By Chris Holt Macworld.com | on April 23, 2009
Price When Reviewed: 935 . 1475
Pros: Very secure portable storage due to solid state drive.
Cons: Incredibly expensive.
The market has remained relatively thin when it comes to solid-state drives (SSDs), but there is certainly an interest in this alternative type of storage. G-Technology has unveiled a new line of portable external SSDs that offer improved reliability and read speeds over magnetic-based drives. Unfortunately, the steep price per gigabyte of this new technology puts the G-RAID mini2 SSD out of the reach of many creatives.
By giving you the choice of configuring the two-drive device as either a speedy RAID 0 or a mirrored RAID 1 drive, the G-RAID mini2 SSD attempts to offer an alternative for speed-focused consumers and professionals who need a safe place to store critical photos, video, and music. The RAID 1 data mirroring is ideal for professional camera junkies who want to offload footage onto a redundant storage system.
Like every product in G-Technology's lineup, the G-RAID mini2 SSD is built tough, comes with a three-year warranty, and is targeted to professionals Throwing down about £1,500 for 512GB of storage space isn't in the average creative's budget, but pros who need a secure portable device will likely find SSD's rock-solid reliability attractive. we can see it appealing to photographers who take a laptop on shoots with them, video editors who work in the field and any creative who takes projects home with them on a regular basis.
The press materials indicate that the drive has a g-force rating of up to 1,500, and, compared to a magnetic hard drive, is less likely to fail while reading data. The G-RAID mini2 SSD features eSATA, FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0 connections.
G-Technology generally makes sturdy, monolithic aluminum-case drives, and the G-RAID mini2 SSD is no exception. It's a couple of inches longer and wider than an iPhone and three times as thick. Though it's by no means the lightest portable drive out there, you can fit it in a backpack for travel use. The drive can draw power from the FireWire bus, but requires the use of an external power source for USB and eSATA connections. An integrated heat-sink and quiet-cooling fan ensure the drive runs relatively quietly and coolly.
SSDs have several advantages. They offer faster startup than a hard drive because they don't have to spin up. They're typically faster for random-access reading, since they don't have to move a read-write head. And they have an almost-constant seek time since no head has to travel to various locations on a platter to read data, as happens with magnetic drives.
The lack of moving parts makes an SSD quieter than a hard drive and less likely to suffer mechanical failure. When SSDs do fail, it's usually due to writing rather than reading errors (which typically afflict magnetic-mechanism drives). Reading failures usually mean you've lost the data permanently, while with writing errors the data may be written someplace else and hence recoverable.