Seagate FreeAgent Go 640GB & FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra 500GB Mobile Hard Drive Reviewajmatson - February 1, 2011
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Price: $69.99 - $99.99
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With the amount of data moved between systems and the critical nature of what we save, including photos, documents, and more, the need for portable storage becomes ever more important. Thumb drives have been great for transporting small amounts of data, but when you need more storage and features, a portable hard drive is the way to go. Portable hard drives allow you to transport more data and bigger file sizes between computers or allow use as an extension of your laptops hard drive space. They also offer you on-the-go back-up solutions to protect your sensitive data and allow quick recovery in the event of a disaster. Since most physical drives are the same, the things that set each one apart come down to the design and software that each manufacturer adds to the device.
Today we are going to take a look at two drives that are produced by Seagate, which are designed to make your portable life that much easier. Combined with their software tailored for the devices, you have an all in one portable transfer and backup solution for any need. Without wasting any more time let's dive right in and see what makes these drives so special.
The FreeAgent Go line has been out for a bit and Seagate is kicking things up a bit with the Seagate GoFlex series, which adds a new world of portable storage with the ability to change the interface on the go. For the review Seagate was gracious enough to send us not only the base GoFlex package with the USB 2.0 interface, but also the USB 3.0 interface as well. The drive itself is a 500GB drive that comes in a blue color. There are several colors to choose from and sizes for every need, from 320GB to 1.5TB of storage space. Some of the other interfaces included FireWire and powered eSATA. On the box there is a nice view of the drive as well as features and specifications so you know exactly what you are getting when you buy one.
When you open the package there is a blister pack that protects the drive until you receive it. There is also the documentation for the unit with a quick start guide as well. Removing the items out of the package gives us the drive and the USB 2.0 adapter and cable which we will take a better look at in a bit.
The newer GoFlex series is more compact then previous Go series devices, making them more of an ultimate portable drive. They are available in a number of colors including this blue one that we received for the testing. The sizes available are from 320GB to a whopping 1.5TB which is more than enough space for anyone. The drive inside has a SATA interface as showing in the picture, which makes the interfaces easy to connect to. I tried using a SATA power and DATA cable to connect directly to it, however, the slot is too narrow and will not allow the contact needed :) The total formatted space on the 500GB GoFlex drive is 465GB, which, for a half-terabyte of portable storage, is amazing.
The genius behind the GoFlex Ultra series is the changeable interfaces. These interfaces allow you to change the connection type on the fly, adding faster transfer speeds depending on the interface chosen. It also adds flexibility to use the drive practically everywhere. By default the drive comes with a USB 2.0 interface, however, there are additional interfaces available including USB 3.0, FireWire 800, Powered eSATA (only works with powered eSATA/USB ports called eSATAp, will not work with standard eSATA port), and a Network dock to share your files any way you need. The included USB 2.0 adapter comes colored in the same blue as the drive with a black USB 2.0 cable. There is an LED on the top of the adapter right above where the cable plugs in that shows activity when in use.
To attach the interface to the drive just line up the SATA interface to the drive and push in until the tabs snap into place. It is simple as that for all of the interfaces including the docks. Once attached, the drive is all ready to be plugged in and used.
Seagate was gracious enough to send us a USB 3.0 adapter as well for testing. The USB 3.0 adapter is the same as the USB 2.0 in looks other than color. The USB 3.0 cable in this case is permanently attached to the interface so you do not lose it or get them confused. To tell the adapters apart, other than the color of the interface that is, just look into the port and you will see that USB 3.0 uses the blue colored plastics instead of the standard white on USB 2.0.
To show the drive activity, as I mentioned above, all of the interfaces use the same white LED which lights up when it is plugged in and in use. Here I have the USB 3.0 interface plugged in to show the LED however, the USB 2.0 interface does exactly the same.
Now that we have seen the 500GB FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra drive, we can move to the sister product the 640GB FreeAgent Go drive.