A rugged drive that gets the job done
Now that Seagate is manufacturing 2.5-inch notebook drives, it makes perfect sense the company would enter the booming portable storage market by slipping one of its new drives into a rugged shell and slapping a USB 2.0 bridge on it. The drive we tested this month uses a 40GB Seagate Momentus drive with a spindle speed of 5,400rpm, though Seagate also offers a 100GB version with the same spindle speed. The most notable characteristic of the drive is that it eschews a slim, sexy profile in favor of a slightly larger footprint along with an incredibly rugged aluminum alloy shell. It’s definitely larger than other USB drives we’ve tested, but it feels like it’s by far the most durable.
This USB 2.0/1.1 drive is solely bus powered. Unlike other USB drives we’ve tested, Seagate’s drive connects to the PC with a dual-head USB cable. One cable is marked data/power, and the other is for additional power when needed. About 50 percent of the time we needed to plug in both USB connectors to get enough power to the drive, but an equal number of times only the data/power cable was needed, even on front-mounted USB ports.
In Lab tests, the drive performed quite well in terms of throughput, averaging around 16MB/s write speeds, with read speeds hovering in the 20MB/s zone, which is excellent. It’s also worth mentioning that the drive uses fluid bearings, making it extremely quiet during file transfers.
There is a software bundle, but it includes a few largely useless utilities (diagnostic, LBA addressing, etc.) that are available for download on Seagate’s web site. Then again, this is the kind of drive that doesn’t need a software bundle because it doesn’t require you to install any drivers. Still, it would have been nice to have a copy of the high-quality “toolkit” software Seagate includes with its 5GB Pocket drive, which allows you to create hidden partitions on a drive in case you loan it out and want to keep secret your DivX rip of Bad Boys 2 (or some other embarrassing file). --Josh Norem
+ LEDs: Very rugged, decent capacity, no drivers required.
- IEDs: Larger-than-average formfactor, software bundle is largely useless.