It’s hard to stand out in the crowded market for external hard drives when consumers have so many options to choose from. To call attention to its hard drive, Rocstor decided to focus on design aesthetics for the Eagleroc E9. It has a design unlike any other drive I’ve seen, but its dock construction isn’t as solid as it could be, and brings perhaps too much attention to itself with an extremely flashy activity light.
The $300 Eagleroc has a trapezoidal shape and is made of a rubber-like plastic that feels nice to the touch. The drive has an activity light at the top, and USB 2.0 and FireWire 800 ports on the bottom. Our review unit was red, but the drive is also available in black, gray, and yellow. Rocstor includes an AC adapter, quick start guide, cables for USB 2.0 and FireWire 800, and a FireWire 800-to-400 cable. The Eagleroc is preformatted as a FAT32 drive, which makes the drive compatible with both the Mac and Windows, but if you want to use Time Machine, you’ll have to reformat it.
You also get a stand that holds the Eagleroc vertically with the face looking outward, which makes the drive resemble an audio speaker. A rear opening hides connection cables from view, tidying up the desktop. The stand, which is also made of the same rubbery plastic as the exterior of the drive, doesn’t feel up to snuff, however. When I placed the Eagleroc into the stand, the drive felt loose and insecure. One good bump at the top could easily knock over the entire thing, so if that worries you, the drive can be used horizontally, as well.
The activity light on the drive also bears some mentioning. Normally, you tend to disregard the light as it flashes while in use (I know I do). But the Eagleroc’s light will not be ignored As I tested it for this review, the device blinked a bright blue glow, bothering my eyes when I looked directly at it. A colleague in the lab mentioned how strong the light was as well, so it wasn’t just me. If you happen to have sensitive eyes, consider covering up the drive’s light.
The Eagleroc’s USB speeds were competitive compared to other drives we’ve tested. The Eagleroc, in our Read 2GB Folder test, achieved a USB throughput of 36.7MBps; in our Write 2GB File test, the Eagleroc ‘s USB speed was 33.2MBps, making it one of the better USB performers we’ve seen. It also got an AJA System Write Test score of 31.9MBps, also a top performer.
The story changed when it came to FireWire 800. The Eagleroc posted read scores of 70.9MBps and 79.6MBps in the 2GB Folder and 2GB File tests, respectively—slower than any other drive we’ve tested except the Buffalo Dualie ( ). It also finished our low-memory Photoshop test in 55 seconds, placing in the middle of the class of other drives in that test.
Macworld’s buying advice
The Rocstor Eagleroc E9 has a unique look and performs well, but it has a few drawbacks that hold it back from being great. If you just want an external drive that looks different, the Eagleroc works well as both an external hard drive and as a conversation piece.