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G-Technology's G-Drive mini SSD 120GB

Solid State Drives arrives By John Virata

When I first reviewed an 8MB flash based USB thumb drive from M-Systems and IBM back in 2001, I was astounded at its durability. I dropped the device, went surf fishing with it and got it wet, and basically abused it until the plastic casing came off and all that was left was the storage module and the USB arm. It still works today, but at 8MB, it has since been replaced by several drives at varying capacities. Today, I have a 2GB Kingston model that I use daily. In 2004, I interviewed Woody Hutsell of Texas Memory Systems, a company that has been building Solid State Disk based storage devices for years. Mr. Hutsell gave me a glimpse of where data storage can go, but still pointed out back then that a 73GB Solid State Disk drive would cost upward of $100,000. Five years ago who would adopt such a technology when traditional Winchester based hard disk drives were running about $1 per gigabyte? Flash forward (no pun intended) to today, and SSD-based hard drives are here now.

G-Technology, a purveyor of high end storage devices for the creative community (video and audio editors, digital media creators, etc.) is currently offering a line of SSD-based hard drives for the creative professional market. Housed in the same enclosure as its G-Drive mini, the G-Drive SSD uses Solid State Drive technology instead of traditional Winchester hard drive technology that has been the norm for decades.

G-Drive mini SSD


As with the G-Drive mini, the G-Drive mini SSD features a triple interface, with support for FireWire 400, 800, and USB 2.0. It currently comes in 120GB and 250GB and are priced at $599 and $1299. Since the device is bus powered, no AC adapter is required to run this drive. The G-Drive SSD comes formatted for the Macintosh operating system and is Time Machine capable right out of the box. It can also be initialized to run on the Windows OS. So how is the performance?

The chart below details some basic tests writing files to the drive from a 320GB, 7200 RPM hard drive in a 2.2GHz MacBook Pro.

G-Drive mini 120GB SSD Test Results    100MB   1GB 10GB  
FireWire 400  3.3 sec   28.4 sec   4.5 min  
FireWire 800   2.5 sec   17.85 sec   2.3 min  
USB 2.0   4.7 sec   42.5 sec  7.58 min  

Who can benefit from the G-Drive mini SSD today? At the current pricing, this drive is obviously targeted at the professional who needs to offload content to a reliable device. In the field editors and camera operators come to mind. Considering that the Red Camera Company offers a 128GB SSD based hard drive for only $4,500, it might make sense to at least investigate what G-Tech has to offer and how the G-Drive mini might fit into your production workflow. While the RED camera can record directly to the RED RAM drive, G-Tech's G-Drive mini SSD might be better served as a device that can be used to offload captured HD footage. For those who need a RAID 0 device, G-Tech also offers the G-RAID mini, which the company claims can playback "five simultaneous ProRes 422 HQ streams and a single stream of uncompressed HD when attached via eSATA." The G-RAID mini is more suited to video camera operators and video editors in a professional environment than the G-Drive mini.

First Impressions
For those who need a mission critical, virtually bomb proof storage solution with little chance of crashing, the G-Drive mini SSD is an ideal solution that will do the job. if you are working with the higher end HD cameras, take a look at the G-RAID mini SSD devices. These are more tuned to the professional and G-Tech's website has some impressive claims with regard to HD playback, data mirroring, and RAID 0 performance. The G-Drive mini SSD is still a bit costly at $599 for 120GB, but a heck of a lot cheaper than $100,000 for 73GB just five years ago. It comes with a three year warranty. For more information, visit www.g-technology.com.


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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at jvirata@digitalmedianet.com
Related Keywords:solid state drives, SSD, solid state storage, Flash memory

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