If you haven't heard of G-Technology just yet, you are not alone. The company started out as its own entity, but was later scooped up by Hitachi Global Storage Technology (GST). Now G-Tech serves at Hitachi's MAC storage department making products designed for use with MAC computers with an emphasis put on style as well as performance. Just very recently we looked at the G-DRIVE Mobile, a dual interface drive that uses USB 2.0 and FireWire 800.
Today we're looking at the G-DRIVE slim, a very thin portable drive that connects to your PC or MAC via USB 2.0. The slim uses a 7mm thin 5,400 RPM drive that allows the slim to be, well, very thin. Online we found two capacity sizes, 320GB and a larger 500GB model. Today we're looking at the 500GB model.
G-Technology doesn't give us a lot of information on their specifications sheet. The drive is formatted for a MAC file system out of the box, but PC users can easily format the drive for NTFS with just a few clicks.
With just a single USB 2.0 interface you will be limited to around 35MB/s read and write speed, the maximum real world limits of USB 2.0. The G-DRIVE slim does include a USB cable and is powered by the USB bus, so you don't need to worry about an external power pack.
When it comes to cost, we managed to find the G-Technology G-DRIVE slim 500GB online for around 100 Dollars after shipping.
G-Technology named the slim appropriately. The drive is very small for an external drive thanks to the 7mm drive inside. For the most part the enclosure is aluminium, but there is a plastic strip on the outside edges that keep the drive together.
The ATTO performance graph looks a bit different this time around. The G-DRIVE slim uses an Advanced Format 4K file system and ATTO doesn't like testing these drives below the 4K block size.
As you can see in this test, the slim manages to achieve just under 35MB/s when reading data and just over 30MB/s write speed.
Advanced Format is not supported by AS SSD, so we were not able to run the File Transfer test on the slim. We were able to run CDM which shows us 4K and native command queuing (NCQ) performance. The problem is that NCQ isn't a supported protocol on USB. Still, we managed to record some solid performance for a 7mm single platter drive. The 512k block size tested at 24MB/s write and 22MB/s read speeds.
7mm drives aren't built for extreme speed, but with the USB 2.0 limits in place with the G-DRIVE slim, speed isn't the top priority. G-Technology set out to build a product that was built for form over function. The company succeeded in their goal as the G-DRIVE slim is very cool looking. Still, users who purchase this product may end up with some buyer's remorse when they get to transferring data to and from the drive. 35MB/s is the absolute best you can do and in 2011 that just isn't fast enough with USB 3.0 and FireWire 800 (on the MAC side).