Designed for videographers capturing footage in the field, photographers, and Mac users who demand high-performance storage, the G-Technology G-Drive mini SSD is a no-compromise pocket drive. This solid-state drive runs silently, delivers fast read and write speeds, and offers enhanced durability over traditional hard drives due to the lack of moving parts. Priced at $599, the G-Drive mini SSD has an extremely high cost-per-GB, but it's an ideal device for those who demand top-notch performance.
The G-Drive mini SSD resembles a desktop external drive more so than a pocket drive, thanks to its brushed aluminum chassis, rubberized feet, and built-in heat sink, but its size (4.9 x 3.1 x 0.8 inches) and weight (8.8 ounces) make it easily portable. Unlike most pocket drives, the G-Drive mini SSD offers a wide array of ports for connecting it to a notebook: FireWire 400, FireWire 800, and USB 2.0. The rear of the device also contains an On/Off switch, and a port for a 5V adapter (sold separately for $19.99) for notebooks that can't provide enough port power.
Outstanding USB 2.0 Performance
Storage manufacturers have touted speed as one of the advantages of solid-state drives, and the G-Drive mini SSD is a fine example of near untouchable read and write performance. Over USB 2.0 it read a 4.97GB folder of mixed media in just 2 minutes and 50 seconds, which translates into a best-in-class rate of 29.9 MBps, which outpaced the second speediest read performance (the Toshiba 500GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive's 26.2 MBps) by 3.7 MBps, and the category average (22.5 MBps) by 7.4 MBps.
We've seen a number of drives across the board read quickly, but write at either a mediocre (or outright poor pace), but the G-Drive mini SSD doesn't fall into that grouping. It wrote the same 4.97GB mixed media folder in 3 minutes and 57 seconds, a rate of 21.4 MBps. That blew away the category average (16.6 MBps) and was second only to theBuffalo MiniStation Turbo USB(26.1 MBps).
FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 Performance
Built into the G-Drive mini SSD are FireWire 400 and 800 ports, which are uncommon in the pocket drive category. The FireWire 400 connection produced a read speed of 35.5 MBps (2 minutes and 23 seconds), which outperformed the 1TB desktop driveBuffalo DriveStation Combo 4(26.5 MBps) and the desktop drive average (28.5 MBps). The drive's write speed was also outstanding; it measured 25.7 MBps (3 minutes and 18 seconds), which outpaced every external hard drive we've tested with a FireWire 400 connection.
Copying data via FireWire 800 resulted in a 47.5 MBps read speed (1 minute and 47 seconds), which was only slightly slower than the Buffalo DriveStation Combo 4 (49.7 MBps). The G-Drive Mini's write speed topped out at 32.2 MBps (2 minutes and 38 seconds) trailing the Buffalo DriveStation Combo 4 by 8.1 MBps.
Software and Warranty
As it's designed to be used with Apple's Time Machine (Mac OS X Leopard's backup application), no software comes bundled with the G-Drive mini. As soon as we plugged the drive into an Apple MacBook Pro, we were prompted to use it as a backup drive. A few clicks later, Time Machine began copying our data to the G-Drive mini. However, Windows users aren't forsaken; the drive can be formatted for use with Windows Vista, XP, or 2000. G-Technology covers the unit with a 3-year warranty.
Certainly G-Technology's G-Drive mini SSD is the premier Mac pocket hard drive on the market; the only question that remains is if the 128GB capacity is worth the $599 asking price. If sheer performance is the determining factor, the G-Drive mini SSD is the king of the hill. If you need more capacity, the 256GB version costs a whopping $1,299. For those on a stricter budget, a drive such as the 500GB Western Digital My Passport for Mac ($149) may be more suitable for those on a budget. Still, if price is no object, and you want the shock and drop resistance that only solid state storage can offer, this speed demon is one to drool over.