Hitachi is making a big push with their G-Technology brand of portable storage drives. Just a few weeks ago I was at a San Jose Sharks hockey game and during one of the breaks a commercial aired on the display above the rink. The G-DRIVE Mobile was the focus of the commercial. I thought it was kind of cool to see a storage product featured so prominently to mainstream users.
In a sense you can think of G-Technology as Hitachi's MAC wing. Most of their products feature FireWire 800 interfaces, are designed to look MAC sheik and many are capable of handling the stress of heavy A/V editing.
The G-DRIVE Mobile falls into the first two categories. With its piano black cover and silver aluminium casing for protection, the Mobile will look right at home next to your MAC or new Ultrabook.
The G-DRIVE Mobile is available in 500GB and 750GB. We're looking at the 500GB drive today. Your data is stored on a 2.5" form factor 5,400 RPM Hitachi SATA drive with 8MB of cache. Keeping with the MAC theme, there are dual FireWire 800 connections and a single USB 2.0 port. The G-DRIVE Mobile ships with three cables, so no slot will go unfilled.
In the specifications sheet G-Technology lists the dimensions of the external drive. The unit is about the same size as a standard 3.5" form factor drive, but weighs quite a bit less. Most of the bulk is due to the tri-interface, the electronics aren't exactly tiny since there isn't a dual purpose FireWire (1394b) / USB 2.0 chip. The unit has to double up on some surface mount components.
We're not really MAC enthusiasts here at TweakTown, so FireWire 800 is seen as an old interface that only made a brief appearance in our world, like on Socket 775 motherboards. That said, we're only testing the G-Technology Mobile with USB 2.0 which has a real world performance limit of around 35MB/s. If you were someone with a FireWire 800 port on your machine, the Mobile would be able to run at the full speed of the HDD. We suspect that is between 100MB/s at peak and around 50MB/s at the slow end of the platters.
GO TO TOP OF THE NEXT COLUMN ^
Using ATTO, we managed to get very close to the 35MB/s limit when reading from the G-Technology G-DRIVE Mobile. The write speed broke 30MB/s using USB 2.0, but the interface limited us there.
In our real world tests where data is copied to and from a partition on the drive, we managed to get just under 15MB/s in all of the tests. This is solid performance for a USB 2.0 interface and in line with some of the high speed thumb drives we've tested.
K-Mart of all places lists the Mobile for 119.99 online. Normally we'd suggest waiting till this product was on the market a bit longer to scoop up a bargain, but given the HDD market at this time due to the flooding in Thailand there aren't going to be too many bargains for quite awhile. If you are a PC user (without FireWire 800) I'd suggest passing the G-DRIVE Mobile over and look at the company's USB 3.0 product line. MAC users with 1394b will be fine with the Mobile, well, until they need high speed storage for a PC.