Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk 2TB review
A typical external drive combines a hard disk with a USB controller, but Seagate’s GoFlex system splits the components into two separate pluggable modules. This approach lets you upgrade the hard disk without buying a new controller, or move up to a faster interface without paying for a new disk. The standard desktop drive comes with a USB 2 connector, but here we’ve partnered it with the optional USB 3 dock.
The dock itself plugs firmly into place as you attach it, and the whole assembly is tasteful and compact – though there’s no power switch, nor anywhere to connect a lock. And it’s designed to stand upright, which makes it susceptible to being knocked over. If you lie it down, the cables and lights sit awkwardly at the corners.
The lights are cute, though. Next to the round power LED up to four strip-lights pulse while the drive is reading or writing data. It’s not only a nice visual effect, it also serves as a capacity gauge, so when the fourth light comes on you know it’s time for some housekeeping.
The GoFlex Desk isn’t the fastest performer we’ve seen, but it gave a perfectly respectable performance in our large file read and write exercises, writing at 89MB/sec and reading at 110MB/sec – average scores for a USB 3 desktop drive.
It was slower than average in the small file write test, at just 30MB/sec, but that’s still two and a half times as fast as a USB 2 drive, and in the small file read test it managed 66MB/sec – considerably faster than most USB 3 drives we’ve tried.
Of course, a large 2TB drive like this can’t be had for pocket money, especially not with a fancy USB 3 adaptor. But even when you buy the two together you’re still paying only 7.4p per gigabyte, which isn’t too far off the cost of a bare drive.
What’s more, since the dock uses standard SATA data and power connectors, you can actually slot any bare drive in and access it via USB – a handy freebie, though unsurprisingly not one that’s officially supported by Seagate.
So though the FreeAgent GoFlex Desk isn’t quite the fastest drive we’ve seen, it’s a great piece of kit, combining a stylish design, a persuasive price and more features and flexibility than any other.
|Cost per gigabyte||7.4p|
|Hard disk usable capacity||1.86TB|
|Hard disk type||Mechanical|
|Write speed small files||30.2MB/sec|
|Write speed large files||89.3MB/sec|