Although Seagate's 500GB FreeAgent
GoFlex ultra-portable hard drive is actually a mechanical 2.5" laptop SATA
hard drive, the unit is still just a simple external storage device. Thus,
instead of applying standard hard drive benchmarks to suit the memory format, PCSTATS has selected
a simple benchmark suite for Removable Storage Devices.
These benchmarks are applicable to any type of
external storage medium (ie. USB 2.0, USB 3.0, e-SATA, or Firewire) and any kind
of memory format (ie. HDD, SSD, flash thumb drive memory). When it comes to external storage the primary role
is moving files to and from internal storage devices, although many users
also commonly work off external storage devices.
SiSoft Sandra 2011
Sandra is designed to test the theoretical power of
a complete system and individual components. The numbers taken though are again,
purely theoretical and may not represent real world performance. Higher numbers
represent better performance. The best results for each column are in
|Sandra 2011 Multi-Filesize Read / Write Tests
higher numbers are better )
KB Test (MB/s)
|Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex (USB2.0)
|Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex (eSATA)
In Sandra's removable storage Read and Write data transfer test, we get a
sense of how Seagate's 500GB FreeAgent GoFlex ultra-portable hard drive will
react to different file sizes. The FreeAgent GoFlex sees a peak data transfer rates of 76.83MB/s (read) over
the eSATA data connection (256MB test files) and 46.5MB/s (write) over
the eSATA data connection with 1MB test files. By comparison, the USB 2.0
interface to the FreeAgent GoFlex is a lot slower.
A USB 3.0 upgrade cable was not available at
the time of this review for PCSTATS to test with the GoFlex drive.
8.5GB Single File Time/Transfer
For this test a single 8.5GB, high definition 1080p .MKV movie file is
copied from a 120GB SSD system disk to the removable storage device
(copy to), then from the removable storage device to the 120GB SSD system disk (copy
from). While this test is influenced by the system disk
SATA controller and by the number of
files being transferred, it provides a simple real world indication of sustained
transfer rates. Higher transfer speeds and lower
transfer times are best.
| 8.5GB Single File Time/Transfer
( Lower times are best
|Copy FROM Removable
|Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex HDD
|Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex HDD
| Patriot Memory USB 3.0
|Supertalent Luxio USB 2.0
large file time transfer test (a.k.a. the BitTorrent movie
sharing test) is a sign of the times; how
long must you wait to share a HD 1080p movie with a friend, or
wait to copy an HD 8.5GB MKV file over to watch
on a home media player? :)
First off, a Firewire 800 port doesn't exist in the PCSTATS labs... so
scratch that test. The USB 3.0 interface adaptor was stuck in the back of a Fedex truck...
so PCSTATS made due with the stock USB 2.0 interface adaptor and the powered eSATA interface adaptor
to connect the 500GB FreeAgent GoFlex portable hard drive to the test computer
When connected via USB 2.0 port, the 500GB Seagate
FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-Portable hard drive can transfer a single 8.5GB test file to the PC at a
rate of about 31MB/s, or about four and half minutes. The same test repeated over
eSATA cable yields a quicker rate of about 49-53MB/s, or a time about two
and a half minutes.
Clearly, eSATA beats USB 2.0! In any case, the 500GB Seagate
FreeAgent GoFlex is comparably quick to both standard high capacity USB 2.0
thumb drives and USB 3.0 thumb drives, depending on the interface adaptor interface adaptor
connected to the core drive.
Brilliantly Useful Portable Hard Drive
There's not much to a portable external hard drive that should
need explaining. Plug it in, copy files and folders over and carry your
data away - the quicker the file transfer goes and the more computers you
can connect to, the better. It's as simple as that.
Seagate's 500GB FreeAgent GoFlex drive works very
well and offers the added advantage of being continually upgradable... The model
PCSTATS received for testing shipped with a common USB 2.0 interface cable,
fine for most situations but also easily replaceable. Pick up a
powered eSATA cable for large backup sessions, a FireWire 800 (if we used Mac) for
streaming video or even a USB 3.0 interface cable to move around 8.5GB HD .MKV
movies. There's even a Thunderbolt adaptor that's become available since FreeAgent
GoFlex drive was originally released. On top of all this flexibility, the
core drive doubles up as removable storage for Seagate's very handy GoFlex HD TV
The drive casing itself
has the kind of solid build quality feel that makes us confident it can
be tucked into a bag and taken abroad to a trade show to back up photos. Often,
those plastic shells you buy for about $15 and slap an old 2.5" laptop drive into,
feel flimsy and creak just handling them. PCSTATS is glad to see none of that
shoddy quality here.
Seagate back the $110 USD 50GB FreeAgent GoFlex drive with a two year
With a demonstrated peak data read speed of 76MB/s in the 256MB/eSATA
cable test, and typical write speed of 53MB/s, Seagate's 500GB FreeAgent
GoFlex ultra-portable hard drive is well paced against competing USB based solid
state thumb drives, but with significantly larger storage capacity.
The core 500GB FreeAgent GoFlex drive ships with
a USB 2.0 interface cable, so we highly recommend spending a couple extra bucks on the USB 3.0
interface adaptor. Other higher capacity GoFlex drives may ship with the USB 3.0 interface
cable, so keep you eye open for that. USB 3.0 is a
heck of a lot faster that USB 2.0 and backwards compatible with the
older standard so there's nothing to lose.
To sum up, the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex ultra-portable hard drive
may have the longest and most unruly name, but this 500GB external portable
drive is one device PCSTATS highly recommends.
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