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G-Technologies G-RAID Thunderbolt 8 GB

Nine External Thunderbolt Storage Devices, Rounded Up
By

G-RAID Thunderbolt
4 TB (0G02289)8 TB (0G02272)
MSRP
$700
$1000


G-Technologies is a subsidiary of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, which was acquired by Western Digital a few months ago. We're told there are no plans to discontinue Hitachi GST's products. But, should that occur, Western Digital will continue to honor warranty coverage, alleviating concerns over buying a G-Technologies device.

The G-RAID Thunderbolt is housed in a silver-colored MacBook Pro-like aluminum shell, with two ports located on the back for daisy chaining, along with a power switch and fan exhaust port. The combination of an active cooler fan and an aluminum housing seems fairly effective for dissipating the heat from Intel's Thunderbolt controller and the installed hard drives. At idle and during our streaming write tests, the unit remained cool, and we're happy to say its fan runs more quietly than the mechanical disks.

The two internal 4 TB 3.5” Hitachi Deskstar 7K4000 hard drives occupy three-quarters of the length of the unit, and both repositories are positioned near the front grill. Not all G-RAID Thunderbolt units feature the configuration we're reviewing today. G-Technology also offers 4 TB (2 x 2 GB) and 6 TB (2 x 3 GB) versions employing Hitachi’s Deskstar 7K2000 and 7K3000 family, respectively. All three capacities are rated for similar performance, so your only real decision is how much storage space you need.

Upgrading the installed hard drives on your own voids the warranty, so it may be wise to err on the side of caution and buy bigger if you anticipate a rapidly-growing library of music or videos eating up capacity quickly. There is no way to sneak around this restriction, as a tamper-resistant sticker hides one of the screws required to disassemble the chassis.  

Unlike the Elgato unit, G-Technology uses Intel's CV82524EF/L Thunderbolt controller, equipped with four channels, to facilitate support for daisy chaining. Also unlike the Elgato unit, the G-RAID Thunderbolt forgoes ASMedia's storage controller in favor Marvell's 88SE9182 SATA 6Gb/s solution.

There is no hardware-based RAID controller on-board. So, you have to configure RAID via software either in Windows or using OS X's Disk Utility. That's an important note, since G-Technology incorrectly claims that this device supports hardware-based RAID 0 on its product webpage.

Configured manually to operate in RAID 0 mode, the G-RAID Thunderbolt reaches sequential read speeds of ~325 MB/s, regardless of queue depth. Sequential writes, on the other hand, start out at ~270 MB/s and jump to 320 MB/s once there are sixteen concurrent operations.

Sequential write performance hangs steady at 155 MB/s in RAID 1, and sequential reads climb from 50 MB/s to ~160 MB/s.

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