Eight Portable Hard Drives Compared: USB 2.0 Lives On

Wiebetech ToughTech XE Mini (500GB, Multi-Interface)

Last but not least, there's the ToughTech XE by Wiebetech. You can purchase either the barebones enclosure without a hard drive ($120) or one of six versions between 320GB and 500GB. These mainly vary in spindle speed and preformatting (NTFS or HFS+).

The XE Mini offers three interface ports: two FireWire 400/800 ports and a USB 2.0/eSATA combo port. There's also the FS Mini, which substitutes FireWire 400 for FireWire 400/800. Since you can purchase the model variant that doesn’t include a hard drive, you can install any drive of your choice. However, it has to be a drive with 9.5 mm z-height, so the latest 1TB drive generation won’t fit.

The aluminum body is solid, and an anti-shock drive mount should ensure safe and long-term drive operation. However, Wiebetech specifies a maximum operating temperature of only 30°C, which might not be enough in warm countries during summer. Most other drives are allowed to run in environment temperatures of up to 40°C. The ToughTech XE Mini comes with a little protective bag and all the necessary cables for the various interfaces.

USB 2.0 Throughput

FireWire 400/800 Throughput

eSATA Throughput

Prosoft Data Backup 8.0

The backup suite here is powerful, showcasing wizards, incremental and full backup support, optional backup compression, and scheduling. Unfortunately, it does not work on a Windows 7 64-bit system, and the company's site doesn't even mention Windows 7 support.