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500GB Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-Portable Hard Drive Review

500GB Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-Portable Hard Drive Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlext Ultra-Portable hard drive is more than just a portable 2.5" SATA HDD. key to the system's brilliant usefulness is that Seagate designed this hard drive to interface with a series of modular cable interface adaptors, docks and a media player. It's what you'd call, really very flexible.
 95% Rating:   
Filed under: Hard Drives/SSD Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Seagate Feb 16 2012   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Hard Drives/SSD > Seagate STAA500101

Removable Storage Benchmarks & Conclusions

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 Source:Sandra

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 bold.

Sandra 2011 Multi-Filesize Read / Write Tests (MB/s)
( higher numbers are better )
Cap. Data Interface 4 KB Test
64 KB Test (MB/s) 1MB Test

16MB Test

256MB Test
Read Write Read Write Read Write Read Write Read Write
Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex (USB2.0) 500GB USB 2.0 6.0 0.43 20.85 12.15 28.72 19.0 32.80 25.80 32.62 26.83
Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex (eSATA) 500GB eSATA 18.2 1.21 29.20 12.54 55.36 46.5 71.85


76.83 37.00
Patriot Memory
(USB 3.0)
64GB USB 3.0 5.82 0.233 53.33 3.24 67.5 15.81 96.34 18.56 122.39 45.76
Supertalent Luxio
(USB 2.0)
64GB USB 2.0 3.0 0.129 25.15 2.24 29.24


30.36 10.78 29.12 15.00

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 Test

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 Test
( Lower times are best )
Removable Storage Cap. Data Interface Copy TO
Removable Storage
Copy FROM Removable Storage
Speed Time Speed Time
Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex HDD 500GB Firewire 800 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex HDD 500GB USB 3.0 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex HDD 500GB USB 2.0 31MB/s 4:28 31MB/s 4:30
Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex HDD 500GB eSATA 53MB/s 2:36 49MB/s 2:50
Patriot Memory USB 3.0 65GB USB 3.0 52MB/s 2:39 53MB/s 2:36
Supertalent Luxio USB 2.0 64GB USB 2.0 18MB/s 7:33 28MB/s 4:54

The single 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 system.

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 System

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 Media Player!

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 warranty.

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.

PCSTATS Editor's Choice Award

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< Previous Page © 2020 PCSTATS.com Hard Drives/SSD Reviews...»


Contents of Article: Seagate STAA500101
 Pg 1.  500GB Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-Portable Hard Drive Review
 Pg 2.  Seagate GoFlex Upgrade Cables and Media Player
 Pg 3.  Seagate Dashboard Software + Trial-Ware
 Pg 4.  — Removable Storage Benchmarks & Conclusions

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