G-Technology G-SAFE Drive Review

Looking for a fast and reliable drive? G-Technology sent us a review sample of the G-SAFE 2TB drive and to say the least, it’s a speed demon that provides a great backup strategy on the cheap.

About The Drive

G-Technology’s G-SAFE drive is for those who are serious about backups yet want the speed that comes with a fast drive coupled with a FireWire 800 connection. After using the G-SAFE extensively with Final Cut Pro and Time Machine I’m more than happy to say it delivers on both fronts.

The drive comes pre-formatted for Mac OS X but can be formatted for use with a PC. The G-SAFE sports a basic display that shows each drives status and will alert you to any potential failures

The G-SAFE is comprised of two RAID 1 drives packed in to a clean aluminum enclosure that wouldn’t look out of place amongst your Apple products. the unit I review uses two Terabyte drives in a RAID 1 array to create a real time backup of all your data. On the connectivity side is a pair of FireWire 800 ports, one 3Gb SATA connection and a USB 2.0 connector to play nice with every device. Either drive can be ejected and swapped out very quickly and is simple to do. If your backup plan requires having an offsite drive that has an exactly replica of on an onsite backup, the G-SAFE will fit nicely into your backup procedure.

Using The Drive


I put the G-SAFE to the test: does it keep up with data intensive programs and can it pull double duty as a Time Machine backup?

I was itching to integrate the G-SAFE into a Final Cut Pro8 workflow to test its speed. I have about 220 GB of High and Standard Definition footage being used in a multicam edit. The biggest bottle necks in these types of setups are the external drive speeds and the computer itself. I have 6 high definition sources being used (HDV at 20 Mbps) and alternate between a 13-inch MacBook Pro (Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz) and a 27-inch iMac (2.8GHz Core i5 iMac). The G-Safe drive was more than able to keep up as no settings had to be lowered for multiclip playback in Final Cut Pro. The MacBook Pro on the other hand had trouble digesting all the footage. Lowering the playback settings on the MacBook Pro allowed the machine to keep up wit the G-Safe.

Copying all of this footage took roughly an hour and a half which is a testament of the G-SAFE’s fast drive speeds. Time Machine on the other hand wasn’t able to saturate the G-SAFE’s speeds. The backup process is more processor intensive than speed hungry so times will vary across different Macs. However, I was able to run Final Cut Pro and Time Machine simultaneously on the 27-inch iMac without running in to bandwidth issues.

Issues

While the G-SAFE worked well with Final Cut Pro and mirroring data, I did run into some issues.

First off the fan and drives are loud. They’re not ear shattering loud but enough for you to take notice and second guess what’s making such as loud sound. The fan itself is louder than both drives and while it keeps the enclosure free of heat, you might be annoyed at how efficient it is at cycling out warm air. However it is easy to lose track of the fan and dismiss it amongst the ambient noise of your computer or other electronics.

Another issue I ran into and one I’m not entirely sure is the G-Safe’s fault or not. The drive allows you to daisy chain a second Firewire 800 device which means you can connect another hard drive using only one FireWire connection from your computer. Connecting a LaCie Rugged 500 GB Drive worked perfectly for a few minutes until both the LaCie drive and G-Safe would unmount themselves. This issue only occurred when the LaCie drive was plugged in to the G-Safe which led to instant unmounting. However, I suspect the problem may lie in the LaCie drive.

Final Verdict

Would I recommend this drive? Definitely – it’s fast! The G-Safe combines reliability and speed in one beautiful (albeit noisy) package. Time Machine backups and data intensive tasks are no problem for the G-Safe and can fit into workflow from backup to video editing.

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