By David Sparks:
With the ever increasing sizes of media files, data files, and Time Machine backups, external storage is becoming a necessity for all Mac owners. This year at Macworld I met with the people from G-Technology concerning their G-Safe drives and they were nice enough to loan me one for a little while for a closer look.
The G-Safe is a self enclosed two drive Raid array. Like all G-Technology products, it is built, well, like a Mac. The case is rugged aluminum and the power supply is built-in. The name “G-Safe” is not clever marketing. This thing is built like a tank. No cheap molded plastic here. It includes FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 connectivity. With the right cable, it will work via FireWire 400. It also includes G-Technology’s 3-year warranty.
Inside are two drives up to 7200 rpm set up in a RAID 1 configuration. That means anything you put on Drive 1 automatically gets copied to Drive 2. Effortless redundancy. If either drive fails, you are already covered. If one drive fails and you replace it, the system rebuilds the backup.
I have to admit that when it comes to back ups, I’m paranoid. This product is, therefore, perfect for me. I know my files are not backed up once, but twice with no extra work. This is useful for any critical data. Obvious examples include iPhoto and Aperture libraries, critical documents, and family video files. If you share my paranoia, this is also perfect for a Time Machine backup. Think about it. In order to lose your critical data, your internal and two external drives would have to all fail.
The G-Safe delivered exactly as promised. Installation was simple and it comes pre-formated for Mac. Let me state that again. It comes pre-formated for the Mac. You’ve just got to love those guys at G-Technology.
I have a few quibles with the G-Safe. When the fans and drives all run at the same time, it can get pretty noisy. Perhaps a quieter fan would help, but this unit is more about data security than being whisper quiet. A nother issue is that you must buy replacement drives from G-Technology. While G-Technology’s prices are about right, it would be more convenient if you could use any drive as a replacement. Since the device comes preloaded with drives, this is not as big of a deal as it first sounds.
An obvious question is how this device compares to the omni-present Drobo. The G-Safe seems sturdier than the Drobo but doesn’t expand as much or as easily as the Drobo. On the question of price, there is no comparison. You can get the G-Safe with 500 GB of storage for $20 less than the cost of the Drobo alone with no drives. Regardless, a case could be made for both of these units and I think it comes down to specific needs. For instance, if you just wanted a duplicated Time Machine or had a relatively set amount of data, the G-Safe is probably the right choice. If you want something that can easily expand over time, you should look at the Drobo.
The G-Safe includes G-Technology’s 3-year warranty and the price ranges from $479 for 500GB up to $879 for 1.5TB. There are cheaper solutions but in my opinion, the extra value is worth it. If you are looking for a safe, reliable place for your important data, The G-Safe may be right for you.