In this review I'm going to take a look at G-Technology's new G-Drive Pro Thunderbolt external hard drive. With Digital SLR's file size constantly increasing we are using more hard drives than ever before and due to that ever increasing size files we tend to working more on external drives than our built-in internal. In the past external hard drives have been slow and sluggish. They were only used as a basic backup as they were just way to slow to actually do any work on. Well, that isn't the case anymore as G-Technology have released a new external hard drive that I believe will revolutionise how we work at home and on location! Introducing the G-DRIVE PRO with THUNDERBOLT...
G-DRIVE PRO with Thunderbolt is the drive of the future as it really shows you the power of Thunderbolt technology. This drive has been tested to reach up to speeds of 480mb/s which is just incredible, this hard drive has been designed for someone who demands high speed transfer rates with large files and wants a drive that is reliable without fail.
Before I talk about my thoughts on the drive I'm going to go through the specifications of the drive.
Disk: SATA III 7200 RPM
Compatibility: Mac OS® 10.7 +; Windows® 8, 7 and Vista®
What's Included: G-DRIVE PRO External Hard Drive, (1) Thunderbolt Cable, Universal AC Power Supply, Quick Start Guide, 3-Year Limited Warranty
My Intial Thoughts
The first I thing I noticed with this drive is its design. You can tell that it is made to sit on a desk next to an Apple product as the design pretty much mimics the Apple Mac Pro line (except the Late 2013 model). They sent me their 4TB version but you can also get it in 2TB's as well. After reading on the box how fast this drive is compared to their other Thunderbolt drives it makes me wonder how are they making a drive that can reach near SSD (Solid State Drive) speeds! Well, there's no real indication on how it's done on the box or anywhere on their website. My theory is that there may be a small SSD inside to go alongside the disk drive therefore creating a Fusion drive which we are now seeing more implemented in the new Apple iMac's. Whatever they've done is amazing as I've never seen a disk drive work this fast before, even my 2008 Mac Pro with 3 drives in a RAID 0 couldn't get anywhere close to the speeds of this beast!
For your average photographer this drive may be too much as these days external hard drives are still used as just a backup but G-Tech are turning that all upside as this is a drive capable of becoming every photographers main work drive just because of its speed of space capacity. For my nature photography I wouldn't really need a drive of this size as the files that I'm working with on a daily basis aren't that big but for my time-lapse photography this drive is a godsend as I'm always rendering my footage in 4K resolution (Ultra HD) for ultimate quality and then putting these files onto a 4K timeline in Adobe Premiere Pro CC so I need speed to be able to cut through the files like butter. My internal drive on my Late 2012 Mac Mini is a standard 1TB 7200 rpm disk drive, I can playback 4K footage on it but the footage does skip frames quite a bit which can be very frustrating and when I'm editing footage in Premiere Pro I have to put the playback resolution down to 1/8th to get a smooth playback. This isn't ideal as I like to work with the best quality footage when editing. So from reading the specs this looks like an ideal drive for my work while in my office and out on location.
The first thing anybody do when they purchase a drive like this is to see how fast it can really go, well that's what I did as soon as I plugged it in and you can see the results below. To test the drive I used Black Magic Design's Disk Speed Test software as it's really good for seeing the write and read speeds of the drive and also what formats of footage it will have no problem working with. As you can see from the image this drive is incredibly fast! So fast that the dial for read speed cannot go any further! I did the test several times and for the write speed you were getting speeds of between 340-370mb per second and the read speed was between 450-480mb per second. So they weren't lying when it came to fast this thing is!
I also did a few tests seeing how fast this drive is compared to USB 2.0, 3.0 and the internal SATA drive in my Mac Mini, the results are listed below. These aren't scientific results, they are averages based on the Black Magic software and the results may differ between different hard drives and computer. I didn't test it with a SSD as i don't currently own one.
WRITE: 30mb/s READ: 35mb/s
WRITE: 75mb/s READ: 85mb/s
WRITE: 60mb/s READ: 70mb/s
My Final Thoughts
I've been using this drive for 2 weeks now and I cannot emphasise enough how amazing this drive is! I have been uploading 4K footage on it and creating timelines in Premiere Pro CC with them and they've ran really well with no lagging or skipping frames which is great when I'm trying to quickly edit footage for a client. I currently use a USB 3.0 drive as my master drive as the drive inside my Mac Mini is just not big enough, the G-Tech Pro G-Drive just blows the thing right out of the water!
Now when you first look at the price of the G-Drive Pro 4TB it may shock you at first as at the time of writing this it's £598 (price taken from Wex Photographic) which in some aspects is quite expensive for an external hard drive but if you break it down you can really see that this drive is actually a bargain! With this drive you getting close to SSD speeds due to the amazing thunderbolt cable and if you compare the cost of SSD drives to equal the same amount of hard drive space you can get with the G-DRIVE PRO. So I did a little check online to see how much it would cost to get the same amount of hard drive space with SSD's. I found the very popular Samsung EVO 1TB SSD which is retailing at £311.47 on Amazon, this drive is a little faster with transfer rates of around 500mb/s which is all well and good but if you wanted for 4TB's of these drives it would cost you £1245.88!!!! So when you look at the price that G-Technology are selling their G-DRIVE PRO at this is an absolute bargain!
So in conclusion the G-Tech G-Drive Pro is an incredible drive and it is definitely a drive I can see myself using as my master drive for my time-lapse and photography work. This drive never gives up and just constantly delivers high transfer rates which don't slow you down. One thing I really like about this drive is that it has 2 thunderbolt ports so if I want to I can daisy-chain more drives which is really handy. It also has a on and off switch which I really like as I hate drives that switch on automatically as soon as you plug them in. Overall this drive would make a great addition to any photographer/editor/filmmakers desk!
For More Info Check Out The G-DRIVE PRO on G-Technology's website: CLICK HERE
If you're thinking of purchasing one make sure to check them out on Wex Photographic: CLICK HERE