One of the problems with choosing external hard drives is figuring out what connection interface you need today (Firewire? USB 2?) and what connection interfaces you might need in a few months or a year (eSATA? USB 3?). Seagate is looking to take some of the guesswork out of the decision with its new FreeAgent GoFlex drives—available in ultraportable and desktop configurations featuring interface adapters that let users change the connection interface on the drive whenever they want for the best in future-proofing and OS compatibility.
“The GoFlex family of storage products [delivers] simple, USB 2.0 storage and backup devices, with the flexibility to adapt as interface technology advances by using the various GoFlex cables and accessories to access content stored on the same drive,” said Seagate Sales VP Dave Mosley, in a statement.
The GoFlex and GoFlex Pro drives sport USB 2.0 interfaces, but can be adapted to USB 3.0, eSATA, of FireWire 800 via Seagate’s GoFlex cable system. Seagate is also expanding on the idea of building functionality into these cable adapters, with a “GoFlex Upgrade cable – Auto Backup” that converts a GoFlex drive into a continuous automatic backup system.
Capacities on the GoFlex drives range from 320 GB all the way up to 2 GB for the desktop units. Pricing starts at $99 for the 320 GB ultra-portables (they max out at $199 for a 1TB model), while desktop units are $119 for 1 TB model and $189 for a 2 TB unit. However, the adapters might be where Seagate is looking to make its money: a USB 3.0 adapter runs $29.99, a USB 3.0 adapter with ExpressCard USB 3.0 interface is $79.99, a FireWire 800 cable is $39.99, and the eSATA cable is $19.99. However, that continuous backup cable is only $29.99.
Also in a bid to make their drives more cross-platform savvy, Seagate is including an NTFS drive for Mac OS X on all the GoFlex drives: Mac users can install the NTFS driver and read and write from the Windows-based NTFS file system as it were Mac native. However, folks planning to use the drives exclusively with Macs would still probably be better off reformatting with Mac OS Extended format.
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