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G-Technology's G-Drive miniSmall form factor hard drive
Small form factor computers have gained in popularity over the last several years. These systems generally have onboard graphics chips and sound processors to lower the price, as well as limited internal expandability. Apple's Mac mini and Jadetech's MicroPC computers are in this category and by design, have virtually no internal expansion capabilities. And there's the rub. Digital media devices such as DV camcorders, digital cameras, and music services have exploded in popularity over the last several years, and guess what, those who pursue these digital endeavors have found out just how quickly their puny 40GB or 80GB hard drives are filling up. Fortunately, there are companies that offer solutions to these limited capabilities via the connections that ship with nearly all computers these days.
FireWire and USB connections are godsends for installing peripherals on computers. Over the years, the two connection standards have enabled a whole different range of desktop peripherals to easily be connected to a computer. Storage devices are one of the devices that have benefited greatly from these connections. You don't have to open your computer to install a hard drive that is FireWire or USB based, and there is a good market for flash-based storage devices that plug right into a USB port. We're not talking about Flash based or micro drive based storage media, but of true hard drives in their own enclosures. That is where external storage devices seem to benefit the most, at least for those who have minimally upgradeable computers.
G-Technology, makers of FireWire based storage solutions has such a device with its G-Drive mini. The G-Drive mini is a portable storage device that offers up to 100GB of storage space in a bus powered mini form factor. The device, which is basically a hard drive in a highly designed metal enclosure with a bit of electronics mojo, connects to your PC or Mac via FireWire or USB 2. It is a hot pluggable device so you can move it easily between computers.
|Nicely matched to a PowerBook, the G-Drive mini is available in a variety of configurations.|
The G-Drive mini measures 4.9375-inches x 3.1875-inches x .875-inches, about the size of a paperback book. It weighs less than 9 oz, and the hard drive is enclosed in an aluminum enclosure that resembles the look of Apple's latest Power Mac G5. The G-Drive mini comes in several configurations, ranging from a 40GB FireWire 800 version with a 5400RPM hard drive priced at $179, to a 100GB USB2 mini with a 4200RPM drive for as low as $299. There are also combo versions with FireWire 400/800 ports with USB 2 connections on the same device. For this review, we tested out an 80GB FireWire 800/USB2 version with a 7200rpm hard drive. Cooling is a fanless affair, and the device is elevated slightly with silicon feet to keep air flow circulating beneath the drive. The design of the G-Drive mini is really simply elegant, an aluminum enclosure in a gray metal color that resembles that of the Power Mac line of computers. A single green LED light let's you know the device is powered up.
The drive was recognized on every Mac that we connected it to, ranging from a PowerMac G5 with FireWire 800 down to a dual Power Mac G4 connected via USB 1.1 via the USB keyboard. Of course, more performance was had via the G5, but the true value of the drive is its portability and capability to connect from one computer to another. If you've got multi-gigabyte files that need to be transferred to another computer and your network is slow and you don't want to burn a DVD, or don't have a DVD burner, you can simply transfer the data via the G-Drive mini.
The G-Drive mini is a great device to use as a second or third hard drive, a data drive, and even a backup drive. The company offers a wide range of configurations and connection options in a variety of price points that can suit most any need and budget. In addition, the drives carry a warranty of two years, which is right in the middle of the warranty range for hard drives. It ships with the necessary cables to get you connected as well as a leather carrying case for easy transfer of the drive from home to work and in between. For more information, visit www.g-technology.com
John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at [email protected]
Related Keywords:FireWire hard drive, external FireWire hard drive, USB drive, G-Drive mini