Viewing page 1 of 4 pages. 1 2 3 4 NextSeagate 2.5" External Drives
July 14, 2010 by Mike Chin
|| FreeAgent Go 640GB & 1TB external
2.5" hard drives
| Street Price
|| US$85~125; $140~175
Even with extensive ethernet networks, it is sometimes necessary to move files
from one computer to another with a physical storage device, like a USB memory
key or external hard drive. An external hard drive is sometimes the simplest
way to move large sets of data in our lab. It was after our realization some
years ago that 2.5" external hard drives don't need any AC power
unlike 3.5" versions that they became de rigueur in the SPCR
labs. No more lugging around a wall wart or external AC/DC power box along with
the drive and USB cable. Sweet. The freedom from an AC power socket tether is
even more useful for mobile computing, especially with netbooks that routinely
provide over six hours and sometimes even 10 hours of battery life: Any accessory
that requires AC power is instantly relegated to second class citizenship.
Considering our fondness for these amazingly useful, portable storage devices,
it's surprising that we've never reviewed one. Better late than never: Here's
our first, of two mobile hard drives.
A duo of USB 2.0 external 2.5" hard drives from Seagate, the world's biggest
maker of HDDs, are examined here. They are part of the FreeAgent Go series,
which is probably the most basic of Seagate's huge lineup of external storage
devices using 2.5" and 3.5" hard drives. The newer FreeAgent GoFlex
series, for example, can be upgraded with cables and kits to move up from USB
2.0 to USB 3.0, eSATA or FireWire® 800 for up to 10x faster transfer speeds.
For most users, though, these 640GB and 1TB FreeAgent Go models are perfectly
usable, and the 10x faster transfer speed of the GoFlex is more about potential
than reality; the drives simply cannot go 10x faster even if the bandwidth of
the interface allows it.
There are five other models in the Go series, at 250, 320, 500, 750, and 880GB.
Perhaps Seagate's marketing department knows better, but the sheer number of
incrementally different capacity models seem excessive. All of the Go series
drives run at 5400 RPM, and the number of platters increases with capacity.
The 640GB model is the largest with a "standard" thickness, which
gives the unit a thickness of 12.5mm. The larger capacity models are considerbly
thicker, at 21mm; the drives in these models do not fit in the hard drive bay
of typical laptops. There's little doubt that the thicker drives feature three
platters rather than the one or two platters of the thinner drives.
Lots of plastic in these FreeAgent Go retail packs.
Once past the plastics, these packs are minimal, with a USB 2.0 cable
and instruction sheet in each. An optional desktop dock is also available.
The difference in thickness and weight between the 640GB (and smaller)
models vs the larger capacity ones is significant, especially if you're
planning to go completely mobile and pocket the drive. The casing feels
mostly like painted aluminum and plastic, not particularly hefty but sturdy
enough, with corners and edges a bit rounded for some comfort when carried
in a pocket.
The pattern of dots on the top surface lights up when the device is plugged
in to as USB port and powered up. Aside from the USB port, there are no
other external "features".
Seagate FreeAgent Go Specifications
|Height: 130mm (5.12 in)
Width: 80mm (3.15 in)
Length: 12.5mm (.49 in)
Weight (typical): 160g (.35 lb)
Shipping: 0.27kg (0.595 lb)
Height 130mm (5.12 in)
Width 80mm (3.15 in)
Length 21mm (.83 in)
Weight (typical) 290g (.64 lb)
Inside the box
| FreeAgent Go drive
FreeAgent software pre-loaded on drive (Windows only)
Flexible USB travel cable - 18 inches
| Windows Vista Home Basic,
Home Premium, Ultimate, or Business Service Pack-1
Windows XP Home, Professional, or Media Center Edition Service Pack-2
Windows 7 (32-bit & 64-bit)
USB 2.0 Port
| Up to 10 colors to choose
Powered via USB 2.0 cable
Encryption: AES 128-bit
Optional dock and case sold separately
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