New Seagate GoFlex Drives Are Upgradeable


Portable hard drives are everywhere these days. Everyone has one, and most people are looking for something with greater capacity. One deterrent to purchases, though, is that interfaces keep changing as faster ones come to market. Happily, Seagate’s GoFlex portable hard drives feature a standard USB 2.0 interface, but can be upgraded later on.


The USB 2.0 interface is about the most ubiquitous interface ever. It’s more or less universal, especially on recent computers and peripherals. But interfaces come and go, and USB 2.0’s days are probably numbered. That’s because USB 3.0 is starting to appear on new computers and peripherals.


If you’re hesitant to purchase a portable hard drive with a USB 2.0 interface because you see faster interfaces on the horizon, you don’t have to hold off any longer. Seagate’s FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive comes with a USB 2.0 interface, but optional interface cables allow you to add USB 3.0, FireWire 800 or eSATA connectivity whenever you need it—whether it’s today or a year from now.


For comparison purposes, let’s examine the maximum throughput speed of each type of interface. Remember that these are theoretical maximums, which are much faster than what you see in real-world use. USB 2.0 is limited to 480 Mbps (megabits per second), or 60 MBps (megabytes per second), while USB 3.0 tops out at 4.8 Gbps (gigabits per second), or 614 MBps. FireWire 400 provides 400 Mbps throughput, or 50 MBps, while FireWire 800 doubles the throughput to 800 Mbps, or 100 MBps. eSATA provides 3 Gbps, or 384 MBps. So, in theory anyway, FireWire 400 is the slowest, followed by USB 2.0, FireWire 800, eSATA, and USB 3.0.


B&H carries the 500GB FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive in red, blue, silver and black. The drive is pre-loaded with backup and encryption software; the Seagate Dashboard management tool makes it easy to schedule backups, encrypt files and check drive statistics.


I recently bought a 1TB external drive with a USB 2.0 interface because my data had outgrown my older drive. Unfortunately, I didn’t buy a GoFlex drive, because if I did, I would doubtless enjoy faster transfer rates when I buy my next computer, which will likely feature a USB 3.0 interface.

Discussion 3

Add new comment

Add comment Cancel

The GoFlex line of drives are both MAC and PC compatible right out of the box. There is a preloaded driver that sits on the drive, so it can be used with PC or MAC without any formatting changes. In addition, the basic drives have a USB cable, but if someone wants to use firewire or USB 3.0, E-sata etc...they can simply connect one of the accessory (upgrade) cables and the drive works seemless. This way you get the true performance of these faster interfaces, without having to buy a new drive every time a new interface is launched. If you want to move from one interface to another (eg; USB 2.0 to say USB 3.0), it's inexpensive and easy.

With an exception here or there, pretty much every hard drive on the market is Mac compatible -- many come pre-formatted for Windows. A quick trip to Disk Utility (in the 'Utilities' folder in Applications) will allow you to reformat the disk for use with OS X.

Now, any extra software or the like, that may be Windows only... but for simple storage -- a drive, is a drive, is a drive.

Are these drives Mac compatible?