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.
Of course, SSDs have their drawbacks. They cost considerably more per gigabyte and the G-RAID mini2 SSD is no exception. As with most SSD drives, the drive's capacity is adequate for some users, but can't compete with the 1TB or 2TB in some magnetic drives.
SSDs routinely suffer from slow write speeds, but the G-RAID mini2 SSD produced some of the fastest times we've seen in an external drive. Using eSATA, the G-RAID mini2 SSD finished our 1GB copy test in 32 seconds, 2 seconds faster than LaCie's Little Big Disk Quadra 500GB -- though not statistically significant, it still puts the G-RAID on par with some of the fastest drives we've tested. Since writing is an SSD's weakness and our copy test is a pure writing test, the G-RAID's success here is very impressive.
The second test we run on our external drives is a 1GB duplication test, which is a combination of reading and writing. Using eSATA, the G-RAID mini2 SSD finished the test at a speedy 28 seconds, almost twice as fast as the 50 seconds posted by the Little Big Disk. The FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0 results were similarly faster on the G-RAID mini2 SSD than on the Little Big Disk.
Our third test, a low-memory Photoshop suite, uses the external drive as a scratch disk and runs a regimen of four tasks. The G-RAID mini2 SSD shined in these tests, regularly beating out its magnetic cousins by staggering margins. G-Technology's G-RAID mini 200GB, a magnetic-based precursor to the G-RAID mini2 SSD, was 50 percent slower using its FireWire 800 connection in our low-memory Photoshop tests. The Little Big Disk didn't fair any better; the best times the Little Big Disk could produce was with its eSATA connection.
The G-RAID mini2 SSD's slowest connection, USB 2.0, still produced times faster than the LaCie's best times by finishing our test at 1 minute, 5 seconds. The G-RAID mini2 SSD improved on these scores incrementally with other connections -- FireWire 400 finished in 1 minute flat, FireWire 800 finished in 41 seconds, and eSATA finished in 30 seconds. The G-RAID mini2 SSD's fastest time with the eSATA was four times as fast as the LaCie's score with the same connection.
The G-RAID mini2 SSD offers reliability and speed, though at a high cost per gigabyte. As more companies begin producing drives with this new technology, you can expect prices to come down. Until then, the G-RAID mini2 SSD is hard to recommend to a wider audience, considering its price tag. Pros willing to pay a premium for the latest technology and the peace of mind of solid-state's high reliability can take comfort in knowing that G-Technology has earned a reputation as a provider of Mac-focused drives with great warranties and sturdy cases. If you're looking for a portable external RAID and feel that the benefits of an SSD outweigh the drawback of its high price, then the G-RAID SSD line is something worth watching.