External Storage: Terabyte Drives Compared

SimpleTech ProDrive 1 TB

The ProDrive by SimpleTech/Fabrik is available in 500 GB, 750 GB and 1 TB versions; we received the high-capacity terabyte version for review.


The ProDrive looks like a typical external hard drive, which isn’t a bad thing. It was designed for professionals and its appearance suggests as much. The device is covered by plastic in two colors. The top and bottom are silver while the framing is gray. Two corners are rounded, which provides an appealing visual accent. The front carries the product name and activity LED, and all interfaces as well as a hardware power switch are on the back. The design supports stacking multiple drives or operating vertically.

Features and Performance

This is the only a quadruple-interface drive among the products we tested. On the back side are the power switch, ventilation openings, power jack and a Kensington lock, plus USB 2.0, FireWire 1394a, FireWire 1394b and eSATA interfaces, giving users the widest interface choices.

The ProDrive‘s access time is rather long at more than 20 ms—unusual for a 3.5” desktop hard drive. But that shouldn’t matter much unless you intend to run applications off the drive—if you do, use eSATA. To compensate for the disappointing access time, you get excellent throughput of more than 91 MB/s maximum for reads and writes using eSATA. FireWire 1394b is a good alternative for users who have the requisite controller, as you’ll get up to 58 MB/s transferred for writes and as much as 74 MB/s for reads. USB 2.0 will limit throughput to 32 MB/s reads and 27 MB/s for writes, while FireWire 1394a offers speeds of 37 MB/s and 30 MB/s, respectively.

SimpleTech is the only vendor that bundles free online backup storage capacity. You get only 2 GB, but that may be enough for important data you need available while you’re on the go, as long as you have Internet access.

Power Consumption

The SimpleTech may not offer quick access time, but it does provide low power consumption. In fact, it demands only two-thirds the power required for the Seagate FreeAgent XTreme to operate. Its 9.5 W activity power and 6.6 W drive idle power are excellent, and the 3.6 W standby power is topped only by the LaCie drive, which requires 2 W in idle. The ProDrive requires no power at all once the power switch is set to off, or as soon as the host PC shuts down.

The three-year warranty is solid, but the price tag for the 1 TB version is above $200, so you will pay a little extra for this one.