Review Verbatim Store`n`Go Hard Drive FW 800 & USB 3.0 for Macs 500 GB
Not only for Macs! Verbatim continuously upgrades the Store`n`go hard drive series and now offers a model with absolutely unusual connectivity. Firewire 800 and USB 3.0 should not only give the best possible performance on both systems but also help easy the data exchange between Windows and Mac OS. We checked how well this works.
The Verbatim's Store`n`Go for Macs on hand is something very special. Combining USB 3.0 and Firewire 800 in a single device, it offers a an unrivaled connectivity in comparison to other external 2.5" hard drives. Solely the adapter solution of the Seagate's GoFlex series also allows to connect the hard drive via FW 800 and USB 3.0. At the time of writing these two interfaces are first choice for connecting fast external storage devices in the two worlds (Mac OS or Windows). Although there are already some proprietary solutions that allow hooking up USB 3.0 hard drives to Macs, only a few combinations are possible. You don't need to worry about compatibility with the test model on hand. FireWire 800 is used in Macs since years and in the meanwhile USB 3.0 works reliable and fast under Windows.
Verbatim offers the test model made of plastics in white or black starting at about 90.- euro. Its size of 131 x 80 x 20 mm is typical and the weight of 210g plays to mobile use. The rigidity of the case is good, the white and silver colored surfaces are easy to clean and small scratches and finger prints are not too visible. The rear houses FireWire 800, USB 3.0, and an additional power supply (USB-2.0). All cables needed are inside the box.
Performance & Transfer Rates
Typical for a Mac specific model it comes pre-formatted in HFS+ (Mac Os Extended) format and is therewith optimized for Macs by default. So, it is Time Machine compatible without further ado and can be used for Mac Os X backups. In case you like to use the drive under Windows too, you can either format it in FAT32 (recognized by both, Mac OS and Windows), or create two additional partitions in NTFS and FAT32 format. This way, it is possible to use the ideal format under each operating system and use a FAT32 partition for data exchange.
We tested under Mac Os X 10.6.6 (HFS+) and under Windows 7 64 bit (NTFS) on a MacMini, an HP ProBook 6540b, an MSI 880 GMA E45 Mainboard, an FW 800 ExpressCard/34 from IOI, and an Icy Box USB 3.0 ExpressCard/34.
FireWire 800 (IEEE 1394b)
The performance recorded by Xbench 1.3 on the Mac reflects the current performance of FireWire 800. Just under 80 MB/s at sequential reading means that the performance limit of FireWire 800 identified by us so far is reached. The sequential write rate of 54 MB/s is clearly lower. This is not usual, as the write rates normally reach a similar level. E.g., the LaCie Quadra d2 or the Iomega Black Belt also reach a rate of 80 MB/s at writing.
CrystalDisk Mark 2.2 under Windows 7 records nearly the same values on the HP ProBook 6540b with FireWire 800 ExpressCard. In HD Tune a maximum transfer rate of 57.8 MB/s is achieved. To summarize, the recorded values are typical for Firewire 800 and clearly ahead of other the connectivity options on the Mac, i.e. FW 400 and USB 2.0. This interface is actually not interesting for Windows users, as no laptop has it on board by default and it has to be retrofitted on demand. On the Mac we did not need to use an additional USB 2.0 connection for power supply, but, this was necessary when connected to the ExpressCard.
USB 3.0/ USB 2.0
Apart from a few exceptions USB 3.0 is not available on Macs. So, the Verbatim for Mac only uses the USB 2.0 standard there. Nevertheless, the achieved results in High-Speed mode are quite respectable. It accomplishes very good 37 MB/s at sequential reading and 34 MB/s at sequential writing.
Only Windows laptops can reach full speed via USB 3.0 in Super-Speed mode. Here you can enjoy a transfer rate of 83 MB/s and nearly 80 MB/s at sequential reading and writing. This result complies to the performance of the used Toshiba MK5059 GSXP hard drive, which works at 5400 rpm and features 8 MB cache. Our detailed HDD benchmark list shows how this drive performs in comparison to other models. Again, the Mac could drive the hard disk without additional power supply, while only connecting USB 3.0 was not sufficient on the Windows computer. However, with the provided USB-2.0 cable the Store`n` worked without problem.
The Verbatim Store`n`go for Mac with FW 800 and USB 3.0 interface features ideal connectivity under both operating systems. Mac users might find the lower write performance somewhat limiting, but, otherwise the Verbatim Store`n`go with 500 GB capacity scores points. The case is stable and of good workmanship, an additional power supply ensures reliability and considering the connectivity the price of 90.- euro is still fair.