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G-Technology's G-Drive mini 500GB

small form factor external hard drive solution By John Virata

As consumers take full advantage of the digital gadgetry that has permeated their lives, they have learned more and more about the importance of backing up the data that their devices produce. And the best back up scenarios involve backing up the backup. I learned the hard way. In the last two weeks I've had two external hard drives fail, a Maxtor One Touch III, and a two-year old Seagate 500GB eSATA external drive (in the case of the Seagate, the interface failed, and not the hard drive). Both these drives were in plastic enclosures with power supplies built into the AC adapter. They were nearing the end of their serviceable lives for the most part, were on daily and accessed daily. Except for the fact that they were bulky, unwieldy devices, they worked fairly flawlessly, until the end of course.

Hard disk drives become notoriously unstable the older that they get, and I should have taken notice of the in service date before archiving my photos, burned DVDs, and episodes of Hawaii Five O to them, but I figured, heck, they're 500GB units, I will never fill them up. I did, and they both eventually failed, taking all that data with them. In the meantime, smaller form factor solutions became a more appealing alternative to these behemoths, and I should have investigated them more.

I've had a G-Drive mini 80GB on my desk for more than four years, and it still works like a champ. The company, now part of the Fabrik family, recently sent a G-Drive mini 500GB 5400rpm external hard disk drive in for review. The drive (available in 5400RPM and 7200RPM solutions) is nearly identical in size to the 80GB model I have but retains the same physical footprint. It shares the same innovative aluminum enclosure with vents on the sides and the front of the unit. Four rubber feet keep the unit elevated to ensure ample airflow underneath. The form factor of the G-Drive mini is Apple Macintosh all the way. It shares the same industrial look as the PowerMacs (Mac Pros) as well as that of the iMac's, and Mac Book Pros, and now MacBook.

The triple-interface G-Drive 500GB attaches to the computer via FireWire 800, FireWire 400, or USB 2.0. It has an on/off switch on the rear of the unit as well as a DC In connector. The drive is formatted out of the box for the Macintosh platform, (journaled HFS plus) though it does ship with software to enhance the Windows user experience.

G-Drive's interface

To test the G-Drive mini 500GB, I plugged it into a 2.2GHz MacBook Pro and transferred a 2.2GB movie file via FireWire 800 and FireWire 400. The drive finished the FireWire transfer in 1 minute 47 seconds, and completed the FireWire 400 transfer in 1 minute 39 seconds.

 Move  2.2GB file from a MacBook Pro to the G-Drive mini 500GB   minutes:seconds
  FireWire 800   1:47
  FireWire 400  1:39

The G-Drive Mini 500GB is fairly compact at 4.9375 (l) x 3.1875 (w) x .875 (h) a tad smaller than a small paperback book. It weighs in at less than 9oz comes with the three interface cables that the drive supports. In addition, a leather case is also provided for ease of transportation and to keep it safe from everyday scratches. For those taking advantage of Apple's Time Machine, the G-Drive mini 500GB is an ideal solution to back up your data. The unit is priced at around $350 and ships with a standard three year warranty.

It is always nice for a hard drive to have more than a one year warranty, but be aware of the fact that hard drives eventually will fail, and have backups of your backup, especially when you near the end of the warranty period. My suggestion is to move your data to a new drive as your old drive ends its warranty or shows any sign of flakiness. In all the G-Drive mini 500GB is probably the most elegant solution out there for Macintosh users in terms of form and function, but it also can work in a Windows environment. The key is to back up that data, (and if possible, in multiple physical locations) and the G-Drive mini 500GB can back up lots of data in a very small footprint. For more information, visit


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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at [email protected]
Related Keywords:storage, storage solutions, external hard disk drives, FireWire 800 hard drives,


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