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New Drives from Iomega, Seagate, Apricorn and ClickFree

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Category: Hardware Published on Saturday, 23 April 2011

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard (Drive) Place 

For some reason, I find myself buried in hard drives, ranging from hefty two- and three-terabyte units to portable, pocket-sized drives that you can pack into your laptop case. And, caught in between are drives that will not only back up your data in a flash, but also keep it secure from the prying eyes of snoopy relatives and coworkers.

The advent of the 64-bit laptop and PC has opened the doors to hard drives that can hold an infinite amount of data. Among those are the Iomega eGo 2TB Desktop Hard Drive ($169.99) and Seagate's FreeAgent GoFlex Desk 3TB hard drive ($169.99).

The Iomega drive is designed to run on computers equipped with USB 3.0 technology, which allows the drive to save and retrieve data 10 times faster than those using USB 2.0. Fortunately the folks at Iomega were good enough to send me a USB 3.0 ExpressCard Adapter ($39.99), so I could upgrade my computer to put the drive through its paces.

I had it back up all of the files on my computer and external drives and this speed demon accomplished the task in a fraction of the time it would have taken one of my older drives.

Among its key features are:

  • It's plug and play. Just attach the drive to a USB 3.0 port and it's ready to go.
  • It comes with a download link to the Iomega Protection Suite, which includes free anti-virus and backup software.
  • A metal enclosure and stand.
  • A three-year limited warranty that can be extended when you register the drive with Iomega.

The 3TB Seagate drive gives you a bit more memory for the buck. The one I played with had a USB 2.0 adapter, which made it a lot slower than the eGo, but it's easily upgradeable with the purchase of a USB 3.0 Desktop Adapter ($39.99).

Its key features include:

  • An NTFS driver for Mac, which allows you to simultaneously store and access files for PCs and Macs without reformatting the drive.
  • It's plug and play.
  • It comes preloaded with backup and encryption software.
  • The USB 2.0 and 3.0 adapters have an LED gauge that shows you approximately how much space is left on the drive.
  • A two-year limited warranty.

The only drawback to using these high-capacity hard drives is that they may not be compatible with the BIOS in older 64-bit computers, causing the system to hang on boot-up. The solution is simple: Turn off or disconnect the drive, boot up your system and then turn the drive on.

If your aim is to protect data and secure it from prying eyes, you'll want to check out two external drives from Apricorn.

The Apricorn Aegis Bio 500 GB drive ($137) and Aegis Padlock 750 GB Secure Hard Drive ($199) are designed to keep private data private.

The Aegis Bio uses a TouchStrip sensor to read your fingerprint and give you access to what's on the drive. I've played with other security devices of this type and, frankly, the fingerprint technology was inconsistent at best, often resulting in loss of access to the device.

Not so, with the Bio. I tested it with wet fingers, greasy fingers and even dirt-caked fingers and it worked every time.

In addition, the drive encrypts your data using 128-bit AES encryption, an integrated USB 2.0 cable and a Password Bank that remembers passwords to all of your websites, etc.

The Padlock, is exactly what it says: You have to key in a passcode on its number pad to gain access to the data.

It has all of the key features of the Bio plus the ability to remember up to 10 passcodes; 128 or 256-bit AES encryption (depending on the model you purchase and a three-year limited warranty.

The only drawback is the integrated cable. It's short. So short, in fact, that it wasn't able to reach the USB port on my PC while sitting on my desk. The solution, of course, is to have the drives sit next to the computer.

The new 500 GB ClickFree C2 Portable USB 3.0 Backup Drive ($119.99) is designed to back up data on networks and individual PCs.

As with its predecessors, the drive automatically backs up the data on any computer as soon as it's attached to the USB port. And it's fast!

This small drive is backwards compatible, so it can run on using USB 2.0 and 3.0 and it's compatible with PCs and Macs.

Other features include:

  • Smart backup, which automatically backs up your computer.
  • Smart Migration, which allows you to migrate your files to different operating systems.
  • Music Manager, which allows you to share your playlists with your iPod, iPad and iPhone.
  • CD/DVD Archiving, which allows you to create backup disks. It also includes a photo viewer and restore migration.
  • Smart Restore, which uses a simple interface to restore backed up files to your computer.
  • Smart Viewer that gives you access to all of your backed up data.

Last, but not least, we have two portable drives from Seagate: The 320 GB GoFlex Slim ($99) and the 500 GB FreeAgent Go ($119).

The GoFlex Slim is a super-thin portable drive that connects to your laptop using a USB 3.0 adapter and cable. As with its big brother, it is backwards compatible so it can work on laptops, PCs or Macs with USB 2.0 interfaces.

The drive comes preloaded with backup and encryption software and, because it uses the same NFTS technology as the GoFlex Desk, you can back up PC and Mac files without reformatting. It also comes with a USB 3.0 cable and a three-year limited warranty.

The FreeAgent Go is a bit bigger than the GoFlex Slim, but is still small enough to tuck into a small corner of your laptop case.

This drive comes preloaded with automatic backup and encryption software and Muvee movie-making software that allows you to work with photos and video files. There's also syncing software that allows you to sync data between computers.

More information on these hard drives can be found at www.iomega.com, www.seagate.com, www.apricorn.com and buy.goclickfree.com.

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