Verbatim GT Portable Hard Drive
A Hardware Review

South Africa By: Mandy J Watson on 5 July 2011
Category: Tech > Hardware > Reviews Comments View Comments


With sleek racing-car looks the Verbatim GT Portable Hard Drive brings a fresh visual aesthetic to the average grey and beige computing environment. We took it for a spin to see if what's under the hood is up to speed.

Verbatim GT Portable Hard DriveThe Verbatim GT Portable Hard Drive is so named because its housing, which is available in red or black, has two white stripes running the length of the unit. These stripes are meant to evoke the design aesthetic of a racing car (and, presumably, to allude to speed and performance).

Since this drive is all about the aesthetics, I'll start there. It's quite a compact external drive that, at 152 grams, is light and therefore useful and convenient should you need to transport large amounts of data around, as its capacity is 500 GB. Plus, it looks good on your desk. Bar a USB port on the side for a USB cable it has no ports or inputs on the housing. It doesn't require (nor can it use) an external power supply and there isn't even an LED to indicate that the drive is operating, and what it's doing, which I have to admit I missed. The only way you can tell that the drive is actively reading or writing data is due to a very slight vibration of the unit.

The housing is made of plastic and the top is particularly plasticky to the touch, which is unfortunate as it ruins some of the appeal of the drive. Additionally, the unit that I was sent to test had done the rounds, which caused a couple of problems, which I'll get to in a second, but had one advantage - I could see how the drive holds up after it's been in use by numerous people and has been bumped around during courier deliveries and on planes and so forth. The resulting wear and tear I observed is that while the unit seemed to be resistant to light scratches, the top of the housing had begun to separate from the bottom housing (which is silver - you can't see it in the images on this page) at one of the corners, causing a slight gap. Therefore, for long-term use, I can't imagine that the housing is particularly robust and is likely to come off completely if the unit is carried around a lot.

In terms of performance, this is a USB 2.0 drive so that determines the maximum speeds at which it is (theoretically) able to operate. In the box you receive a standard USB cable (USB Type-A to USB Mini-B). There is a hard disk drive (rather than flash memory) inside the housing but I've seen no official documentation regarding spin speed. Because this drive had been used previously this can have a slight effect on the benchmark test results.

Verbatim GT Portable Hard Drive
(500 GB)
Benchmark Results*
CrystalDiskMark 2.2
Settings: 5 passes, 100 MB test size
(5 tests run; results in megabytes per second)
Test TypeTest 1Test 2Test 3Test 4Test 5
Sequential Read:19.72519.72319.76019.74019.764
Sequential Write:17.41816.68617.47516.66816.523
Random Read 512 KB:15.64015.64515.65815.68915.671
Random Write 512 KB:13.1925.35711.5355.84713.130
Random Read 4 KB:0.5450.5490.5550.5450.556
Random Write 4 KB:0.2090.1640.2130.1140.212
Settings: 5 passes, 1000 MB test size
(5 tests run; results in megabytes per second)
Test TypeTest 1Test 2Test 3Test 4Test 5
Sequential Read:19.79219.76019.75819.77219.760
Sequential Write:17.43017.44817.42717.34817.354
Random Read 512 KB:15.35015.37815.30815.29315.403
Random Write 512 KB:10.13111.5655.3215.9185.677
Random Read 4 KB:0.4690.4690.4700.4600.482
Random Write 4 KB:0.1440.2140.0900.0880.088
*Please note that the test drive was not a new unit, which may have a slight effect on the the performance results.

As you can see from the results, the drive is quite zippy, especially at reading data and, in general, in working with large amounts of data. The drive is formatted to the FAT32 file system so that it can work with both Windows PCs and Macs and the write speeds are generally very good, with two notable exceptions: 512 KB random write (both 100 MB and 1000 MB test size) and 4 KB random write (1000 MB test size). With both test sequences there was either a large drop off in speeds or, in the case of the 512 KB write test of the 100 MB data block, a significant wavering between high and low between each test I ran. I can only imagine that this has something to do with the drive's spinning speed conflicting with the data segments on the drive, or that there is a cache issue. As the "Green Button energy-saving software" wasn't included on the drive and therefore wasn't running, it couldn't have affected the results. (Ordinarily it might cause slight performance issues in favour of power-reduction techniques.)

Verbatim GT Portable Hard DriveIn the course of my testing I probably used the drive for about 28 hours in total, including a 10-hour nonstop read test (a sector scan), which gave me an idea of how well the drive would work under pressure conditions. A drive this size is likely to be used to back up or restore large amounts of data so you need to know that it can be left running for hours and there won't be problems, which I can confirm. The drive became ever-so-slightly warm at the back while it was operating but it never became hot - even during the endurance test. The unit has four small rubber feet that lift the housing about a millimetre above the surface it's resting on and this seems to be enough to ensure good circulation.

I mentioned the Green Button software above. This, and Nero BackItUp & Burn Essentials, is supposed to be included on the drive, along with a user manual for the drive (there's a quick-start guide in the box) but those files had been erased by a previous user and not replaced on the test unit before it was sent to me. The Nero software is compatible with newer versions of Windows (not Mac OS) and it provides you with backup tools, such as Nero Express, and data-recovery tools, such as Nero RescueAgent.

The Green Button software is designed to increase the life of the disk and save energy by suspending the hard disk's spin when the drive is not in use. Apparently you can set three different "sleep" options, which determine when - or if - the drive will suspend.

The hardware inside the Verbatim Portable GT Hard Drive is high quality but what's wrapped around it is cheaply made. Eventually this will become noticeable so if you're quite a robust user of storage devices this one isn't for you. If, however, you're likely just to keep it on your desk and want something that is sleek and looks better than the average external drive, this is one to consider.

The Verbatim GT Portable Hard Drive review unit was provided by Verbatim. Opinion
Rating: 5/10 (average: balance of good and bad; worth purchasing if the price is right)

Key Facts: Verbatim GT Portable Hard Drive
Manufacturer: Verbatim
Model Number: 53030
Storage Capacity: 500 GB
Weight: 152g
Dimensions: 118x16x78mm (WxHxD)
Interface: USB 2.0, backwards compatible with USB 1.1; supports hot swapping
Power Supply: USB bus powered, no external power supply supported
Power Consumption: n/a
Indicators: None
Operating System Support:
Windows: Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and above
Mac OS: Mac OS X 10.1 and above
Linux: linux 2.6 and above
Operating Temperature: n/a
Storage Temperature: n/a
In The Box: Verbatim GT Portable Hard Drive, USB extension cable (USB Type-A to USB Mini-B), Quick-Start Guide printed pamphlet

On The Internet
Verbatim GT Portable Hard Drive: Product Page
Verbatim Europe: Official Site | Twitter

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