With different jobs comes different needs. I am not an professional photo enthusiast or am I video studio producer but I do know the pain when it comes to storage. We write a lot of articles and go trough a lot of video footage and images. Having them in one place is the best way to manage and manipulate. Finding the right storage for the job could be a big pain since there are hundreds of enclosures. Some offer a hard drive with in and some don't. Today we are going to take a look at FreeAgent XTreme by Seagate. FreeAgent XTreme is an external hard drive enclosure which has a lot to offer to pretty much everyone out there. it is available in a large capacities so choosing the right one should be easy. Lets take a closer look at FreeAgent XTreme as I am sure it will catch your attention.
About the Product
Following information is taken from the Seagate website.
Major capacity. Major performance.
Get it all. No sacrifices needed.
Available in 500GB, 640GB, 1TB, 1.5TB, and 2TB capacities
The fastest data transfer: eSATA, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0 interfaces
Security and stability aplenty.
it’s not enough to store your files. You have to keep them safe.
Protect your stuff with automatic backup software
Keep your privacy with powerful encryption software.
Enjoy the peace of mind of a five-year limited warranty
Designed to look as good as it works.
it’s going to be on your desktop. it should look like it belongs there.
A sleek combination of shape, lighting, materials, and finish
Lay it flat or on its side
Saves energy with smart utilities that rest your drive after 15 minutes of idle time
Preloaded software. No setup or CDs
Now that we got basic information out of the way, lets take a closer look at FreeAgent XTreme.
5 Year Limited Warranty
FreeAgent XTreme is available in Available in 500GB, 640GB, 1TB, 1.5TB, and 2TB capacities. So picking the right storage for the job is relatively easy depending on your needs. The same applies toward the connection speed. FreeAgent XTreme also comes with eSATA, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0 interfaces. This really makes things easier to pick and choose among other external storage enclosures on the market. FreeAgent XTreme comes with a 5 year limited warranty so you do not have to worry about the replacement of the unit for a long time. With SMART enabled you would get notification messages if there are any faults with this unit and act accordantly.
Fast and smart
The FreeAgent XTreme comes in a colorful packaging which is easy on the eyes and makes a great first impression. What else is pretty cool about this unit is that it has an automated backup software build in it. We have played around with it a bit and found to be useful on occasion. Later in the review we will go over a few screen shots to show you what this backup software includes.
By the way the packaging makes it look like the actual unit is very big inside. internal packaging of FreeAgent XTreme is very tight and makes it look like a box. Seagate packaging system prevents the unit from being damaged while shipping or transport.
Out of the box
Right Side Shot
Taking out the FreeAgent XTreme out of the box wasn't too hard. Just a few pulls and everything came a part sort of speak. FreeAgent XTreme comes with instructional manual USB 2.0 cable, FireWire cable, power supply, stand and actual unit. What is surprising is that Seagate didn't include a eSATA cable with this unit. FreeAgent XTreme is capable of operating with eSATA connection but you will have to get your own cable.
Left Side Shot
The whole unit is not very big. it is a little bit bigger than a 3.5" hard drive. FreeAgent XTreme is made from very tough plastic so you shouldn't be worried about cracking the case of the unit. From top and bottom of the unit we found small ventilation holes. it is important to keep hard drives cool as this prolongs the life of the hard drive.
Rear Access Panel
Ready to rock
On the back of the unit we found a power connector, eSATA connector, USB 2.0 connector and two FireWire connectors. in order to keep unit balanced, Seagate has included a small mounting stand which could be used to hold a FreeAgent XTreme upright.
ASUS P7P55D-E LGA 1156 intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX intel Motherboard
Right from the start we went directly in to the Seagate Backup Manager application. The set up files are being kept on the actual hard drive so there is no need for media. There are total of four tabs in this application. We are going to go over very briefly of each section and mention on what they do.
Screen Shot 1
The first tab is an informational tab of the enclosure what is inside. Since this enclosure comes with 1.5 Tb we found our enclosure in the list of active units. From here we could format the enclosure and perform basic tasks.
Screen Shot 2
The backup tab is pretty easy to use as well. There are two modes for the backup, Simple and Custom. in the Simple mode only personal folder of the profile is being backed up every day at 10 PM. if you want a little bit more control then Custom Backup is for you as you can select your own folders and schedule the back up times.
Screen Shot 3
Sync option is useful if you have multiple computers and would like to sync a particular folder between all of them. Again you can either sync your Personal folder or custom folders.
Screen Shot 4
The Encryption tab is also very useful. With this feature you are able to encrypt files by just dragging them to encryption tool which could be placed on your desktop. Very handy if you care about your data security.
To benchmark this unit we have used HD Tach to perform three following benchmarks. The benchmarks performed were with USB 2.0, FireWire and eSATA connections. Even thou we know that FreeAgent XTreme is not going to have problems with USB or FireWire connection, I strongly feel that it is important to cover as a complete benchmark of the unit.
HD Tach 8Mb vs 32 Mb USB 2.0
Our first benchmark was with USB 2.0 connection. In this benchmark we have gotten an average read speed of 32.5 MB/s with average burst speed of 34.4 MB/s and 15.5 ms of random access time. This is pretty much the extend of the USB 2.0 speed.
HD Tach 8Mb vs 32 Mb FireWire
Our second benchmark was with FireWire connection. in this benchmark we have gotten an average read speed of 39.05 MB/s with average burst speed of 42.3 MB/s and 15.4 ms of random access time. Slightly better than USB 2.0 benchmark but still slow.
HD Tach 8Mb vs 32 Mb eSATA
Our third benchmark was with eSATA connection. in this benchmark we have gotten an average read speed of 92.05 MB/s with average burst speed of 150.5 MB/s and 15.6 ms of random access time. These results are very much expected for the eSATA connection.
FreeAgent XTreme stands strong as it has a lot to offer by being highly "customizable" for a user. Depending on your needs you can easily pick up a model of FreeAgent XTreme which is suitable in capacity and speed. Does FreeAgent XTreme stands out in the crowd? Absolutely. By offering its users a backup software for particular folders of your computer it make sense to pick FreeAgent XTreme over some of the other units that don't come with anything. if data security is your pleasure, then you may want to consider the encryption features which are also available in this model. One thing we found odd is the lack of eSATA cable. FreeAgent XTreme comes with USB 2.0 and FireWire cables but not eSATA. You would need to use your own cable if you would like to use eSATA connection for faster transfer speeds. What is important to mention here is that Seagate FreeAgent XTreme comes with a whooping 5 year limited warranty if there is anything to go wrong with this unit. By being ultra quiet and emitting little or no noise, FreeAgent XTreme becomes a handy tool to have on your desktop. Our experience with FreeAgent XTreme has been more than pleasant and we would like to nominate it as part of the recommended gear.
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