Appletell reviews G-Technology’s G-DRIVE mini

Sections: Features, Macintosh/Apple Hardware, Peripherals, Reviews

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G-DRIVE miniProvides: External storage
Developer: G-Technology
Minimum Requirements: USB, or Firewire 400 or Firewire 800
Price: $149.99 – $279.99
Availability: Now

Let’s face it; you really can judge pretty about anything just by looking at it. Okay, maybe that’s not completely true, and in the case of the G-DRIVE mini, its beauty runs deeper than just the surface.

The G-DRIVE mini is a MacBook Pro user’s dream come true…as far as external storage is concerned anyway. It’s a fanless, triple interface, aluminum encased, external hard drive designed with your Mac in mind. It’s essentially a laptop hard drive inside of an aluminum case with a bunch of connection options. The case looks similar to a Mac Pro, with its front grill and a single piece of aluminum wrapping around the body. When you plug it in, you just know it was made for your Mac, and doesn’t that feel good? Yes. It does.

G-DRIVE mini case

Inside the box, you’ll find everything that you need to use the drive: either two or three cables (depending on which version you purchased) and a case. The case is less than spectacular, but the drive looks so nice that you’ll be ripping it out of the case every chance you get.

The drive is nearly silent, since there is no need for a fan. The metal draws the heat away, which keeps the drive mildly warm, but nothing to worry about. And since it’s made of metal, it feels super sturdy. While the thought of dropping a hard drive might keep you up at night, I think this drive stands a much better chance than other external drives on the market. That’s one of the things for which you’re paying a premium. The double or triple interface is one of the others. Most external drives don’t offer FireWire support.

G-DRIVE mini double and triple interfaces

The drive is completely powered by the FireWire bus, so when you take it on the road with you, you won’t need to pack any inconvenient adapters. And chances are, unless you’re using it to download video, you don’t even have a use for your FireWire port. If you don’t have FireWire (i.e. MacBook users), disregard what I just wrote.

I ran some tests on the external drive to see how it would perform. I have the 5400RPM drive, so it’s likely that a smaller capacity but faster 7200RPM drive would perform a little faster. I’ve heard arguments that because of data density the speed difference isn’t that huge. Regardless, here’s what I found; the drive performs a bit faster than a MacBook’s internal drive, but slower than a MacBook Pro’s drive. It won’t be winning any drive speed contests, but it won’t be slowing you down, either.

If you’re interested in an external drive that matches your Mac, then the G-DRIVE mini is the way to go. You can choose from either the double or triple interface. The double has USB 2.0 and FireWire 400, while the triple adds FireWire 800. If you have a MacBook, go with the double. If you have a MacBook Pro, go with the triple and save yourself an adapter and a USB port.

G-DRIVE mini front grill

Sure, you could buy one of any number of other external drives for much less than the G-DRIVE mini. But would it match your Mac? Would it come pre-formatted as HFS+ with Journaling? Would it have support for FireWire? Would it be made of metal? I could continue, but I think you get the picture that you pay more for a premium product. And as Apple users, we’ve become accustomed to such things. That isn’t to say I wouldn’t like to see the prices go down a bit, but this is a very well designed product, and it shows.

Appletell Rating:

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