Buyers’ Guide: Designer storage

Designer storage
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Sunday Business Post
By Cian Ginty

External hard drives are a quick and trouble-free way of gaining large amounts of extra storage. The drives can also act as backup devices. In the 500GB to 1TB range, there is a large range of models, from the cheap to the ugly, wireless to finger-printed, and there are designer names as well as Lego look-alikes. Cian Ginty looks at a selection.

LaCie d2 SAFE Hard Drive (500GB)

€259/€220.43 ex-Vat (lacie.com)
For the security-conscious users out there, LaCie offers biometric security with its fingerprint lock.

With the d2SAFE hard drive, running your finger across the fingerprint scanner on the top of the unit will quickly lock or unlock the stored data. It holds up to five different profiles and sports 128-bit hardware encryption.

This 500GB unit is compatible with Windows 2000/XP/Vista and Mac OS 10.2 and it offers support for FireWire 800,FireWire 400, and USB 2.0.

LaCie Brick Desktop Hard Drive (500 GB)

€179/€152.34 ex-Vat (lacie.com)
These stackable Brick Desktop Hard Drives from LaCie might brighten up some offices, although they may not suit all work places. If it wasn’t for the word LaCie on the bricks you might think that these Lego lookalike bricks were made by the toy company. It comes in red, white, and blue.

This 500 GB drive uses only USB 2.0 or at slower transfer speeds using USB 1.0. It’s driver-free for Windows 2000,XPandMacOSX,but also runs on Windows 98SE,Me, and Vista.

Seagate FreeAgent Desktop Drive (500GB)

€133.95/€110.70 ex-VAT (expansys.ie)
In its standing-position, the Seagate FreeAgent Desktop Drive looks slightly more like a computer game console than an external hard drive.

It’s the cheapest plug-and-play 500GB drive we’ve seen.

Even with the low price, Seagate adds an unusually long five-year limited warranty. The colour is apparently ‘espresso brown’. It’s compatible with Windows XP or 2000, and for Mac OSX10.3.9 and above, or OSX 10.4.6 above for Intel-based Macs.

LaCie Hard Drive, Design by FA Porsche (500/700GB)

500GB: €179.00/€152.34 ex-Vat (lacie.com)
750GB: €259.00/€220.43 ex-Vat (lacie.com)
The LaCie Hard Drive, Design by FA Porsche comes in a sleek, plain rectangular box. While LaCie makes much of the fact that the design is by the Porsche Design Group, it has no problem merging into the background.

These versions come with USB 2.0 and two FireWire 400 ports; there are also slightly cheaper versions in 500GB and lower range with just USB or FireWire. For use with Windows 2000/XP/Vista, and Mac OS X10.2.1or above.

Maxtor OneTouch III (750GB)

€165 (Pixmania.ie)
Maxtor OneTouch III may not be the nicest looking bit of hardware as it is one of the more chunkier hard drives in this selection. For a 750GB drive, the price currently listed at Pixmania.ie is anything but chunky.

It supports the extra fast FireWire 800, along with USB 2.0 and FireWire 400.

Maxtor does not list this drive as Vista compatible, but drivers are available on its website. It works with Windows 2000/XP and Mac OS X10.2.8.

Iomega Desktop Hard Drive (1TB)

€251.68/€208 ex-Vat (iomega-europe.com)
The 1TB version the Desktop Hard Drive from Iomega’s Value Series offers large storage at a reasonable price.

The USB 2.0 plug-and-play system is based on two hard drives, but it functions as one. It works with Windows 2000/XP/Vista or on Mac OS X10.1.5 or above.

Iomega StorCenter Wireless Network Storage (1TB)

€499.00/€603.79 ex-Vat (iomega-europe.com)
The 1TB StorCenter Wireless Network Storage is on the higher end of the price scale, but allows for wireless data transfer as well as having a gigabit Ethernet port.

It uses a WLan (802.11g) access point with WPA or WEP wireless security. There are also two USB 2.0 ports for storage expansion or printer sharing.

The 1TB is in the form of four 250GB drives. It supports Windows 98SE/2000/XP,Mac OS X10.2.7 and above, and some versions of Linux, but not Vista.

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