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SimpleTech's Pininfarina Drive

Company commissions Pininfarina (of Ferrari fame) to design an external hard drive By John Virata

When external USB hard drives first arrived on the market, they were nothing more than mostly plastic shells encased around a standard hard disk drive and some electronics to keep everything running reliably. Today, the external hard disk drive manufacturers have resorted to all matter of gadgetry to stand out in what is a very crowded field.

SimpleTech, a Fabrik Company, has gone one step further and commissioned Pininfarina (yes, the Italian firm that designs Ferrari sports cars) to encase one of its hard drive models in visual goodness. The outcome is the SimpleTech USB 2.0 External Hard Drive designed by Pininfarina. The Pininfarina Drive, available in up to 1TB configurations (160GB, 250GB, 320GB, 500GHB, 750GB, and 1TB) connects to your standard USB 2.0 port and includes One Click backup capabilities for backing up select folders or even your entire hard drive.

Hot looks
The Pininfarina Drive is Ferrari red in color (what else?) and features a sloped down design. The Pininfarina Drive also features slots on the side of the unit, as well as on the bottom, akin to those of the brake vents on a Ferrari. These are designed to dissipate heat, which kills hard drives. There is also a pair of clear acrylic rubberized feet to keep the drive in place. The drive is also sloped on the bottom to allow for air to circulate underneath.

Front view

The side vents are functional

The drive ships with Total Media Backup and Record for PC and Mac, a backup, restore, and burning solution. Total Media Backup enables you to back up all your documents via an Advanced backup or via file type (photos, movies, music). You can then schedule a full data backup or an incremental backup, which will include only the new files created since the last backup. The Advanced backup feature enables you to select specific files and folders from your hard drives. When you have selected the folders for backup, you can schedule your backup. In addition, if you wish to backup your entire computer, you can push the button on the rear of the SimpleTech oval logo on the top of the drive for One touch backup capabilities.

The Pininfarina Drive has clean lines

The Pininfarina Drive is angled on the bottom to allow for a pocket of air to circulate.

Restore enables you to restore data from CD/DVD or via hard drive, depending on your backup medium. Burn Data gives you burning capabilities from within Total Media Backup and Record. From here you can burn the data that you've backed up, burn a data disc, or burn a duplicate backup disc. Burn Music enables you to burn an audio CD, a Jukebox CD, rip an Audio CD, and duplicate a disc. Utilities gives you tools to create disc images, burn disc images, create DVD from Video_TS folders, and erase RW discs. Essentially, the non backup portions of Total Media Backup and Record are just extras that can be found in other applications such as iTunes, or via the Windows operating system. Consider these more of a value add than anything else. In running Total Media Backup, it took 1 hour 42 minutes to back up 17GB of data to the Pininfarina Drive. To transfer 1.2GB of data directly to the drive as a file transfer took 2 minutes and 20 seconds to complete. On a "coolness" note, when the drive is active, blue lights located on top of the drive unit pulse as it copies, and When it finishes copying the data, the blue pulses become intermittent, as if the drive is telling you it is ready for duty data. The lights also act as a capacity meter, letting you know that the drive is reaching full capacity by staying lit up.

The drive also comes with a free 2GB account from, which enables you to store up to 2GB of data online, giving you the capability to not only back up your data to the Pininfarina Drive, but to also back your more important data at an offsite location, accessible virtually anywhere you can get a Web connection.

What is not to like about the Pininfarina Drive from SimpleTech? Without the design by Pininfarina as well as the 2GB of storage space and the backup software, it would be just another external USB hard drive. The company realizes that it has to differentiate its external hard drive solution from competitors and has done so with a design that might appeal to those who like the lines of a Ferrari. It is definitely a low profile device that is sleek, has functional heat dissipating side vents, and has a cool color scheme.  It must be pointed out that backing up your data is important. Once a week or even more should suffice, especially if you shoot lots of digital images with your camera. If you don't back up and your hard drive fails, those images are probably gone too. SimpleTech provides two solutions in this one package; the Pinifarina drive, and 2GB of free space on It is priced at just north of $100 and comes with a standard one year warranty. 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:USB hard drives , Pinifarina design, backup devices, storage,


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