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David Murphy

Jun 24, 2008

Seagate FreeAgent Pro

At A Glance

Strong Sauce

Lit-up display a nice reminder that your drive is on and working; doubles as a sweet night-light.

Weaksauce

Average speeds and a mix of crappy free and paid-for features will leave you wanting more.

From a design perspective, the Seagate FreeAgent Pro is nearly perfect. The company has turned out a device that looks, dare we say, Apple-esque. Or maybe Orange-esque, the prevailing color that glows and pulsates through the middle of the drive’s tower-like drive holder.

If the FreeAgent’s performance were as noteworthy as the design of this USB-, FireWire-, and eSATA-ready enclosure, we’d have a real winner on our hands. Our model used a 750GB 7200.10 Barracuda drive, and one heckuva clog must exist within the device’s interface, or some hidden quiet-mode feature enabled by default. We were surprised to see only 44.7MB/s average read speeds—on an eSATA connection, no less. The internal version lives in the 66MB/s range, so what gives?

The FreeAgent Pro does little to impress in terms of features as well. Seagate still uses the ever-crappy Memeo AutoBackup application as its primary backup solution, if the name didn’t otherwise give that fact away. Curiously, the drive comes with a system rollback feature. You know, just like that thing that’s bundled with… every modern version of the Windows operating system. And don’t forget the FreeAgent Pro’s Internet Drive–for a mere $120 a year, you can back up 5GB of files online!

If looks were all that mattered, the FreeAgent Pro would be the greatest external drive available today. Too bad poor performance and a lack of features get in the way.

BENCHMARKS
Seagate FreeAgent Pro
eSATA
USB
Firewire 400
Burst (MB/s) 117.8 26.3 43.6
Random Access (ms) 22.4 21.5 21.2
Average Read (MB/s)
44.7 25.5 41.7
Western Digital My Book Home
eSATA
USB
Firewire 400
Burst (MB/s) 97.1 25 42.9
Random Access (ms) 15.7 15.5 17.6
Average Read (MB/s)
56.6 23.9 34.9
Best scores are bolded in each connection category. All benchmarks taken using HD Tach 3.0.1.0

 

THE VERDICT

Seagate FreeAgent Pro

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