Verbatim calls this new 2TB USB 3.0 external hard disk a ‘desktop’ drive rather than a portable one. Weighing in at 1kg, it’s a bit more than you’d really want to lug around in your bag. It also requires an external power supply, rather than being ‘host powered’ by the computer’s own USB ports – so you’ll need to be somewhere you can plug it into the wall.
That’s not so much of a big deal, though. How often have you really needed to have 2TB of storage capacity available when you’re on the move?
The drive itself looks pretty unremarkable. It comes is a fairly sturdy steel enclosure measuring To put the drive through its paces, transferred a folder of mixed files totalling just over 10GB on to and off the drive. These included video files of several GB in size, together with masses of smaller files such as MP3s. This tests the kind of read and write speeds you can expect from the drives in everyday use.
The results were fast – but nothing like as impressive as USB 3.0’s specs claim. Our 10GB files copied on to the drive in 2mins 23s, and back off again in 2m 22. That’s a data rate of around 70MB/s, or 560 Mbit/s – still faster than the theoretical 480Mbit/s maximum of USB 2.0, but nine times slower than the claimed 4.8Gbit/s of USB3.0.
To see what performance benefit we got out of USB 3.0, we tested the drive again using our PC’s standard USB 2.0 ports. This time the files took 6min 16s to copy on, slightly less to transfer back off – rate of around 26MB/s, or 208Mbit/s. So in practical terms, you’re looking at a drive that works just under three times faster than USB 2.0.
For quick and easy backup, Nero BackItUp and Burn Essentials are provided on the hard disk itself.
Also included on the drive is its ‘Green Button’ power-saving software. This offers three ‘sleep’ settings. Double-clicking the Green Button icon forces the drive to suspend immediately, saving energy by stopping the disk inside from spinning. You can also set it to go into a suspended state after an interval of between ten and 120 minutes, or opt never to allow it to enter the power-saving mode.
Retailing at around £100, this external hard disk works out at a remarkably cheap 5p per gigabyte. And though it may not be as fast as USB 3.0’s headline specs might suggest, it’s still more than quick enough for most backup needs. It may not be particularly stylish, but it’s solidly built. Add in some handy backup software and an excellent two-year warranty, and it all adds up to very good deal. Just remember to add the cost of a USB 3.0 card if you don’t already have one.