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Issue: February 1, 2011

Review: G-Technology's G-Drive Slim

By: Brady Betzel

PRODUCT: G-Tech’s G-Drive Slim

WEBSITE: www.g-technology.com

PRICE: $99

- Finely crafted, sleek appearance

- Ultra-thin and portable

- Convenience of power and data transfer through one cable

A bleeding-edge design concept and a flashy front end have become the backbone of many products in today’s technologically-advancing market. The days of ugly exteriors with the muscles of a 454 Chevelle SS are showing up in our rear-view mirror more than ever before. The bottom line is that flashy and sexy equipment sells — looking at you Apple.

G-Technologies is continuing its lunge into the future with the sleek, sexy and powerful G-Drive Slim. G-Tech’s history speaks for itself with nothing but eye-popping, ultra-durable external hard drives, including their G-Speed, G-RAID and G-RAID Mini lines.

HARDWARE 

With an eye on design and next-level performance, G-Technologies by Hitachi have developed another game-changing innovation by incorporating the ultra-minimal 7mm thin Hitachi Travelstar Z5K320 and Z5K500 hard drives (depending on storage size of 320GB and 500GB, respectively) combined with the beauty of a silver enclosure incorporating sleek lines and a lightweight body. The Travelstar takes advantage of a SATA 3Gb/s interface paired with the 5400RPM rotational speed, and an 8MB data buffer. 

The G-Drive Slim harnesses the USB 2.0 external connection function of transfer and power in one cable eliminating the need for a separate power cable, giving the user super-mobility when compared with the old standard “mobile” external hard drives requiring separate power and USB connection cables. Now when I sit at Starbucks and crank out edits I am not “that guy” who slings power cables, bags, FireWire and USB cables over the table and chairs, and then takes an hour to pack up. There is one cable to unplug with the G-Drive Slim hard drive and I am on my way. 

The G-Drive Slim incorporates Hitachi’s newest one-disc, 7mm thin z-height hard drive. With the industry standard 2.5-inch width drives usually having a 9.5mm thick z-height, the G-Drive Slim’s 7mm ultra-thin z-height is immediately noticeable. The first highly critical scientific study performed on the G-Drive Slim started by sticking the drive in my pocket and walking around; it is thinner and lighter than an iPhone. Immediately after completing the pocket-walking test, I placed the hard drive next to a MacBook Air — the G-Drive Slim is an identical twin to the MacBook Air. It looks as if you would have purchased it with the MacBook Air because of its thin frame and sleek brushed aluminum look. In fact, people often ask where they can find the beautiful drive and how it is thinner than their “mobile” hard drive. Luckily, Hitachi has given an answer to a thinner, quieter drive with its Travelstar Z5K320/500 series 7mm z-height hard drives. 

MULTIPLE OS? NO PROBLEM!

Moving on to the software compatibility, the G-Drive Slim is immediately recognized in OS X via the USB 2.0 connection, and instead of the standard hard drive logo landing on the desktop, a sleek and stylish G-Drive Slim icon pops up. I am immediately prompted with the question of whether or not I want to use this drive as a Time Machine backup, I click yes, and 45 minutes later I have done a 80.38GB Time Machine backup of my MacBook Pro to the Slim G-Drive. 

As soon as I am done creating a new backup, I immediately begin to load 10 43-minute long XDCAM 50Mb proxy video files to be used with Avid Media Composer 5.0 on a machine running Windows 7. Even though the G-Drive Slim is conveniently formatted for a Mac right out of the box it can easily be formatted to a PC flavor with the click of a button or used in conjunction with a program such as MacDrive in a multiple operating system environment. The drive is quickly ejected from the MacBook Pro and connected to my Windows 7 machine using MacDrive to recognize the Mac formatted drive. Within seconds, the drive installs itself in the Windows 7 operating system and with Avid Media Composer running I am able to link to the AMA volumes I have transferred to the drive.  

When using the Media Composer’s Link to AMA feature, the G-Drive Slim performs flawlessly. With little lag from the 7mm Travelstar G-Drive Slim, I was able to play back multiple XDCAM 50 Proxy files smoothly with no discernable heat or sound from the physical Hitachi Travelstar drive. The surprisingly low-level sound output from the G-Drive Slim is a huge feature for me, when working in a creative environment that requires little interruption; the lack of noise pollution is just one less distracting sound — no clicks, beeps or zings.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The G-Tech Slim has a substantial lead in style and usability compared to its competitors. From the rounded corners to the lightly brushed aluminum casing, the G-Drive Slim can withstand the pressures of over 100GB of Long-GOP XDCAM 50 media being played in Media Composer while also using the drive as a Time Machine backup in OS X, backing up over 80GB of data with little heat dissipation combined with a low level sound. If you have any environmental concerns, Hitachi can relieve your fears with its low-power consumption and a Halogen-free production environment.

If you are looking for an external drive that has a modern style, you would have a hard time finding anything classier than the G-Drive Slim. It’s so small you may even forget it’s in your pocket. When working in a post environment that requires the flexibility of multiple  operating systems working together, G-Tech proves to be at the forefront with its performance, style and reliability thanks to its external storage solutions.