638 of 650 people found the following review helpful
Stylish product, dockable, beats my WD Passport drives,
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This review is from: Seagate FreeAgent Go 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive ST905003FGA2E1-RK (Silver) (Personal Computers)I'm a professional photographer who fills up two portable drives a year (I swap the onsite and offsite copies after each shoot). The Western Digital (WD) Passport portables I've been using, at 320 GB each, are full to the brim with all my 2008 'raw' work. Wanting to preserve the data on them, I went shopping for two more portable drives, and came across the Seagate 500 GB GO models.
You can't really go wrong with either drive (both companies offer a great five-year warranty), but I like the form factor of the Seagates a bit better (they're a fraction of an inch smaller in all dimensions but LOOK even more svelte than they are). Also, an Amazon promotion currently offers a free dock with the Seagate drives, much like an iPod dock -- just slide the device onto the connector and it mounts on your desktop. Handy and elegant. The WD drives don't have this option.
The downside to using the Seagate dock (and this is why I give this setup 4 stars, not 5) is that, for reasons I don't comprehend, it takes up TWO USB ports on your computer. Those have to be powered ports, so you can't use a non-powered USB hub (at least that doesn't work with my one-year-old iMac and my el-cheapo hub -- your mileage may vary). The alternative is buying a powered hub, OR just not using the dock, instead connecting the drive directly to a single USB port on the computer with the supplied cable.
Speaking of USB connections: Apart from the dock, another advantage of the Seagate drive over the WD Passport is that it seems more power-efficient. At least, I can use the Seagate with my aging Powerbook and a single (supplied) cable, no problems. The WD drives, on the other hand, won't mount on my Powerbook's desktop unless I purchase a special three-plug "power booster" USB cable that (again) takes up two of the machine's ports. This may be a small thing, but it's meaningful to me. With the Seagates, I can finally just slide a capacious drive into a shirt pocket or any other available small space, and use the device on the road, nothing else necessary beyond a standard mini-to-regular USB cable (supplied) -- no booster cable, no power supply.
There is also a Mac version of the Seagate drive. I inadvertently purchased the PC version but it makes zero difference, I believe: the thing works fine, no drivers needed. The Mac version contains platform-specific backup software and maybe a couple of other goodies that I don't need or won't miss.
Due to the idiosyncracies of file systems and how bits and bytes are counted in the computer industry, the usable capacity of the 500GB Seagate drive is actually just 465Gb. That 'shortcoming' goes for every drive on the market, though -- no big deal, just something to keep in mind.
The Seagate's speed is fine: on my Mac, it took just under 4 minutes to copy 5 gigs' worth of smallish files. So it's neither a speed demon nor a slowpoke.
One more thing about the dock: It comes with a nice enough black leatherette padded sleeve for the drive. That bonus really should have been packaged with the drive instead of the dock, but I'm not complaining. The Passport drives come without a case or sleeve, and I paid another 30 bucks for two Case Logic soft-side cases at the time. I will continue to use the Case Logic cases for the Seagate GO drives, because the Seagates, outfitted with their own leatherette sleeves, fit snugly inside the Case Logic clamshell design -- double protection and peace of mind.
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Showing 1-10 of 29 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 11, 2008 10:27:09 AM PST
B. Poon says:
i am wondering why seagate use that wierd two headed usb cable? for extra power perhaps? i mean it takes up all the usb ports on my macbook and i can't plug anything else. so i decided to use the usb cable that came with my nikon camera, and it's working fine. the drive power up as usual and i don't see any slowdown or errors from accessing the drive.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2008 11:06:08 PM PST
R. van Bakel says:
The two-headed USB cable is supposed to power the drive when you have it (the drive) connected to the dock. However, when I bought my second Seagate FreeAgent drive, a few days after the first arrived, the standard mini-to-regular USB cable (included with the first drive) had been replaced by the two-headed cable. I called Seagate about that and they (kinda reluctantly) agreed to ship out the standard USB cable (about a two- or three-dollar purchase otherwise). It arrived today -- no packing slip, no recognizable sender, packed with lots of foam in a box that could have held a stack of hardcover books. The most bizarre thing about the delivery was that it came by UPS and that I had to SIGN for it. OK, whatever...
You're right, the drive works fine with just the single cable, as I said in my review. The dock does require the 'double' cable.
Posted on Dec 16, 2008 7:28:02 PM PST
I just made the same mistake of purchasing the Windows XP/Vista external. And, my macbook pro won't save anything to the drive b/c it's seen as read only. How did you get yours to work on your mac? I'd love to not have to go through the trouble of sending the drive and the dock back to amazon AND paying nearly $50 more for the mac-based drive.
I wish that amazon had made it more clear in the description that this wasn't both windows and mac friendly.
Thanks in advance for any help.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2008 10:42:44 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 18, 2008 10:45:20 AM PST
R. van Bakel says:
The first GO drive I got worked fine right out of the box. With the second one, I had the same problem as you. I ended up reformatting both drives with Apple's Disk Utility (in the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder). Select the drive in the left-hand column (make sure you pick the correct one!), then click Erase. The second GO drive wouldn't allow reformatting at first but I got it to work after a few minutes, I think after simply restarting my Mac and trying again. Good luck.
Posted on Dec 29, 2008 9:19:53 AM PST
Since you're a professional photographer and seem to generate quite a bit of content, did you at all consider the Mac version of this drive? That way you would have FireWire 800 connectivity (with the drive in its dock) as compared to USB 2.0. I have a couple of Western Digital Studio drives which I take with me (one used for Time Machine and one for my media) and I have enjoyed the FireWire 400 connectivity these drives offer.
Posted on Jan 27, 2009 10:00:29 AM PST
Digital Slave says:
I second the 465 vs 500gb of actual usage. Not noted anywhere
Posted on Jan 28, 2009 7:26:46 AM PST
Regine M. Guillemin says:
Thanks for your review. I just got my Free Agent GO . it seems i am unable to install it. I connected it to my I MAC and try to install seagate manager. But it says this program cannot be run in DOS . Do you have any clue? Regine
Posted on Feb 2, 2009 6:18:49 AM PST
Yair Marx says:
i thought western digital only offered 1 year warranties?
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 3, 2009 1:14:41 PM PST
Mystic Tim says:
On your Mac run Disk Utility and format the FreeAgent Go as Mac OS Extended. The non-Mac version ships being formatted with NTSC, which the Mac OS cannot write to.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2009 1:49:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 10, 2009 1:50:49 PM PDT
I'm wondering about the usb cable it is supplied with. I have seen it described as "very short" in several reviews, however, the reviews never say how short it actually is. Is it something like 12"? I would like something 18" or so.
edit: who the heck is "disgruntled"... ?