Seagate FreeAgent Pro 1TB Review

gotdamojo06 - 2008-01-25 13:33:41 in Storage / Hard Drives
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06   
Reviewed on: January 28, 2008
Price: $400

Introduction:  

In this new day and age of computer data and digital media, it is not uncommon to have a file that is close to or exceeding the 1GB marker. These files can be anything nowadays, and you may be getting concerned while you watch the usage percentage of your hard drive nearing 100% full. What options do you have other than going out and buying a new hard drive that you would then have to open up your computer to install? Seagate has released a new line of external hard drives that have a very large amount of storage capacities. The Seagate FreeAgent Pro 1TB is an external hard drive that can offer some extra storage space for your system. Lets take a look and see how this solution compares to a regular internal hard drive that you could purchase.  

 

Closer Look:  

Taking a look at the box of the FreeAgent Pro 1TB external hard drive, you can see that it is loaded with a bunch of features such as having a massive storage capacity of 1TB or 1,000GB! Not only is this beast of an external hard drive able to store a lot of data, it can transfer the data from your computer to the FreeAgent Pro via three different and common ways: USB 2.0, FireWire 400, and eSATA. Enough looking at the box, I know that I want to see what the device looks like and see how big it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When opening up the box, you can tell that Seagate wanted to keep the Seagate FreeAgent Pro 1TB very safe during transport; it is wrapped in an anti-static bag as well as placed in a cardboard casing to protect it from shipping damages. All of the accessories for the FreeAgent Pro are also protected in their very own anti-static bags. Seagate did not want to take any chances of scratches or shipping damages.

 

 

 

Included in the box are some very simple instructions as well as some more instructions letting you know that with the purchase of your Seagate FreeAgent Pro, you also purchased a license of Memeo backup software.  

 

When you finally take the FreeAgent Pro out of all of its packaging, you are able to see how sleek and thin the FreeAgent Pro 1TB really is. It is a copper/brownish color with a very clean stainless steel texture to it.

 

 

 

Now let's go ahead and get this baby installed, I am very interested to see how it performs.

Installation:  

The Seagate FreeAgent 1TB External hard drive has three different ways that it is able to connect to your computer, which makes this external hard drive very versatile between different setups and can be maximized for data transfer speeds. The three interfaces that it takes advantage of are USB 2.0, FireWire 400, and eSATA. The USB 2.0 and eSATA connections are located on the USB/eSATA module that is already installed on the bottom of the FreeAgent, however if you wish to use FireWire 400, you will need to remove the USB/eSATA module and install the FireWire module, which is very easy. The modules are held in by one screw, which upon removal are able to be popped out.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you have the module of your choice installed, you then need to plug in the appropriate cables (data cable and power cable) to use the FreeAgent.  

 

 

After everything has been installed, you are then able to plug in the data transfer cable of your choice to your computer's port and wait while Windows locates the "appropriate drivers" for your device. Once this has happened, an auto play dialog will display and you can then install the software that came with the FreeAgent. If you cancel out of the autoplay dialog, you can use Windows Explorer to locate the "Install FreeAgent Tools" application located on the device and launch it from there. The software is a data backup program that is powered by Memeo. Mostly all of the installation of this software is by following the on screen dialogs.  

When you navigate to "My Computer" you can see that the FreeAgent Drive is installed and has 931GB of free space on the drive before you are able to put anything on it. Already on the device are the End User License Agreements, User Manuals, Warranty Information, and the FreeAgent Tools Installation application.  

 

 

When you open the installation application, you will be asked for the language you wish to use and then a welcome screen will display.  

 

 

The next screen that you will see is where you need to accept the End User Agreement. After that you will be asked where you wish to have the software installed on your computer, the default is your Program Files folder.  

 

 

After the installation has completed, you will have another welcome screen letting you know that you are about to install the AutoBackup software followed by another Licensing Agreement that you must accept to continue the installation.  

 

 

The next screen that you will see is the screen letting you know that the installation has completed, which is followed by a screen that asks you if you wish to register this product to you online; you are able to choose no and come back to it at a later time.  

 

 

Finally, you are asked if you wish to restart your computer now or if you wish to do it later. When your computer comes back from the restart, you are ready to configure the AutoBackup software.

 

 Configuration:   

When your computer comes back from its restart, a new window shows up that you are not used to, it is the AutoBackup Configuration applications startup screen. You are now ready to get the AutoBackup software configured to backup your entire hard drive or specific folders. There are different destinations that you can choose from other than the FreeAgent Pro drive. I will guide you through the different screens that you will encounter during the process of setting up your AutBackup plan.  

The first screen shows you what the three steps for this program are. The next screen that you see after selecting next is where you are able to select a destination, there are many different places that this application will let you store the backup files. The default is the FreeAgent Pro device, you are able to select which folder under that device you wish to back up to. We will come back to this in a little while.  

 

 

 

 

 

There is a program that you are able to sign up for that will give you six months of free usage to Seagate's Internet storage devices; this is the next place that you are able to backup you files to. While on a similar way, you can backup your files to somewhere located on your network, if you happen to be using one.  

 

 

There are two more options left, you can back up files to a flash drive or an iPod, the options for these two devices are very similar to the ones for the FreeAgent Pro.  

 

 

As I said before, we would explore what happens when you select all of your options and click the next button; a dialog pops up with two tabs on it. This is were you are able to select what you would like to back up. The default tab has a list of different common file types. The second tab is where you are able to select specific folders on your computer that you wish to backup.  

 

 

The next screen is where you are able to view the different folders that are going to be backed up, followed by a screen asking you to name the backup plan.

 

 

Once you have saved the name of your backup plan, you are greeted by a screen explaining that the backup software is going to take care of the rest and you don't have to worry about anything else. After that you get a popup asking you to enter your Product Key or continue without entering one and you will have 29 days left before being locked out.  

 

 

The last screen that you will see is where you can monitor the progress of the backup process. Also, if you notice in the bottom right hand corner, there is a popup dialog that updates itself and lets you know which file is being transfered at that time.  

 

Specifications:  

Testing:  

After the Seagate FreeAgent Pro 1TB External Hard drive was setup, I found myself amazed at the software that was bundled with the device, however I was wondering how the actual driver performed. It is time to get down to business and see some impressive numbers from this drive, or at least what I hope to be some impressive numbers. To test the FreeAgent, I will be using HD Tune for a benchmark and using some files to put it up against some real world testing.  

Testing Setup:  

 

Comparison Drives:  

 

Benchmarks:  

 

Well, enough waiting, let's get started with the testing and see how all of these drives compare. I will start off by running HD Tune on all of the drives, let's see how it compares.

 

 

 

The next group of tests that I am going to be performing on these drives are a real world transfer of three different files. They are all different sizes (10MB. 100MB, and 500MB). I will calculate how long it takes these files to transfer from one location to the other final destination.  

 

Conclusion:

While comparing the Seagate FreeAgent Pro 1TB to the other Seagate FreeAgent models, it did do better in just about all of the different benchmarks that it was thrown up against. The only device that the Seagate FreeAgent Pro 1TB was unable to compete against was the internal hard drive, which is to be expected due to the fact that no matter how the device was attached to the computer, it had to run through some sort of bus. I was very surprised that it did as good as it did against the other drives, but at the same time I was not surprised. Like I mentioned before, I expected my internal hard drive to out-perform the FreeAgent drive, but I expected the FreeAgent Pro 1TB to come closer than it did against the other FreeAgent models. I can safely say that I would suggest getting this piece of hardware to expand the capacity of your setup due to the results that I got when testing it, as well as the added value of the backup software that is bundled with the drive.  

 

Pros:

 

Cons: