• Price: 370

  • Company: CMS Products

  • Pros: Fast. Easy to set-up and administer from the included backup software. Single support contact.

  • Cons: Creating your own system from other hardware and CMS’s software would work out a lot cheaper.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 7 out of 10 We rate this 7 out of 10

The Velocity² external hard drive is new to the UK, but it’s based on the same Silicon Image shell that LaCie has rebadged as the Two Big eSATA & USB. Our test unit has two 250GB drives, with the Velocity2 supporting up to 1.5TB of storage.

With CMS’s version, you also get a copy of the company’s BounceBack Pro backup software, and a single contact for technical support that lasts for three years for the full solution.

The Velocity²’s design is obviously based on Apple’s Power Mac/PowerBook/Cinema Display aesthetic – though as most of its shell is plastic, it pales next to the real thing.

When you first set-up the Velocity², you have a choice of RAID levels. You can leave the two drives as they are, simply use them as a single volume, or you can choose between a fast striped set (RAID 0) and a mirrored set (RAID 1).

The eSATA port provides a much faster connection than USB 2.0 and it’s even three times that of FireWire 800.

In our tests, it took just three minutes to copy a 10GB video file. Using USB 2.0, the same file took seven minutes.

Video editors interested in using the Velocity² as a media drive will be impressed with the read throughput. Using the HDTach testing software, we obtained read speeds up to 90MBps – almost three times that of the same unit over USB 2.0.

It’s possible – and easy – to hot-swap drives if one fails. Just pop off the front of the unit and you have instant access to the two drives inside. CMS has bundled its BounceBack Professional backup software, which is simple to administer. Setting up a system of two mirror drives – one of which you can take home every night for safe keeping – is a snap, though CMS doesn’t provide a travel carriage.

The Velocity²’s one major flaw is its price. LaCie’s version costs only £210 plus VAT. This doesn’t include BounceBack Pro – but you can pick this up online for between £25 and £40, and you’ll save over £100 on what CMS is charging for this drive.