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I have a confession to make: I’m a document pack rat. In all other areas of my life I’m meticulously organized, but when it comes to files and folders, my stuff is all over the place. Digital spring-cleaning is not my forte, which is why I’ve got a bunch of portable hard drives strewn about with various data. Thankfully, Seagate’s 4TB FreeAgent GoFlex Desk will let me consolidate onto one single hard drive with enough space to back up my Mac and iOS devices and store my media files.
The 4TB GoFlex Desk is just a bit slimmer than its smaller-capacity predecessor, and has tiny LED lights on the front to let you know when room is running out. Annoyingly, the GoFlex Desk can be easily knocked over on shaky desks—not the kind of thing you want to experience with a platter-based hard drive. The drive connects via USB 3.0—it’ll work on a 2.0 port, but you won’t see any speed increase, though a $50 adapter will let you plug in using FireWire 800.
How do they pack 4TB of storage into a 6.2x4.9x1.8-inch enclosure?
The drive comes formatted as NTFS right out of the box, and Seagate provides the Paragon NTFS driver needed to use the drive interchangeably between Windows and the Mac. The only caveat is that you’ll need to always have this application running in the background to read and write to the drive. The trade off is that the drive works with virtually any machine, so data hoarders can access their files and folders from any computer—or you can reformat it with Disk Utility, of course.
Inside, there’s a standard Seagate 7200rpm hard drive with read and write speeds of 33MB/s and 40MB/s, respectively. The transfer speeds between the Mac and the drive are limited to USB 2.0 numbers, but now is as good a time as any to think about picking up a knitting habit while you wait for this drive to sync all of your data.
The bottom line. If you need a lot of backup space and can’t see yourself bothering with the convoluted nature of a RAID, the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk is the best alternative.
FreeAgent GoFlex Desk External Drive
USB 2.0, Paragon NTFS driver (included) or Disk Utility to format the drive
Massive space without setting up a RAID. Works well for folks who use both Macs and PCs.
Enclosure too narrow, which makes it prone to tipping over. FireWire 800 adapter will cost you another $50.