Mobile 2.5 Hard Drive Systems: MD2-USB and MD2-FW1 from DataFab

Other External Storage Solutions

In the past few months, we have reviewed several storage devices:

  • Flotec Pockey Drive
    External 2.5" IDE hard drive storage system, attached via USB.
  • Trek ThumbDrive
    Very small 128 MB Flash memory storage device, attached via USB.
  • Western Digital 1394 Hard Drive
    First review of Western Digital's external Firewire hard drive. They use some of their own disk drives and put them into an external system. Maxtor also offers a similar system which we have not reviewed yet.
    The 'big brothers' of DataFab's products come from Western Digital and Maxtor. As the interface performance of USB would have been pathetic, they only offer external Firewire drives which use their own hard disks. After merging with Quantum, Maxtor has become the world's largest hard drive manufacturer. I'm pretty sure that there is going to be a lot of competition between them and the other players like Fujitsu, IBM, Samsung, Seagate and WD.
  • Seagate TapeStor USB Travan Streamer 10/20 GB
    The Seagate streamer is attached via USB.
    A streamer is definitely not suitable for data mobility but is appropriate for backup purposes.

2.5" IDE Drives To Use For The MD2

The smaller notebook drives are in a class of their own and are not manufactured by all hard drive companies. Due to the reduced size, the absolute platter speed is not as fast as the speeds of 3.5" drives. In terms of performance, the mobile drives usually lag about two years behind their larger-sized counterparts. This is also one of the reasons why notebooks lag in performance behind desktop PCs.

Currently, only Fujitsu, IBM and Toshiba offer 2.5" drives. The factors that differentiate these drives from one another are the same factors that differentiate the various 3.5" drives. Cache size, access time and data transfer speed vary, while the rotation speed has remained at a standard of 4,200 rpm for some time now.

IBM is typically the first to bring new models of 2.5" drives to the market. Unfortunately, they cannot be used in all notebooks, as these storage monsters have a height of 12.5 mm instead of 9.5 mm (currently drives at > 20 GB are 12.5 mm).

The height issue is no problem for the MD2 drive system. Both sizes can easily be accomodated in the case.