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Verbatim SureFire 500GB Firewire 800/USB 2.0 external hard drive

Apple Time Machine compatible, aluminum enclosure, and portable By Joshua Virata

In today's world of digital cameras, home movies, music, and all of our other media, storage is everything. Convenience and reliability are two big sellers when it comes to storage, and this is where the Verbatim SureFire line of portable hard drives comes in. Sleek, portable, fast and large capacities are some important aspects to portable drives and the SureFire has all of those aspects.

The Verbatim SureFire is a portable external hard drive that sports a matte aluminum casing that resists fingerprints but also offers rugged durability. Feature wise it comes preformatted in the HFS+ format for Mac OS X, offers support for Time Machine, and has a FireWire 800 port that's backward compatible with FireWire 400 (with the included 800 to 400 cable), as well as USB 2.0 connectivity. In the box you'll find the drive, a protective carrying case, a USB 2.0 cable and USB power cable, one FireWire 400 to FireWire 800 cable, one FireWire 800 to 800 cable and a quickstart guide.

In testing, transfers proved to be a mixed bag between the FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0 connections, but that's to be expected. A test with a 1GB HD video file, writing to the drive via FireWire 800 clocked in at 15.42 seconds, FireWire 400 finished at 32.19 seconds and USB 2.0 at 36.17 seconds. With the same HD video file reading from the drive via FireWire 800 clocked in at 17.45 seconds, FireWire 400 clocked in at 27.18 seconds, and USB 2.0 in at 29.60 seconds. With those speeds the SureFire is fast enough to store files and back up files to in short periods of time. The drive features a blue LED light that stays blue when powered and flashes when a data transfer occurs.


Rear of SureFire


In testing of a 33GB full HD file I found that the drive was able to keep up with the high data rates of the video. I tested the video file using QuickTime Pro. Theoretically FireWire 400 has a transfer speed of 400Mb/sec, making it the slowest connection but in testing I was able to play a full 1080i HD video perfectly fine and was able to scrub through the video with little lag time in refreshing the time code and image preview. There was no problem in scrubbing the timeline while using FireWire 800 as it kept up nicely with barely any lag. In USB 2.0 scrubbing was fine but there was a bit of a lag when you stopped at a point and the video resumed playing automatically. Overall FireWire 800 was the winner in HD playback with FireWire 400 in second and USB 2.0 in third mainly because of its longer lag in playback.

All testing was done on a late 2007-year model Macbook Pro, running Mac OS 10.5.8.

The new SureFire weighs 0.41 pounds with dimensions of 3.13" wide, 5" long, and only 0.66" high. This small form factor is just a little bigger and heavier than an iPhone, making it pocket friendly. The cables that it comes with are fairly short which makes packing them to go easy as well. The format to HFS+ makes it so that the available capacity of the drive is 465.29GB. The hard drive inside spins at 5400RPM and has 8MB of cache memory which makes it able to keep up with the high data rates of certain types of media. Another plus to the SureFire is that all of the FireWire connections as well as the USB connection provide enough power to the drive for operation without an AC adapter. Though fully bus powered, the drive does come bundled with the USB power cable for those connections that don't provide enough power. Another plus to this drive is that Verbatim backs it up with a three year warranty. Available now the SureFire portable hard drive comes in 250GB, 320GB and 500GB capacities with US$109.99, $139.99, and $179.99 prices respectively. For more information, visit

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Joshua Virata is a 2008 graduate of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, CA. He has been using computers since the age of 2 and is proficient in the areas of home wired and wireless networking, music creation, secure computing, cell phone communication and GPS navigation. You can email him at [email protected]
Related Keywords:portable hard disk drive, FireWire 800 hard drive, FireWire 400 hard drive, portable storage drive


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