External hard drives have become very popular since USB 2.0 and FireWire became standard on most PCs and notebooks. Both USB 2.0 and FireWire offer decent transfer speeds, so they are well suited to external storage solutions at a more affordable price point than the traditional SCSI offerings. Add to this the fact that hard drive capacities keep increasing and prices keep dropping, and it’s easy to see why external devices have become popular for both consumer and business markets.
Of course external hard drives are easy to use, you plug them in, wait for Windows to detect the device and it appears on your computer just like any other hard drive. Considering that the average PC is shipping with at least a 120GB if not a 160GB hard drive these days there is really no other way of keeping a full backup of your PC than by using a similar sized external drive.
The Seagate device on test here is the first 100GB external hard drive to arrive at TrustedReviews which features a 2.5in disk. This means that this is a far more compact device than most external hard drives, although it can’t quite compete in terms of capacity. The hard disk inside the very stylish metal casing is rated at 5,400rpm so it won’t be as fast as the latest generation of 3.5in hard drives, but this still represents a decent turn of speed for a 2.5in drive.
Where it does compete with desktop drives is when it comes to cache memory – just like many current 3.5in drives, this one comes with an 8MB cache. Seagate also offers a 40GB version, but this only sports 2MB of cache. Of course the amount of cache probably won’t have a huge impact on performance, since the interface is always going to be the bottleneck.
As I mentioned, the drive case is very stylish looking, with air vents all around the sides – apart from the back – and there is a hidden blue light at the front that illuminates when the drive is plugged in. The case itself is made from chrome plated aluminium and Seagate claims that it’s scratch resistant. Two rubber strips at the bottom keep the drive from scratching any surface it may be placed on, but they don’t make it stick to the surface. The back of the casing is were the mini USB port is located as well as a power connector, although no power supply is provided.