MacDirectory Magazine

Spring-Summer 2010

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 138 of 147

FEA TURE REVIEW to use Time Machine, which has been built into OS X since Leopard. Time Machine is not the ideal backup system, but it has many good features, and it is the easiest to use. Which external hard drive? There are two main categories of RAID 1 external drive: (a) those that directly connect to your computer via USB, Firewire, or eSata — usually called an external drive or direct connection external drive; and (b) those that usually connect via Ethernet to your wireless router and on to your network if you have one — usually called NAS drives (Network Attached Storage). The best external, direct connection RAID 1 hard drive we have tested yet is G- Technology’s G-SAFE. This product fulfils all our requirements and does so at a reasonable price. The G-SAFE has Firewire 800, USB2 and eSata ports. A cable to convert to Firewire 400 is available. eSata is the fastest interface, but will require a special card for your dekstop or Macbook. Many new PCs have eSata built in. By contrast, Western Digital’s My Book World Edition II is a popular gigabit- Ethernet NAS with a wide range of well-thought out features. We’ll take these in turn. G-Technology, now part of Hitachi, has established itself as a storage standard bearer in Hollywood, where more money rests on a viable hard drive than anywhere else. The company’s philosophy is to make products that are substantially better built than the competition’s, but to charge no more than a 10-15 percent premium for that additional quality build. Its G-SAFE is reasonably priced at MSRP $699 for a system containing two 2-terabyte hard drives; $469 for two 1TB drives; $349 for two 500GB drives. The first thing you notice about the G-SAFE is the stylish yet solid aluminium case, inspired by Apple’s pathbreaking G5 designs. The second is the blue LCD information panel. This is a serious drive — it lets you know right up front, in plain English, what the state of your drives is. It will warn you if the enclosure overheats, or if one of the drives fails. There are also audible alarms for any condition that requires your attention. Ventilation is very important to G-Technology. The fan is always on, and the unit will alarm if it detects faults in the fan. The reason is G-Technology’s conviction that heat is the greatest avoidable enemy to hard drive reliability — and that a fan is the best defence. The G-SAFE comes Time Machine ready and configured for Macs out of the box. Plug it in, and you’re ready to go. The G-SAFE’s essential accessory To make your backups really safe, you need offsite storage. The G-SAFE makes this easy if you’re willing to splash a few extra bucks out for a module that contains an additional drive and slip-in tray. The extra module costs $230 for 2TB; $124 for 1TB; $94 for 500GB. The purpose of this third drive is to let you swap a drive in and out for offsite storage. A typical scenario goes like this. Every Friday, you remove Drive 2, and replace it with Drive 3. You then send or transport Drive 3 somewhere offsite where it will be safe in case your main location is damaged or robbed. The next week, you remove Drive 3 from the enclosure, bring it to your offsite location, and return with Drive 2. The G-RAID then automatically updates the week-old Drive 2 you’ve just returned to the system after a week in safe storage. By repeating this scenario every week, you establish a very high level of data security, which is only limited by the number of locations you’re willing to swap out spares to. Western Digital’s My Book World Edition II WD’s My Book World Edition II is also a RAID 1 drive, MSRP $599 for two 2TB drives and $319 for two 1TB drives. It is a very differently conceived product. The World II normally connects to your internet router rather than your computer, though you can connect it directly to your computer’s Ethernet port if you wish. Properly configured, you should get reasonably fast speeds, comparable to USB2, but not as fast as Firewire 800 and eSata. But if, as is more common, you will be connecting wirelessly, speeds will depend on how fast your wireless connection is. An NAS drive can never be fast as a direct attached drive. To make up for that, the MacDirectory 137

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