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Seagate GoFlex Desk External Drive with Flexible Interface

I just did a Google search for "You can never have enough...", and the top responses were "...hats, gloves and shoes" (from the TV show Absolutely Fabulous), "...cowbell" (from Saturday Night Live -- look it up), and the more prosaic / inspirational "... of what you don't need."

Of course, I was looking for the answer "storage," which further searches seems to apply mostly to space around the house, though I was thinking more in terms of gigabytes and terabytes.

Storage is on my mind because I've been pushing a lot of files this year -- video, audio, and lots and lots of data -- and need a way to be able to take it on the road when necessary.

And Seagate has stepped up with the Seagate GoFlex Desk External Drive with capacity up to a ridiculous 4 TB, in a desktop size (6 1/4 x 4 9/10 x 1 3/4 in., 2 1/3 lbs.)

With today's street pricing, you can get 1 TB of storage for around $90, 2 TB for $110, 3 TB for $160, and the full 4 TB for $220.

The GoFlex drive features an illuminated capacity gauge and backup software with encryption.

But the key feature is the flexible interface, part of the Seagate GoFlex Storage System with interchangeable cables and desktop adapters.

Because once you do get enough storage (at least for the moment), you then discover that you never can have enough bandwidth either, to access all those large files on the disk.

With the USB 2.0 interface on your current system, copying gigabytes of data can seem to take forever, while the new USB 3.0 interface promises up to 10X faster data transfer (or more like 4X in current practice -- see below).

So maybe it makes sense to invest in a huge new USB 3.0 drive, plus a PC card adapter for your laptop, so you can run faster now, and feel pretty comfortable that your next Windows system will support USB 3.0. But you may already have legacy FireWire 800 drives and a compatible interface on your system. Or your company may already have invested in eSATA for large external drives.

The Seagate GoFlex System resolves these connection uncertainties with swappable adapters for the drives, so the same external drive can connect to different systems with different interfaces.

After all, you don't want to build up 4 TB of important, well-organized files, and then discover that the disk interface is no longer compatible when you upgrade, or cannot be shared with other systems. It seems you can never have enough interfaces as well.

See my earlier article on USB 3.0 in Videomaker magazine.

See my Portable Storage Gallery for more on portable drives, from keys to desktop drives.

Find the Seagate GoFlex Desk Drive on Amazon.com

More on USB 2.0 / 3.0 data rates:

The specified maximum data rates for USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 jumped from 480 Mbps to 5 Gbps (that's specified in bits per second).

In practice, I typically see 10 MBps over USB 2.0 for portable drives, and more like 40 - 50 MBps with desktop USB 3.0 drives, which is a really, really noticeable difference (that's measured in Bytes per second).

For example, to copy 30 GB of files, USB 2.0 takes an terribly long 50 minutes, while USB 3.0 takes a more bearable 12 minutes.

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