G-Technology G-Dock ev external Thunderbolt hard drive
G-Technology's G-Dock is a modular two-drive device that can be set up in a RAID array
- Fast hard drives
- Supports RAID
- Solidly built
- No locking mechanism for drives
G-Technology's G-Dock is a two-bay, 2TB external hard drive device that's modular and very fast. It's worth considering if you have a need for quick and versatile external storage for your Thunderbolt-equipped Mac.
Price$ 1,099.00 (AUD)
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G-Technology's G-Dock ev with Thunderbolt is one of the most impressive pieces of hardware on the market as far as external storage is concerned. It's an external drive docking system with two drive bays and it can be set up to facilitate super-fast transfer speeds through a RAID 0 array.
The G-Dock ev relies on a Thunderbolt connection and it’s a desktop device that’s primarily targeted at Mac users — you can tell by the aesthetic that G-Technology has gone for in the design of the dock and the drives, and, of course, because barely any Windows machines come with Thunderbolt. What’s interesting is that the individual drives that slot into the dock can also be used on their own as USB 3.0 devices. The drives actually have both SATA III and USB 3.0 interfaces, and the SATA interface can be neatly covered up when you want to use the drives independently of the dock.
A lot of attention has gone into the construction of this storage unit as far as its functionality and usability are concerned: the drives slot in easily, the rubber feet on the base make it grip the table securely, and the power button is at the back so that you don’t accidentally knock it while the drive is operating. However, one thing that has been overlooked is a locking mechanism for the drives. There are big buttons on the front that need to be pressed for the individual drives to be ejected from the dock, but they don’t have a lock. That said, the buttons need a healthy press in order to release the drives from their bays.
Overall, the unit is solidly built out of anodised aluminium — both the dock, and each individual drive are among the most sturdy external storage devices we’ve seen in recent times. The hard drive modules on their own are as solid as can be, weighing 286g each. The dock is designed to be used in a desktop environment, rather than be taken out in the field, and you have to plug it in to the mains so that it can supply both drive modules with power when they are plugged into it. (G-Technology has other RAID products available if you want portable storage, such as the G-RAID Mini). There is a fan at the rear of the dock to keep the drives cool.
G-Technology aims this (and most of its other products) at professionals, including those who work with video, audio, and other types of large project files, and who require plentiful, yet zippy external storage. The Thunderbolt connection gives the dock plenty of throughput potential, and the drives themselves proved to be very fast in our tests.
We tested the G-Dock on the latest MacBook Air, which has a fast solid state drive and a Thunderbolt connection, and we used the BlackMagic benchmark to extract some performance results out of it. We set up the drives in a RAID 0 array through Mac OS, but we also tested the drives individually, both in the dock and when using USB 3.0. In the RAID 0 array, the BlackMagic benchmark reported a maximum read speed of 251.8 megabytes per second (MBps) and a write speed of 248.6MBps. Both results are sensational for an external drive, making the G-Dock ev a good solution for those of you who are looking for a quick device for working with video files up to 2K in resolution. When each drive was set up as its own volume, BlackMagic recorded 134.8MBps for reading and 133.5MBps for writing. Again, these are fast rates.
If you do use RAID 0 to store your data on these drives, you won’t get any data redundancy; a faulty drive will mean you’ll lose all your data. But the point of the G-Dock ev in this scenario is to provide a quick working environment. You’ll have to make sure that the data on your G-Dock ev RAID 0 array is backed up to another drive, and this can be accomplished potentially through a second Thunderbolt drive attached to the pass-through connector on the G-Dock ev itself, or indeed through a standard external USB 3.0 drive. You’ll be able to use Time Machine or any other backup software to duplicate it.
What’s most pleasing to us about G-Dock ev as a whole is just how fast its individual drives are as standard USB 3.0 devices — they are 7200rpm drives each with a 1TB capacity, which gives them a tight aerial density. When tested on the MacBook Air using USB 3.0, BlackMagic reported a read rate of 128MBps and a write rate of 124MBps. When we tested on a Windows 8-based laptop with USB 3.0, the numbers we saw using CrystalDiskMark were 134.4MBps for reading and 129.7MBps for writing. These results are among the fastest we’ve seen for an external hard drive in the Windows environment. We should point out that we had to reformat the drive using NTFS so that it would work on our Windows system.
There’s no doubt that the G-Technology G-Dock ev is a solid external drive system and it should please those of you who have a requirement for fast removable storage. We like the fact that it’s a modular system, and also that the drives themselves can be used independently of the dock via USB 3.0. It’s very much a professional product, though, and it has a pro price tag to match. Nevertheless, it’s worth it if you need the speed of striped RAID and the flexibility of a dock.
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