hard drives. The company also has a reputation for making similarly designed bulky aluminum drives that are about as aesthetically appealing as cinder blocks. With the G-Drive Mobile USB 500GB, G-Technology is changing its reputation by finally combining a consumer-friendly design with high-end performance. The Mobile USB portable drive is blazingly fast for its class, offering users a viable alternative to Iomega’s eGo ( ) and LaCie’s Rikiki ( ).
The G-Drive Mobile USB features a small, white case that can easily fit into your pants or jacket pocket. Its distinctive look is remarkably different than the usual bulky, heavy gunmetal steel drives G-Technology usually produces. Perhaps Hitachi’s purchase of the company has begun to reap rewards for the company. One of our editors even complimented the drive on its new “G” logo emblazoned on the white drive—comparing it to a superhero logo.
The drive is preformatted for the Mac and comes Time Machine ready right out of the box. Simply set the drive as your target for backups and you’re good to go.
The 5400-rpm G-Drive Mobile USB may have proved worthy of the “super” designation in our lab tests. Equipped with a Hitachi Serial ATA drive and a 8MB cache, we were quite impressed with the G-Drive Mobile USB’s record setting scores. On our 1GB copy test, the G-Drive finished the test in 37 seconds. This score is on par with the 7200-rpm Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex ( ), one of the faster portable USB-only drives we’ve tested.
In the duplication test, the G-Drive Mobile USB began to separate itself from the pack. The test requires the hard drive to duplicate a 1GB folder and the G-Drive finished in 56seconds, more than 10 seconds faster than the LaCie Rikiki and a full 4 seconds faster than the FreeAgent GoFlex. These scores alone put the G-Drive in our upper tier of USB-only portable drives, but the low-memory Photoshop tests were also quite impressive.
|Copy 1GB file: USB 2.0
| Duplicate 1GB file: USB 2.0
| Low-memory Photoshop: USB 2.0
Scale = Minutes: Seconds
How we tested. We ran all tests with the drive connected to a Mac Pro dual quad core 3GHz Xeon 5400 with Mac OS X 10.6.2 installed and 2GB of RAM. We tested the drive with each available port. 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 CS3 Suite test. This test is a set of four tasks performed on a 150MB file, with Photoshop’s memory set to 25 percent.—Macworld Lab testing by Chris Holt
The G-Drive Mobile USB finished our regime of tests in 4 minutes and 20 seconds. That’s 6 seconds faster than the LaCie Rikiki and only slightly behind the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex.
When active, the drive feels slightly warm to the touch and you can hear a faint hum when the G-Drive is particularly taxed, but by no means were either of these factors huge issues. At $150, the 500GB G-Drive USB has a price per gigabyte of $.30. That’s high for a portable drive and is regrettably one of the few downsides of a strong-hard drive.
Macworld’s buying advice
The G-Drive Mobile USB 500GB is a fast USB-only drive with a Mac-focus. With a three-year warranty, record-setting copy and duplication times, and a strong performance in our Photoshop tests, the G-Drive is the most impressive drive we’ve seen from G-Technology in the portable market.
[Chris Holt is a Macworld associate editor.]