Rating: ★★★★½

Seagate has been a name synonymous with computer storage since 1979 (they were Shugart Technology in 1978).  Throughout their history, they’ve had a number of “firsts” – they made the first 7200 rpm hard drive, the first hard drive with the Fibre Channel interface, the first 15,000 rpm hard drive; and the list goes on and on.  Along with the amount of innovation they’ve brought to the table, they’ve also had some of the highest quality drives as well – consistently ranking higher than comparative drives, and constantly winning various awards from different sources.  So when the Seagate rep contacted me and asked if I wanted to review their new 4TB GoFlex drive – the first drive to break the capacity barrier – well, how could I possibly resist?

To look at the drive on the outside, you might never guess what it’s hiding underneath.  There’s no loud or flashy (and unnecessary) labeling on it to scream “Hey look at me, I’m bigger than the competition!”  They’ve gone with a beautifully minimalistic design on this drive – you really wouldn’t be able to tell it from any other GoFlex drive.  Jet black, with one little Seagate company logo on the front, it easily fits next to any PC or laptop.  The GoFlex drives I’ve seen before have always had a manageable footprint, but somehow Seagate was able to shrink it down even further in this model (it measures 6.22 x 4.88 x 1.73 inches).

One feature of this GoFlex drive, is that straight out of the box it can be used on either a PC or a Mac.  No messing around with different drivers and what not – it’s truly plug and play on both systems (i.e., no need to format).  The 4TB GoFlex is USB 3.0, which means the transfer rates are wonderfully fast – however there are a number of adapters out there that will allow you to hook it up to FireWire, eSATA, or even USB 2.0 (if you either don’t have any USB 3.0 slots, or don’t feel like using them).  The included USB 3.0 adapter is pretty cool, as it has four white LEDs on it – each light represents 25% of the storage space on the drive, so you instantly have a rough idea of how much you’ve used.

Memo Backup (a normal bloatware product) is pre-installed on the drive in order for you to backup your system (Mac users need not fear – it is fully compatible with Time Machine).  Honestly, Memo is pretty much junk – there’s a LOT of better options out there.  Memo Backup lets you do basic things for free, but then wants to charge you for any advanced features.  In any case, no matter if you use backup software or not, the drive really is quite zippy.  When testing it’s write speed, it ran at an average of 88 MBps, and it’s reading speed is a nice 100 MBps.  It might not be the fastest drive I’ve used, but it’s damn well close.

The only real problem I had with the drive is that it had a tendency to tip over when it was on my desk, but moving it next to my tower solved that issue.  The drawback that most consumers will see however, is the price point.  With the previous 3TB model being almost half the price, unless you’re an early adopter (or really need that extra space), it might just be better for you to wait for the price to come down a bit.

The drive itself is grade A material – I do with the base was a bit wider though in order to handle the tipping issue I mentioned, however it’s not a deal breaker.  The bottom line is that if you want a 4TB external drive, if you want a great drive you can move from system to system, or if you just want to show off to your friends that “mine is bigger than yours”, then the Seagate 4TB GoFlex is most definitely the way to go.

Final score is four and a half stars out of five.

Pros:

  • You can hook it up to a PC or a Mac with no formatting
  • It is running 4TB of space – there is nothing bigger that’s commercially available right now
  • The read and write speed is pretty fast on it
  • Oh, did I forget to mention?  IT’S 4 TERABYTES!

Cons:

  • The price is absurdly high, as is the price on all new tech
  • There’s a slight stability issue because of the shrunken footprint
  • Only 7200 rpms – not a true negative, but you know faster ones will be coming soon

For now, you can only get the Seagate 4TB GoFlex drive from the Seagate website (but next month it’ll be available everywhere) for the price of $249.99



Staff