capsule review

G-Technology G-Drive Mobile 500GB

At a Glance
  • G-Technology G-Drive Mobile 500GB

    Macworld Rating

Designed specifically for your MacBook Pro, the triple interface G-Drive Mobile 500GB is a fast, stylish, Mac-friendly hard drive that should appeal to users of all stripes.

G-Technology has built a reputation on high-end (and high-priced) hard drives made for a professional Mac audience. Audio/visual pros have long known and trusted the G-Technology brand. When the company was acquired by Hitachi, there were worries that G-Technology would become less professional in its focus and the quality of the products would suffer.

But if the recent line of G-Drives is any indication, performance hasn’t suffered one bit. Despite the departure from G-Technology’s iconic gunmetal gray enclosures, the G-Drive Mobile is still a fast, high-performance, Mac-friendly drive. In short, it’s everything we’ve come to expect from G-Technology.

Weighing in at less than 9 ounces, the G-Drive Mobile features a small, black case that can easily fit into your pants or jacket pocket. The G-Drive Mobile offers two FireWire 800 ports and a USB 2.0 port. The bus-powered 5400-rpm G-Drive Mobile is equipped with a Hitachi Serial-ATA drive and a 8MB cache. The drive comes equipped with an LED light to indicate activity, and the drive, while warm to the touch, was never hot or noisy.

The drive is preformatted for the Mac and comes Time Machine ready right out of the box. Simply set the drive as your target for backups and you’re good to go.

In our lab tests, the G-Drive Mobile USB 2.0 ( ) already proved to be among the best in its class. The triple interface G-Drive Mobile 500GB similarly excelled, easily making it one of our top products.

The G-Drive Mobile finished our 1GB copy test in 21 seconds when using its FireWire 800 connection. That’s a full 10 seconds better than the Western Digital My Passport Studio 640GB ( ) and less than half the time of the Avastor PDX-500 ( ).

The duplication test was similarly impressive. Finishing in 29 seconds, again the G-Drive Mobile bested the WD drive by 10 seconds and beat the PDX-500 by 12 seconds. The G-Drive Mobile also was superior to both drives across its other connection types.

Finally, the low-memory Photoshop tests proved to be a moderate challenge for the G-Drive Mobile. With its FireWire 800 connection enabled, the G-Drive Mobile finished our regime of tests in 3 minutes and 15 seconds. That’s slightly behind the My Passport Studio and a full 30 seconds off the PDX-500, our top product for triple-interface portable hard drives.

As a portable drive, the copy and duplication tests weigh more heavily in our analysis than the Photoshop tests. We don’t expect users to use these drives for taxing processes like audio and video editing; instead the G-Drive Mobile and PDX-500 are designed for simple copy and backup jobs—two areas they excel in.

Timed trials

Copy 1GB file: USB 2.0 0:37
Duplicate 1GB file: USB 2.0 0:57
Low-memory Photoshop: USB 2.0 4:25
Copy 1GB file: FireWire 400 0:36
Duplicate 1GB file: FireWire 400 0:52
Low-memory Photoshop: FireWire 400 4:07
Copy 1GB file: FireWire 800 0:21
Duplicate 1GB file: FireWire 800 0:29
Low-memory Photoshop: FireWire 800 3:15

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

AJA tests

Write Read
USB 28.0MBps 37.1MBps
FW400 28.1MBps 40.4MBps
FW800 73.8MBps 79.5MBps

How we tested. We ran all tests with the drive connected to a Mac Pro dual quad core 3GHz Xeon 5400 with Mac OS X 10.6.2 installed and 2GB of RAM. We tested the drive with each available port. We copied a folder containing 1GB of data from our Mac's hard drive to the external hard drive to test the drive's write speed. We then duplicated that file on the external drive to test both read and write speeds. We also used the drive as a scratch disk when running our low-memory Adobe Photoshop CS3 Suite test. This test is a set of four tasks performed on a 150MB file, with Photoshop's memory set to 25 percent.—Macworld Lab testing by Chris Holt

The G-Drive Mobile has a price-per-gigabyte of $.30. For a portable triple interface drive, that’s still on the pricy side, but many users will likely be ok shelling out $150 for the improved performance.

Macworld’s buying advice

The G-Drive Mobile isn’t just another high-performance drive from G-Technology. Not only professionals, but average consumers looking for a quick, easy, fast storage solution will enjoy the G-Drive’s varied connection types, Mac-friendly formatting, and quick speeds.

[Chris Holt is a Macworld associate editor.]

This story, "G-Technology G-Drive Mobile 500GB" was originally published by Macworld.

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At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Pros

    • Good overall speed

    Cons

    • A little pricey
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