Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Seagate FreeAgent 1TB GoFlex Desk External Drive Review

I already have close to 50GB worth of design work/project files on my system and I have never done any redundancy backup whatsoever for the past 6 years. Logic and statistics dictates that I should so I decided to look around for a good external drive since the iMac doesn’t have any extra drive bays.

I initially wanted to go for Western Digital drives just for the look of their enclosures but decided against it having a couple of WD die on us over the years. Seagate on the other hand has never failed me with respect to bad sectors, corrupted boot managers or destroying years of hard work so I checked out what they had and saw this 1 terabyte GoFlex External Drive.

Read the full post for my review. (click photo for a larger view)

Swappable Base Adapter

The Seagate 1TB GoFlex Desk External Drive is touted as the world’s most upgradeable drive. Why so? The difference between this model and other Seagate or Western Digital drives is the base that comes with it. It is actually an adapter which you can swap out for either a faster USB 3.0, eSATA or Firewire 800 base. (Box includes the default USB2.0 base)

I actually tried mounting my SATA Western Digital drive on top of the dock adapter and plugged in the usb port and power plug and it detected it as an external drive. This is perfect for times when you need to format an external hard drive or just want to backup to an unused drive.

Back Up Software

The software that comes in the box is really not that useful. The free Instant Backup software from Memeo is just that, free. If you really want to do extra you have to pay for the premium version.  The drive works on both Mac or Windows and can be used on OSX’s Time Machine or any of Windows backup software. I prefer Acronis True Image Home, which offers the same feature of real-time backups and file recovery to any point similar to Time Machine.

One neat feature of this drive is its illuminated capacity gauge. It’s 4 LED lights in front of the drive that lights up and lets you know when the drive is nearing full.

Portable? Hmm.. No.

This external drive requires to be plugged in an electrical outlet so if you plan on buying one to bring with you and be actually “portable” then Seagate’s GoFlex Ultra Portable might be your best choice. It is usb-powered and also has that same swappable base adapter. (Actually they have already released 1 TB even 1.5 TB version of this) MArket price for these portable drives range from 3,000  pesos for the 320GB and 8,000 pesos for the 1TB.

Price Point

The 1TB costs around 4,500 to 5,000 pesos as of this writing. The upgrade base adapters (Usb 3.0, Firewire 800, eSATA) go around for 1,300 to 1,700 pesos.

What’s inside the box?

  • GoFlex Desk Drive
  • Pre–loaded backup software with encryption
  • GoFlex Desk USB 2.0 adapter base with capacity gauge
  • 5-foot (150 cm) USB 2.0 cable
  • Quick Start Guide


The drive does not get hot even though there is no fan. It’s also quiet. It does what it’s supposed to do and throws in a few extras along the way. If you want a future-proof external drive, you can’t go wrong with Seagate’s GoFlex drives. It has earned good reviews from various websites and so far I haven’t encountered any problems at all.

In case your new computer comes with a Firewire 800 or the new USB 3.0 port, you can swap it with the available adapters and gain transfer boosts. I just don’t find the price of these optional adapters reasonable just yet.

Just remember that when backing up, try to have multiple redundant copies if possible. Never put all your eggs in one basket they say. Same goes with your important files. If you’re really concerned about your files, you should consider an offsite backup. Being paranoid sometimes really pays off and saves you the hassles of rebuilding your computer career or life from scratch.

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