External drives have given rise to NAS (Network-Attached Storage). Accessing and accumulating data at one central location has become all the rage, as HTPC, media streaming, and HDTV-ready devices and technologies have become more affordable, and thus have made the push into the homes of consumers.
Our report today will examine the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Home Network Storage System and, although it may be not be our typical review of SSD technology, it is storage just the same.
During the past few months, the hard drive market has been in a state of flux due to a variety of reasons. These have led to a spike in costs, shortages of supply, and overall complications in manufacturing, just to name a few obstacles.
An area that has remained relatively stable, however, is that of external hard drives, traditionally known for their ease of portability and use via the added premium of an enclosure for these features, rather than raw performance. With the recent downturn, primarily regarding internal hard drives, externals have become more sought after as the prices have remained relatively the same. Although these drives are still storage-based rather than performance, the need for massive storage is still in high demand. Indeed, with the recent price drops in the SSD department, the SSD-HDD coupling of performance-storage has become even more popular.
Staying on the subject, the aptly named FreeAgent GoFlex Home by Seagate is a consumer-based NAS storage device made for novice users. While conventional NAS devices utilize multi-bay drive expansions, and boast a plethora of features, the GoFlex is made primarily for a simple plug-and-play format:
The GoFlex Home network storage system also allows you to stream media, store photos, movies and music on the GoFlex Home network storage system, and enjoy media from any room in the house. By storing files in a central location on the network, you can use one drive for all your storage and backup needs.
This review will be testing the 3TB flavour of the GoFlex Home, graciously provided by Seagate. Let us find out how it stacks against the competition.
PACKAGING AND CONTENTS
The GoFlex FreeAgent home comes in a nice looking package, with a surprising amount of detail listed on the front, back, and sides. The sample also came with a quick install page from Seagate:
Opening it up, we have a cardboard box containing the accessories, including an installation guide with the GoFlex drive surrounded in a plastic covering and protected in a clamshell arrangement. The accessories consist of, going from left to right and top to bottom, a black ethernet cable with silver-plated connectors, a power brick and cable, the GoFlex network base, a CD containing the Seagate Dashboard software, a quick start guide, and the FreeAgent GoFlex 3TB drive:
Both the GoFlex drive and base are encased in a nice matte-black finish with a protective plastic covering:
Once the plastic is removed, a closer look reveals the drive to have small ventilation holds, while the base sports grills. Both the base and drive join firmly with each other, and take quite a bit of pull to detach:
The inputs in the back contain a high-speed ethernet port, a USB port, and a port for the power brick. There is also a push button to turn the drive on/off. An obvious absence is a USB output port for data transfer in case something happens to the ethernet port, or the GoFlex base. However, one could use a SATA/eSATA cable and connect with the inputs located underneath the GoFlex drive (the same connectors jutting out from the GoFlex base). Keep in mind that the GoFlex does not have built-in wireless capabilities. Once everything is ready, a solid green indicator LED will reveal itself, with a similar white LED at the bottom indicating that the drive is connected: