Review: Hitachi G-Drive 500GB portable firewire hard drive

We’ve spent the past month with the Hitachi G-Drive Mobile ($128) which is an attractive Firewire/USB portable hard drive that will look great next to your Unibody MacBook Pro.  But are the aesthetics worth the price?

The G-Drive has been backing up my MacBook Pro over Firewire for the past month without a fault.  It is also whisper quiet which makes the chore bearable (though frankly I’ll be going back to NAS in my basement closet backups soon).

As for speed, the G-Drive isn’t as fast as a 3.5 inch desktop Firewire hard drive for fast copies (1GB takes just over 20 secs.) but fast for portable drives.  Firewire 800 helps.  Macworld does additional speed tests and finds it speedy.

The G-Drive also has a USB port which can be powered by a MacBook’s USB but some other computers (like my Eee PC) won’t power the USB port alone.

The device is clean around the edges, though under close inspection, it isn’t hard to distinguish its faux aluminum shell from the real thing on a Macbook Pro.

So, is it worth the extra $$ for a quiet Firewire portable hard drive that looks like your MacBook Pro?  In my world, the Firewire is worth it.  Backups go smoother  and faster and the cable stays put, where USB sometimes wiggles out.  Aesthetically, I’m just as happy with a hard drive that doesn’t look exactly like my MacBook Pro but costs much less.

As for Hitachi Hard Drives (which used to be IBM’s hard drive division) they are fairly reliable (Apple has been known to use them in their products).  This particular one gave me zero problems over the month.

The G-Drive is formatted for Mac out of the gate which saves you about 2 minutes of reformatting that PC formatted drives would cost you.  As a precaution/test, I reformat new hard drives anyway, so for me it is a non-issue.

Overall, I’d recommend this drive if you love the look of matching hard drive/MacBook Pro, and a quiet, fast, reliable Firewire hard drive at a significant premium.  If you are more budget conscious, you can pick up a generic 500GB Hitachi USB portable hard drive for $50 (less than half the price).

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Avatar for Seth Weintraub Seth Weintraub

Publisher and Editorial Director of the 9to5/Electrek sites.

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