If you ever need to carry your data from one PC to another, you’re bound to use a flash drive or a portable hard drive. Portable hard drives offer better value for money than flash drives. You can easily pick up a 250 GB or 320 GB drive for around Rs. 2,500 or so. USB 3.0 drives have now started arriving in the market and Seagate is one of the companies that has launched one.
A smaller capacity but also a smaller storage drive
It’s called the FreeAgent GoFlex Slim and it comes in a 320GB capacity. The speciality of course is its thickness and Seagate is claiming it to be the world’s slimmest hard drive. The drive was launched just a few days ago and we’ve got our hands on it.
Features and Design
External hard drives are a bit more interesting than internal drives. They can be designed to be stylish, colourful, rugged and sleek. However, they’ve been around for a long time and designs have got a little boring. Now, the new Seagate GoFlex Slim 320GB is a lot slimmer in comparison to other portable drives in the market. The new slim design doesn’t do much for the size but the FreeAgent GoFlex Slim is more of a style statement.
With the SATA-USB interface module detached
The drive has the same design that is seen on other recent FreeAgent GoFlex family of drives from Seagate. The rear of the drive has a bracket that connects to the SATA data and power connectors internally and provides a USB interface on the outside. The external USB interface is a Seagate proprietary one. The cable provided by Seagate is a little more than a foot and is sturdy. The only downside to the proprietary cable is that you might have trouble finding a new one if you happen to lose the one bundled with the drive. There is no official information but the drive being used internally might be a single platter drive. The drive in the GoFlex Slim runs at 7200rpm.
Test Rig Specifications
Processor: Intel Core i7-2600K CPU @ 3.40 GHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte P67A-UD3R
Memory: Corsair Dominator GT 6 GB DDR3 (3 x 2 GB)
Hard drive: WD Velociraptor 300 GB
GPU: ASUS GeForce GTX580 DirectCU II
PSU: Cooler Master 1000W
Unike all other portable drives in the market, the Seagate GoFlex Slim uses a 7200 rpm drive and it also supports USB 3.0. Both of these factors should help boost the performance of the drive by a fair bit. We used a WD Velociraptor to eliminate any bottlenecks while reading and writing data to the test drive.
Initial synthetic benchmarks confirm this as write speeds peak at 92.33 MB/s while read speeds are just a tad slower at just under 90 MB/s. USB 2.0 drives in comparison are closer to a third of this speed.
Takes up a little less space
Real world scores turn out to be more impressive than the synthetic tests. Sequential write and read speeds were always impressive and we were surprised to find write speeds to be better than read speeds. Sequential write speeds crossed the 100 MB/s barrier which is very good for a portable hard drive. Write speeds with assorted sets of data were considerably slower at 47.6 MB/s, but this is still faster than any other USB 2.0 drive. Assorted read speeds were far better though. Moving large amounts of data to and from this drive should be a breeze.
Seagate's proprietary USB interface
Typically, most of us users won’t transfer data from one partition to another. We tried transferring the same 4 GB data sets and speeds dropped to under 30 MB/s. This is still average for a notebook hard drive.
Real World Scores (using 4 GB data sets)
Sequential write: 105.02 MB/s
Assorted write: 47.6 MB/s
Sequential read: 91.02 MB/s
Assorted read: 75.85 MB/s
Sequential copy (one partition to another) : 23.4 MB/s
Assorted copy (one partition to another): 29.89 MB/s
Seagate is selling the GoFlex Slim 320GB for Rs. 4,500. It’s more than twice the price of a standard size 320GB USB 2.0 drive. We won’t recommend this drive to our mainstream audience as it’s not exactly value for money. However, it is more stylish and more importantly faster. USB 3.0 drives are seeing major price drops over the months as well. A USB 3.0 1 TB can be bought for a little more than Rs. 5,000. If you’re looking for a really sleek drive, the Seagate GoFlex Slim is for you. If you’re looking for good bang for your buck, there are better USB 3.0 drive options, out there.