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Tom's Hardware's 2011 Gift Guide: Part 2, Last-Minute Extras

External Storage: Seagate GoFlex Desk 4 TB USB 3.0


To think, it seems like only last holiday season that we were setting up our 4 TB Seagate BlackArmor NAS box, outfitted with a 4 x 1 TB drive configuration. The beast retailed in the four-figure range and finally gave us the sort of capacity and security we wanted for our primary data backup. Now, a seeming blink later, Seagate gives us the GoFlex Desk 4 TB.

We’ve lost too many files over the years to ever trust a single drive with anything ever again, so we won’t recommend this capacious black monolith as a primary storage device, although with USB 3.0 speeds, it can certainly serve in that role. Rather, in a single-user environment where a network-attached storage device is less needed, we would use this sexy behemoth as a backup target for all of our internal drives, including bare metal backup of the boot volume. Naturally, this assumes that your internals will all fit in a 4 TB drive. If not, well...let’s hope Santa can afford two.

Speaking of bare metal backup, a word of caution: we love GoFlex drives, but the bundled Memeo Instant Backup software does not support system imaging, only file backup. To get bare metal, Seagate would have you buy the Autobackup software with its Replica drives. See the software matrix here. You’ll need to bring your own bare metal app if you want to pursue this function. That aside, the Memeo bundle and Seagate’s Dashboard management software are excellent. We particularly like the Memeo apps for file/folder synchronization and sending jumbo-sized files. Note also that the GoFlex Desk can encrypt your stored data with 192-bit Triple DES, so your data will stay private even if the drive is stolen.