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G-Technology G-Raid with Thunderbolt review

New and old technologies fight it out, but the only loser is your wallet

Our Verdict

For

  • Decent speeds
  • Two Thunderbolt ports for daisy-chaining

Against

  • Really expensive
  • No Thunderbolt cable supplied

Any interface, especially a new one, is only as good as the things you can plug into it. This means that a lot of Thunderbolt's success will depend on how many desirable new products enter the market and show off its potential, and how quickly.

One of the first things you'll notice about the G-RAID with Thunderbolt isn't all the Thunderbolt-related goodness it offers, but the price. Sure, you get 4TB of drive space for your money, but costing around the £500/$700 mark, the G RAID With Thunderbolt will have to be a pretty special external hard drive to make it worthwhile for early adopters.

As Thunderbolt was originally a collaboration between Intel and Apple, the new Macbook Pros have been rocking the new ports for a while now. This means that a lot of the Thunderbolt drives on the market today come formatted for Macs. The G RAID with Thunderbolt is no exception here, so don't panic if you decide to splash the cash and nothing happens when you plug it in - you'll need to go into Computer Management, then Disk Management to format the drive and get it ready to use.

It comes with two disks, so from here you can choose to either use them as two separate hard drives, or set them up in a RAID array.

Cable news

The casing is solid, and while it doesn't look too bad, it is quite big. It can also run hot when you're using it for long periods of time.

Like any Thunderbolt product worth its salt, it comes with two ports so you can connect it to other devices in a daisy-chain. Sadly it doesn't come with a Thunderbolt cable, so you'll have to buy one before you can use it. A minor inconvenience maybe, but unlike USB, Thunderbolt hasn't been around long enough for us to have a drawer full of spare cables.

When you're already paying £500 for an external drive, not having a cable supplied is a little, well, tight.

Bolt from the blue

The real reason you might be willing to shell out this kind of money for an external drive (along with paying more for a cable and probably upgrading your motherboard to get a Thunderbolt port) is the speed. The G RAID with Thunderbolt had better be fast, right?

Well, it's certainly not slow. In our AS SSD benchmark tests the G RAID managed 143MB/s sequential write speeds and 144MB/s read, with access times of 15.6ms for read and 2.5ms for write. That's quick, but nothing spectacular considering the price. In fact, it's not much faster than USB 3.0 speeds.

The reason? It all boils down to the two hard drives inside the G RAID, which are spinning at 7,200rpm. This means that much of Thunderbolt's vaunted 10Gb/s bandwidth is all but redundant when running a single device.

The G RAID with Thunderbolt is supplied in a RAID 0 configuration for Macs, so we set it up in RAID 0 in Windows. The results were slightly better at 151MB/s write, and 153MB/s read. That said, it's still not worth the money.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDAS Array
Number of Total Expansion Bays2
Number of 3.5" Bays2
Total Hard Drive Capacity Installed8 TB
Number of Hard Drives Supported2
Number of Hard Drives Installed2
Number of 5.25" BaysNo
Number of 2.5" BaysNo
Number of 2.5"/3.5" BaysNo
Drive InterfaceSerial ATA/600
Brand NameG-Technology
Form FactorExternal
RAID Levels1, JBOD
Host InterfaceThunderbolt
Total Hard Drive Capacity Supported8 TB
Height85 mm
Width130 mm
Depth235 mm
ManufacturerHGST, A Western Digital Company
Product ModelGRATHEB80002BAB
Product NameG-RAID GRATHEB80002BAB DAS Array
Product LineG-RAID
Manufacturer Part Number0G02273
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.hgst.com
Marketing Information

Professional High-Performance Dual-Drive Storage System
G-RAID with Thunderbolt, designed specifically for professional content creation applications, features the most powerful, flexible I/O technology ever. At double the data transfer rates of USB 3.0 and over 12 times faster than Firewire 800, no other PC I/O interface can match the raw speed of Thunderbolt now available in G-Technology's leading RAID solution.

Package Contents
  • G-RAID GRATHEB80002BAB DAS Array
  • Universal AC Power Supply
  • Quick Start Install Guide
Limited Warranty3 Year
Weight (Approximate)2.27 kg