back to article Ten... Desktop USB 3.0 HDDs

Despite somewhat lacklustre adoption of the interface in the last 18 months, USB 3.0 is starting to gain a foothold in the consumer market as availability increases and prices fall down to more reasonable levels. The current offerings of USB 3.0 portable hard drives in our recent round-up turned out to be a pleasant surprise …


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  1. Buzzby
    Thumb Up


    It's a good bit of kit. I bought a 3Tb one from my local maplins. There is a problem though, should you use M$ backup, ( I have Win7 Ult ) it will fail at the last minute with an error message. It is something to do with large sectors I think. I did look into it but it seemed a bit involved & would probably need a reformat.

    The drive does come with software installed, Memeo Sync, Share & send but I dont use them. What's useful is the instant backup, this works well, but it seems just to back up the profile you are logged into. What I really wanted was to completely backup the entire pc ( 6 profiles/logins ) in 1 go, but hey it does backup all my files etc but no Win immage.

  2. jonathan rowe
    Thumb Down

    Capacity vs price

    Pleasant to see some vendors gouging tech ignorant consumers by charging 3 times as much for a 3TB drive as a 1TB drive!

    1. James Hughes 1

      On the other hand

      If I buy three Mars bars, I pay three times the price of one Mars bar.

      Simplistic I know, but you are paying for the storage capacity, not the means to achieve it.

      On the other, other, hand, shop around.

    2. JC_

      3TB HDDs are Expensive

      3TB drives are priced at a premium and cost more than twice the price of a 2TB drive.

  3. Arctic fox
    Thumb Down

    All of them need their own seperate power-supply?

    .........Then I am absolutely uninterested.

    1. Juan Inamillion

      @All of them need their own seperate power-supply?

      Then why did you bother looking at an article that clearly stated they were desktop drives that 'might' be considered portable?

      Strange comment....

    2. Mayhem


      You'd be hard pressed finding a 3.5" caddy that doesn't require a separate power supply.

      I don't know of many decent 3.5" drives that will happily spin up on 10V 1A of supply, which is all you can draw from two USB sockets.

      2.5" drives on the other hand are more or less designed around lower power draw, so happily power themselves off a USB cable. 7200rpm drives often need two ports though to spin up.

  4. Mayhem

    How many of them *require* windows or macos?

    One trend I have noticed recently with many of the boxed HDD solutions is that they are no longer simply hard disks in a box, so if you want to use them at BIOS level, they aren't accessible.

    Western Digital & Seagates are particularly bad for this now, the older passports were pretty dumb, but the new ones have custom circuitry that requires drivers to be installed before they can be accessed. I guess it makes one-touch backups easier, but plays merry hell if you want to use them with a bootable CD or alternative OS.


      OS centric drives...

      OS centric drives simply are not future proof. Anything that forgoes the obvious standard USB driver for something more bothersome is not only locking out current alternatives. It's also going to create extra support headaches in the here and now as well as a whole bunch in the future as tech moves on.

      If you have to load a driver to use the disk then it's a big fat FAIL.

    2. Zimmer

      WD worst offenders?

      Took a WD Passport drive back the same day when I I found out at home it had some bespoke partition/setup that required a hack or three to 'maybe' turn it into a sraightforward HDD ( and therefore useful for both Linux and Windows use).

      I resisted the urge to hack and partition and went straight back...

      The store found me a Verbatim from their stock that was not on display.... Hmmm..

  5. Richard Lloyd

    Sure caddies are the way to go

    I got a 3.5" USB 3.0 caddy, slotted in a Samsung SATA drive (ludicrously easy to do, especially since the caddy came with a screwdriver, screws and a USB 3.0 cable) and spent a lot less money than any of these drives reviewed. Caddy 25 quid, 2TB SATA drive 50 quid - still change left over to buy a second (internal) 2TB drive if these prices are anything to go by!

  6. Anonymous Coward

    More worrigly is

    that the "Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk" is listed on amazon as being usb2. NOT usb3.

    Since i have just ordered one on the strenght of this review, if it arrives and is usb 2, ill rip your head off and piss down your neck....

    1. kiwi8mail

      Comes in both variants

      I believe this model comes in both variants - and in the USB 2.0 model, the drive stand is removable and a USB 3.0 interface-stand can be installed.

      Just saying this to prevent the threatened violence...

      1. Anonymous Coward
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        After ordering the right one, its arrived.

        Its USB3 (SS usb for the pedants). Thats to say the base is usb3 and the drive itself although it is backwards compat. It does use one of the new cables.

        Its fast, sturdy and i'm pretty happy with it.

        And for 80 quid an absolute utter bargain......

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There are

      two seperate models.

      Would be nice (when linking) to use the correct link.

      I've ordered one, then had to cancel, then order the other....

      C- Could do better....

    3. Anonymous Coward


      I cant actually believe how badly i misspelled "worryingly"....

      Fail on my part.

  7. Fredlocks

    What does this mean?

    " While the removable base is very useful once off the GoFlex, I wouldn’t recommend actually standing this drive vertically unless you harbour some kind of unimaginable hatred for your data."

    I thought the GoFlex was supposed to be used upright.

    Have I missed the point?

  8. Patrick R
    Paris Hilton

    Fall / fail

    I understand "real estate / space saving" concept, but who in their right mind would keep a HDD vertically on their desk, like most are presented? It's just an accident waiting to happen.

  9. Inachu

    I still do not like the state of USB at all!

    Why is it that pc builders (OEM) still just make the fast USB in the back and the front

    is only 1.0?

    This annoys me to no end. Make teh front face of the PC with USB slots also 3.0 !!!!!


  10. Christian Berger

    /dev/null is cheaper

    And it's more likely you'll get your data back than from a harddisk which is placed on it's side and falls over.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    False Ads by 3TB Hard Drives & Microsoft or a test left undone

    I need disc image backups and since I use Win 7 Pro 64 bit, I look for the Microsoft Win 7 logo on the HD package. Since my disc image size is about 600GB, I want something that is big and faster than USB 2.0. Yep, there is a WIn 7 logo on the 3TB WD My Book Essential External Hard Drive USB 3.0. box. Since I could get 2 of them for US$250, I bought two. Shock & ****, I could not use either drive to make a WIn 7 system image. Google the error message - formatting issue. But, on the box was "Formatted NTFS for Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7."

    Search on Microsoft and find a posting from 2007 that admits to this "rare error." It seems that Microsoft software does not like the 3TB size. Yep, I have the May 2011 KB update that was to fix this issue installed on my system . I should mention that WD is in big denial of any such problem. Tried using USB 2 instead of USB 3, no go. Formatted HD as exFAT, no go in USB 2 or USB 3. Reformatted back to plain NTFS and wonders, able to make system image in USB 3. Then, several days later, I needed a file back that had been securely erased.

    Oh, unhappy days. System will display the system image, but try to restore the system image and the computer tells you - unable to find the system image in either USB 3 or USB 2. I had to copy the system image from the WD to a Verbatim 2 TB External HD USB 3 over 8 hours, then use the Verbatim 2TB HD in USB 2 mode to restore the system image. It seems 3TB is a TB too far for Windows 7. You should tested the use of WIn 7 system image on the various 3TB hard drives because that a major reason to buy 3TB external hard drives

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