Seagate's FreeAgent XTreme Serial ATA (SATA) 300 external hard drives are being targeted at users dealing with high definition (HD) video and graphics files.
Although nominally a consumer item, the drives would also suit employees working from home with large data files not normally transferable over standard broadband connections. The drive also comes with a five-year warranty.
We looked at a 500GB model, although 640GB, 1TB and 1.5TB versions are also available.
All models come in black, have dual FireWire 400 and mini-USB data ports and an eSATA interface. The designation 'SATA 300' refers to maximum data throughput achievable of 300MBytes/s.
However, the drive has no network interface card and, although the USB and FireWire cables are included, users will have to pay for an eSATA cable to connect the system to PCI cards or directly onto the motherboard.
We did a quick check on read speeds for the eSATA connection compared with the USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 connections using SiSoftware's System Analyser Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant.
USB 2.0 read speeds were around 36MBytes/s, FireWire 400 gave around 41MBytes/s and the eSATA connection saw 102MBytes/s reads.
Disk access times for all three interfaces were around 12 milliseconds, with CPU utilisation rates during the tests hovering around two per cent.
The FreeAgent XTreme runs at 7,200rpm, has a 16MB cache, is just under 7in high, over 1in thick and under 7in wide, and weighs around 1.4kg.
Our drive had fairly standard management software for Windows pre-loaded and ready to install. Users can schedule drive backups or synchronise selected folders with the drive, or create an encrypted folder for sensitive documents.
The drive also has a system utility which can be used to trip the drive into sleep mode after a user-selectable time interval.