funkyfresh computers and accessories

G-DRIVE 2TB External Drive Review

The G-DRIVE is a 7200RPM hard drive packaged in an attractive aluminum case / heat sink with USB 3.0 and Firewire 400/800 connectivity. We love most everything about the design except the incredibly cheap power supply. The wall wart doesn’t do this product justice.

We’re currently working on a project with about 500GB worth of files that we needed to transfer to a vendor for additional work. The 2TB G-DRIVE was a good choice for the project. It had enough space to get things started and adding additional files and master edits won’t be an issue. It’s also helpful that the 7200 RPM drive is fast enough to preview with and even work on directly without having to move the entire data set on and off the drive. Plus with USB 3.0 and Firewire connections it drops right in to any PC or Mac NLE. We would like to see eSATA on the back panel too but this will be less of issue as USB 3.0 becomes more common.

The G-DRIVE comes formatted for the Mac OS and that’s fine. We typically run Mac Drive on our PCs to access Mac disks when we need to and many of our vendors still edit on Macs so reformatting the drive wasn’t an issue.

The G-DRIVE features a big white light under the G on the front chassis that we find incredibly annoying. We just don’t need that much blinking light in an edit suite to know the drive is working. The product team should update this with a more subtle ice blue LED. We’d advise testing this in a fairly dark edit suite environment where a little bit of blinking light goes a long way.

We’re glad we finally got our hands on a G-DRIVE. It’s a solid, quiet design with good connectivity. The G-DRIVE worked great with our editing programs and we passed it around to a couple of vendors without any issues. That’s basically what we need and expect from an external hard drive.

Next, we want to see some SSD based solutions with integrated power supplies and Thunderbolt connectivity. It’s about to get crazy with external designs for creative work and we can’t wait.


Visit G-Technology for more information.

Dell T7600 Workstation Review

Dell does a good job of making quiet powerful workstations. The T7600 is the flagship of Dell’s workstation lineup targeted at professional users. It’s smaller and lighter than the previous T7500. However, the case is less spacious and we’re not entirely sold on the new industrial design.

Dell T7600 promotional video touts the design of its latest workstation which is very modular and clean. We like the built in handles and removable power supply. However, we prefer horizontal orientation for our optical drives. The compartment for HDDs/SSDs makes it easy to swap drives in and out but the release mechanism is a bit flimsy and could easily be broken.

Also the front cover is not on hinges and takes more time than it should to replace. We find it much simpler to just pop the side off of our T7500 and swap drives in and out.

Performance wise the T7600 is a great machine for video editing and it’s very quiet. Dell has really mastered the art of cooling and airflow with large fans and efficient designs. You can have the T7600 right next to you under a desk and barely notice it’s there.

Overall, the T7600 didn’t have quite the quality feel we were expecting. It’s like that “soft-touch” experience you expect from today’s new cars. Not a huge deal, it just feels less expensive than the price tag, which adds up quickly. However, what puts Dell on our list every time we consider a new workstation is the combination of computing power and acoustic performance. The T7600 is one powerful church mouse of a workstation.

HighPoint Rocket 640L Review

The HighPoint Rocket 640L low profile SATA III RAID controller offers 4 SATA ports and is a good choice for adding 6.0Gb/s performance to desktops and workstations to benefit from faster performing drives.

We tested the 640L in a Supermicro 7046A-3 workstation that needed to be upgraded to SATA III in order to take advantage of faster HDD and SSD products. The hot swap feature is a must for this workstation that features 8 easily accessible drive bays on the front of the case. The Rocket 640l worked well in this scenario.  It's so nice to be able to simply pop drives in and out of the system without having to power down to do the swap.

Installation requires a little effort and could be more seamless. It's not true plug-n-play in Windows 7 but it's not difficult either. The documentation is just plain bad.  HighPoint has the latest firmware and drivers ready for download on its website which we highly recommend. The card comes with a set of SATA cables and brackets for full size and low profile installations. The ports on the card are easy to get to provided the workstation isn't fully populated with other cards. 

Performance was noticeably faster than the onboard SATA II controller and resulted in an overall better experience especially for applications that push the I/O bottlenecks such as video and other creative work.   So if you have SATA III drives in a system that doesn't support them the HighPoint Rocket 640L is a good benchmark for entry level performance.

We primarily used the 640L to provide 4 discrete SATA III ports and did not test its RAID capabilities. For our purposes, adding 4 hot swappable SATA III bays to our system was well worth the current street price of about $70 for the HighPoint Rocket 640L.

Visit HighPoint for more information.

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