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G-RAID 800GB External FireWire 800 Storage

Fastest FireWire 800 array yet By Charlie White

If youre looking for mammoth amounts of fast storage, heres a FireWire 800 (1394b) disk that fills the bill nicely. The G-RAID FireWire array by G-Tech, Inc. is a gleaming stainless steel external disk enclosure thats available in four different sizes, 160GB ($300), 320GB ($400), 500GB ($600) and 800GB ($1200). Even though it looks like a Mac G5, its equally at home on both the PC and Mac platforms. We tested the G-RAID 800GB model, and not only was it the fastest FireWire 800 disk ever to grace our Midwest Test Facility, it was the most beautiful as well.

Before we make our aesthetic and usability judgments, lets get right to the benchmark test scores. The G-RAID proved itself to be indeed the fastest external disk weve ever tested, but it didnt win by a landslide. Take a look at the table below, and youll see that it just edged out our previous champion FireWire 800 disk, the LaCie Bigger Disk Extreme, a 1.6TB monstrosity that slam-dunked our FireWire benchmarks a couple of months ago.

Benchmark scores FireWire 400 FireWire 800
G-RAID 800GB        
Read (MB/sec.) 26    79
Write (MB/Sec.) 22  51
LaCie Bigger Disk Extreme 1.6TB    
Read (MB/sec.) 26 76
Write (MB/Sec.) 21 51

The G-RAID was designed with the Mac G5 in mind.

When we first plugged in the G-RAID to our FireWire 400 ports and fired up our StormTest sustained read and write disk benchmarking software, its read speed exactly matched that of the LaCie disk, both reading at 26 MB per second. Its write speed was slightly faster, at 22MB per second. Stepping up to FireWire 800, the G-RAID beat out the LaCie disk by 3MB per second, reading at a sustained 79 MB per second. It was a dead heat between the two discs when he came to write speed, with both performing a sustained write at 51MB per second. 

My, my, that's a purty disk, ain't it?  Here it is gracing one of our desks here at the Midwest Test Facility.
So there it is, a really fast FireWire array that can handle multiple layers of uncompressed standard definition video. Sure, you can get faster disk speeds than this using SCSI arrays and other internal RAID configurations, but if youre looking for external storage, it doesnt get any better than this this enclosure, strapping two discs together with its hardware RAID-0 configuration certainly does an admirable job of moving data from one place to another in the quickest manner possible.

Especially because of its good looks, the G-RAID aims to be a good citizen on the desktop. Take a look at this lovely product and you cant help but think it was designed by those with a highly developed aesthetic sense. Taking its design cues from the Mac G5, its stainless steel finish and gleaming grillwork will serve as a superb desktop ornament. But youll only want it sitting on your desktop if you dont mind fan noise, because unlike its competitor the LaCie Bigger Disk Extreme, this unit has a cooling fan inside thats not exactly quiet. The makers of G-RAID, G-Tech Inc., see their products cooling fans as a virtue, decrying the lack of such in their competitors models.

G-Tech asserts that those fan-less disks wont last as long as theirs will without proper cooling. But through extensive testing over a few months so far, we havent noticed failures with those disks not including fans inside. Its too bad such a beautiful disk as this makes such a noise, because its splendor cant be fully appreciated deep in our server closet to which all cacophonous machines are banished. Granted, it doesnt sound like a vacuum cleaner, but its not something you would want sitting right next to you all day long, either. To this statement I must add a caveat: In these parts we are extraordinarily noise-sensitive, and have all of our computers out of earshot from our work areas in a central computer room. This way, we can edit video at our desks, peacefully contemplate the affairs of the day, and even create audio mixes and voiceovers in serene quietude. Soon, all work areas will be designed this way. 

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Related Keywords:fast storage, FireWire 800 disk, G-RAID FireWire array, G-Tech, Inc., stainless steel, external disk, 800GB, PC, Mac, G-RAID 800GB, beautiful

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