Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Slim – Review

STBE500100

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Slim 500 GB USB 3.0 Performance External Hard Drive (STBE500100)

This review is for the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Slim 500 GB USB 3.0 Performance External Hard Drive.

My previous favorite go-to backup drive was the Buffalo Technology MiniStation Stealth 500 GB. Was. Now, I have a new go-to drive with the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Slim. I did not think a new drive would replace the MiniStation for a while, and I am pleasantly surprised with the GoFlex Slim performance.

First of all, the slim form-factor is eye-catching: It is slightly wider and taller, which doesn’t really bother me, but the significant difference is that it is half the thickness than the MiniStation. It reminds me of a thin android phone (like the Razr) but without the screen and the bump on top. I can actually keep it in my shirt pocket without weighing it down like my other portable drives. On one occasion I forgot that I had the drive in my rear pants pocket all day, and the drive was able to withstand the constant sitting-shifting-standing all day. I didn’t realize I had it until the end of the day when I was ready to backup my work onto the drive. I was worried I damaged it, but I plugged it in and it was ready to rock and roll! Amazing!

The unit came pre-formatted as NTFS. It came with Seagate Dashboard, which I didn’t really care much for (I moved the setup files and folders in another folder in the drive), since I use my own backup script using robocopy, which has worked successfully for me. Because it is NTFS, MacOS will only be able to read this drive (no write functionality). There are several work-arounds for this. If you want to keep the NTFS formatting (ie. to use this drive for both Mac and Windows), you will need to install (on a Mac) either the Memeo software (included in drive) or a 3rd party app to write onto the drive. This drive will work with Windows (WinXP SP3, Win7). I also used this device successfully with various Linux flavors.

Using it with USB 2.0 is fine, but you won’t really see what this drive can do unless you use a USB 3.0 connection. Its speed is severely limited by a USB 2.0 connection, but at least the USB 3.0 speed is available if you upgrade your computer in the future. See below for speed tests.

One surprising thing was that this drive did not get hot at all. During and after the data transfer, the drive stayed relatively cool (not even warm to the touch). I think the heat from my hand warmed the drive more than the drive’s activity.

Overall, a nice drive. I only have two minor quibbles about this drive. First, the USB 3.0 cable that came with the drive is a tad too short to my liking: It is supposed to be 18 inches as described in the “Product Description” but it measured less than 12 inches. The other negative thing is the price. There are a few 1TB portable HD drives for a little over 100 dollars nowadays, but they are a bit bulkier than this HD. Otherwise, it is a slim and fast portable HD drive. This drive has earned the distinction of being in the top two of my portable HD herd. For everyday use, I will carry this drive and the Buffalo Ministation. Because of these minor issues, I will give this a 4.5 star rating, but rounded down to 4-stars. Only time will tell whether or not these drives are reliable.

I posted some benchmark and real-world test results for data transfer below (Warning – Geek alert below!)

CDM benchmark results:

USB 2.0 Header – Linear Read 31.0 MB/s, Write 24.6 MB/s

USB 3.0 Header – Read 110.7 MB/s, Write 101.7 MB/s

Actual data results:

USB 2.0 Header

-Test 1 – 26 MB/s read, 22.7 MB/s write

Transfer of 7 files (350-450 MB each) total of 1.7 GB took 67 seconds to read, 77 seconds to write onto the disk.

-Test 2 – 26 MB/s, 19 MB/s write

Transfer of 7 files (20-80 MB each) total of 231 MB took 8 seconds to read, 12 seconds to write onto the disk.

-Test 3 – 16.5 MB/s, 14.7 MB/s write

Transfer of 340 files (4 kb to 25 MB) total of 474 MB took 28 seconds to read, 33 seconds to write onto the disk.

USB 3.0 Header

-Test 1 – 51 MB/s read, 24.2 MB/s write

Transfer of 7 files (350-450 MB each) total of 1.7 GB took 34 seconds to read, 72 seconds to write onto the disk.

-Test 2 – 48 MB/s read, 22 MB/s write

Transfer of 7 files (20-80 MB each) total of 231 MB took 4 seconds to read, 12 seconds to write onto the disk.

-Test 3 – 27.1 MB/s read, 24.7 MB/s write

Transfer of 340 files (4 kb to 25 MB) total of 474 MB took 17 seconds to read, 19 seconds to write onto the disk. I’m not really sure why the read rate was slower than the write rate. (I performed these tests three separate times, with the drive formatted before each test so the drive is “like-new” each time.)

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About Ask Conrad
I am a University Professor. A Neuroscientist by trade, and a technophile/geek on the side. My work and research is heavily dependent on computers and state-of-the-art technology. I like Jazz and Bossa Nova. I play the piano, guitar, and ukulele.

One Response to Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Slim – Review

  1. Maria Baseleon says:

    Hi Conrad, i’m need to write files to this drive from my mac (and want to continue to be able to use on PC) there is no Memeo file on the Seagate drive, but there is a dashboard installer that won’t install…. what is the 3rd party software you a referencing that will enable me to write to the drive on mac?? Thanks!

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