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Two Portable 500GB Drives Benchmarked (And Dropped)

Two Portable 500GB Drives Benchmarked (And Dropped)
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Most portable hard drive vendors create their products the same way: they design an attractive shell, purchase a controller/interface combo, grab off-the-shelf internal hard drives, and put it all together. A solid brand and popular distribution partners don’t hurt, either.

USB 2.0 has been the most common interface choice for quite a while, which is why there are almost no performance differences between various portable hard drives. A-Data and Hitachi are different, catering to a niche performance segment they consider important—namely mobile users who put their gear under considerable physical strain.

Many external hard drives, and certainly most portable hard drives, have become convenience products. They’re all more or less alike, the supply is larger than the demand, and they’re easily replaceable. Yet, they remain necessary for different reasons. Notebook users might not want to replace their hard drives once they need more storage capacity. Those lucky enough to have a notebook with a fast and fancy solid state drive (SSD) will run out of storage space much earlier because SSDs still don’t get anywhere near the 500+ gigabyte capacities of 2.5” notebook drives. In addition, at least 10% to 20% of your SSD’s capacity should remain unused so controllers have sufficient available memory to reorganize blocks for higher write performance. Obviously, this reduces the usable capacity.

Performance aside, you’ll probably appreciate a high-capacity hard drive if only for backup purposes. Storage products are so cheap now that many users regularly migrate to larger drives and add their old ones into a backup pool.

A-Data and Hitachi cater to all who want a storage product that’s more than just convenient capacity. The A-Data Sport SH93 and Hitachi’s SimpleTOUGH are ruggedized and spill-resistant 500GB portable hard drives that stand out from the crowd.

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  • 13 Hide
    tipoo , March 5, 2010 11:33 AM
    So where is the "Drops before it stops working" benchmark?
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    xbsoft , March 5, 2010 7:08 AM
    Great article! I'm definitely not trying to drop my external hard drive as I know it will most likely fail. Though it has free fall sensor, its internal parts might fracture.
  • 0 Hide
    Onus , March 5, 2010 11:13 AM
    I try to be careful. The last time I dropped a hard drive (knocked it off a table) was in the early 1990's. I did step on one about a year ago and snapped off the SATA connector (mfg. would not even SELL me a replacement controller card for it).
  • 13 Hide
    tipoo , March 5, 2010 11:33 AM
    So where is the "Drops before it stops working" benchmark?
  • 2 Hide
    superhoss , March 5, 2010 2:37 PM
    Please read the reviews on Amazon before buying this drive. If the reports are to be believed, the USB cable is faulty on the Hitachi and stops working shortly, even if treated delicately.
  • 0 Hide
    kittle , March 5, 2010 4:16 PM
    I got one of the Hitachi drives a few months ago to use as a backup when i migrated from Win7.
    The drive only lasted 3days -- long enough to copy files off my laptop and back.

    After that, nothing could talk to the drive. win7 just said "error accessing device" I returned it to Frys for a full refund.
  • 3 Hide
    wintermint , March 5, 2010 5:40 PM
    A-Data's drive reminds me of Bumblebee from Transformer :p 
  • 0 Hide
    JohnMD1022 , March 5, 2010 5:41 PM
    Re: A-Data SH93.

    What brand is the actual hard drive? Useful to know. With the number of failed Seagates I have had pass through my shop, I decline to purchase anything using a Seagate drive.
  • 2 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , March 5, 2010 5:53 PM
    Submerging the drive in water for 30 minutes dio not dmage it. I find that interesting.
  • 0 Hide
    Nakal , March 7, 2010 3:48 PM
    Where were these when I needed them! I recently dropped my external (caught the USB cable and it pulled off the lower shelf of my desk :(  ) Lost a ton of stuff since I was just about to move the data to another machine when it fell *sigh* heh.
  • 0 Hide
    evillman , March 7, 2010 5:07 PM
    Just like the 30 mins under water.
  • 0 Hide
    vaughn2k , March 8, 2010 5:35 AM
    so where was the 'drop' and test?
  • 0 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , March 8, 2010 11:48 AM
    Does anyone know of an usb drive that comes bundled with backup software which : works from the bios boot menu (rather than windows) and supports differential and/or incremental backup with support for batch scripting?

    I'm looking for such a product for offline backup of a customers systems once a month - currently the only option I've found is freedos + usb drive + symantec ghost - but that's full backup every time and a slightly clumpsy way to accomplish the goal.
  • 0 Hide
    kimwally , March 10, 2010 7:46 PM
    I also avoid Seagate like the plague -it let me and many others down years ago with unreliable drives and an unwillingness to help customers, then last year I was talked in to trying a 1tb seagate sata, bricked up after about a month and after finding heaps of others on the net complaining about the same problem asked seagate about data recovery -$1200 they wanted to try and recover the data!! what made me angry was seagate knew about the problem 6 months earlier and had issued a firmare "fix" but failed to inform the suppliers, after drive is "bricked" of course the firmaware fix is unuseable. I still have the drive as the data is of more value than the physical unit -hoping that one day I'll find a cheaper way to recover the data.Thanks again Seagate.
  • 0 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , March 11, 2010 5:57 AM
    if you could aquire another drive of the exact same you could just swap the controller board - should work.

    ps. the firmware update you're referring to actually bricked 500gb drives if customers would try to update these in order to avoid bricking - ironic isn't it?
  • 0 Hide
    kimwally , March 11, 2010 7:12 AM
    Thanks for that -the problem is it has to be from the same batch!! did try that using same model -after it did not work, found out that it must be an exact match. On the drive the is -S/N, model,P/N, firmware , date code, site code, then WWN
    let me tell you -this Barracuda has lost it's bite -but it still sucks!!
  • 0 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , March 11, 2010 7:31 AM
    I believe you!
    Recently I made a poll on the forums as to which brand people preferred. WD won outright with some 76% of the votes - in contrast seagate only scored 3 votes - and in their favor I even included all their other current and recent brands in the listing (Seagate / Miniscribe / Maxtor / Conner / Quantum / DEC Data Storage)
  • 0 Hide
    wotan31 , March 11, 2010 3:51 PM
    Sure, you can drop it, but the real question is... can it run Crysis?
  • 0 Hide
    wotan31 , March 11, 2010 3:52 PM
    neiroatopelccI believe you!Recently I made a poll on the forums as to which brand people preferred. WD won outright with some 76% of the votes - in contrast seagate only scored 3 votes - and in their favor I even included all their other current and recent brands in the listing (Seagate / Miniscribe / Maxtor / Conner / Quantum / DEC Data Storage)

    What about Hitachi? IBM? This poll is rigged, what a scam.
  • 0 Hide
    wotan31 , March 11, 2010 3:55 PM
    I remember paying $800 for a 20 MB hard drive. 20 Megabytes. For $800. It was also $1200 for 8 MB of RAM in that PC. Those were the REAL days of personal computing. All these fancy new gigabytes and gigahertz are just a fad.
  • 0 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , March 12, 2010 6:37 AM
    wotan31What about Hitachi? IBM? This poll is rigged, what a scam.


    didn't score a single fu
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