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G-Technology G-DRIVE 4TB review: high-performace USB 3.0 hard drive

G-Technology offers a range of smart external storage, styled to blend with professional Apple Mac hardware. Most of the G-Technology desktop models now feature two- or four-disk RAID for peak performance and capacity, but a single-disk unit like the G-DRIVE can still offer vast storage, and at a keener price point.

The G-RAID is now available in three capacities – 2TB, 3TB, and the 4TB we tested. A change of interface option sees USB 3.0 replacing USB 2.0. This means that the Hitachi Deskstar hard disk inside can now easily operate at its maximum speed. See also: Group test: what's the best desktop hard drive?

There’s still a FireWire option, two FW800 ports enabling straightforward connection to most Macs, although the eSATA port has now gone.

Construction of this sleek aluminium slab is as solid as ever, and thanks to a finned heatsink on the underside the G-DRIVE can run without additional fan cooling.

It’s far from silent though, the 7200rpm disk clearly audible as it rumbles inside. Placed on your desk, you’ll likely feel its thrum and hear rustling platters, although it is slightly quieter than the previous generation that we reviewed.

We tested FireWire performance under OS X, and saw good consistent sequential read and write speeds of 71 MB/s. Smaller random reads from 4 kB to 1024 kB averaged 19 MB/s, and random writes of the same file size span averaged 30 MB/s.

Turning to USB 3.0, the G-DRIVE was really able to stretch its legs. Small-file random reads and writes were very similar at 23 and 30 MB/s respectively, but now sequential reads hit 160 MB/s and writes 168 MB/s.

That’s with an empty drive, of course. Expect real-world speed to average at least 120 MB/s, which means you won’t be hanging around long waiting for large files to be written to or read from the G-DRIVE.

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