Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1.5TB Portable USB 3.0 HDD

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Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1.5TB Portable USB 3.0 HDD

November 28, 2010 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex USB 3.0 1.5TB
Portable External Hard Drive
Manufacturer
Seagate
Street Price
~US$210

In recent years, the increase in capacity and decrease in price of magnetic storage has made the external hard drive one of the most affordable, useful PC-related accessories. They are available in two basic forms — a) the hefty, high capacity model utilizing a desktop hard drive that requires AC power, and b) the more expensive, 2.5" drive version with lower capacity that is USB-bus powered. The former is best suited as a backup device, while the latter is handy for carrying large amounts of data on your person.

The anatomy of an external hard drive is dead simple. The drive is secured inside a housing made of metal and/or plastic and its internal interface (typically SATA) is connected to a small controller board that converts it into a more accessible external connection, USB usually but also FireWire and/or eSATA.


The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1.5TB box.

With the advent of USB 3.0, many manufacturers have been content to update the controller in their enclosures and call it a day. Seagate, on the other hand, has taken a new approach with their FreeAgent GoFlex series of portable hard drives. Not only does it support USB 3.0, but our sample's 1.5TB capacity is groundbreaking for a bus-powered drive. Furthermore, the GoFlex line is described by Seagate as "upgradable".


Unboxed.

So does that mean you can easily swap the hard drive inside? Well no. For starters, the housing of the 1.5 TB model is 22mm thick— like the Seagate FreeAgent Go 1TB we reviewed last summer — and meant to hold only thicker-than-usual 12.5mm drives, which are generally not available as bare drives. Only the standard 7.5mm thick drives are widely available as bare drives, and these are used in the GoFlex models up to 640 GB capacity. Secondly, the drive appears to be attached to the casing firmly, presumably with some type of adhesive. It is not meant to be opened up.


USB 3.0 adapter detached.

By "upgradable", Seagate is referring here to the GoFlex's modular adapter, which can physically detach, exposing the power and data connectors of the drive inside. A series of replacement plug-in adapters are sold separately various interface types. You can start with the standard USB 2.0 adapter and move up to USB 3.0 later on when your system supports it rather than buying a new drive. USB 3.0, FireWire, and powered eSATA adapters are available for US$15 to US$25. You can buy the bare drives with just the housing as well, but it appears most retailers prefer stocking ready-to-use versions with an adapter included. The 1.5TB model has no USB 2.0 option, shipping with a USB 3.0 adapter by default.

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Series: Key Features
(from the product web page)
Feature & Brief
Our Comment
Features USB 2.0 or 3.0 plug–and–play connectivity Despite its 480mbps rating, USB 2.0 cripples the performance of modern hard drives. USB 3.0 should be much faster.
Includes pre–loaded easy–to–use backup software With many excellent free alternatives, it's not really necessary.
Lets you upgrade to USB 3.0, FireWire® 800 or eSATA The modular nature of the GoFlex sets it apart from every other external hard drive on the market.
Allows you to access your content on your TV, network and on–the–go when combined with other GoFlex devices Other GoFlex devices can turn a connected GoFlex hard drive into storage for a network media player or into an internet-accessible NAS.

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1.5TB: Specifications
(from the product web page)
Model Number
STAA1500100
Interface
USB 3.0
Capacity
1.5TB
Height
120mm (4.71 in)
Width
89mm (3.51 in)
Length
22mm (.87 in)
Weight (typical)
280g (.62 lb)
Shipping Weight
.44kg (0.97 lb)
Encryption 192-bit Triple DES
Automatic Backup Software PC & Mac
Warranty 2 years


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