G-Drive Mini SSD review
Solid-state drives are still very expensive, but they do have advantages. Unlike conventional hard disk mechanisms, SSD drives have no moving parts, so they’re extremely reliable and less prone to damage if they get knocked about a bit.
Like many of its storage products, G-Tech's G-Drive Mini is aimed at professional users, such as photographers and video editors, who are prepared to pay a bit more for a rugged and reliable portable drive that will protect their important work files. Our review unit had 120GB storage capacity and costs a hefty £493.35, and there’s a 250GB model that comes in at just over £1,000. If you want to go all out for ultra-reliability there’s even an SSD RAID model, with prices ranging from £1,000-£2,000.
The G-Drive Mini has the same perforated aluminium design as G-Tech’s larger desktop drives, but it measures just 5in deep, 3.2in wide and less than 1in high, and weighs a mere 250g. We’ve seen smaller portable hard drives, but the G-Drive Mini is still small and light enough to slip into a backpack or jacket pocket when you’re ready to hit the road. It could probably have been made even smaller, but G-Tech has chosen to equip the drive with three separate interfaces – USB 2.0, and both FireWire 400 and 800 – so it had to make room for those.
Those interface options are important, since anyone likely to buy an expensive drive such as this will almost certainly be using it with a MacBook Pro or Mac Pro and will want the maximum speed available from their Mac’s FireWire interfaces. We ran some tests one the G-Drive Mini, and when copying files from a Mac onto the drive its three interfaces all provided performance that was comparable to that of a conventional hard disk equipped with the same USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 and 800 interfaces. However, SSD drives also provide better ‘seek’ times for locating and opening files on the drive (as they don’t have to wait for the drive mechanism to ‘spin up’ to full speed), and data transfer speeds when using the FireWire 800 interface to copy files back onto our Mac were almost 40 per cent higher.
The high cost of SSD drives means that the G-Drive Mini obviously won’t appeal to everyone. However, it might be worth considering for professional users who need a reliable, high-performance drive that will earn its keep when they’re out on a shoot.