Toshiba 320GB USB drive
When a New Year swings by, it always seems like a good time to give your computer a good clean out with a full reformat and reinstall of your operating system to help clean out the cob webs.
Of course, you’re going to want to store that mountain of data you’ve collected during 2008, somewhere safe. The best way to do this is to invest in some kind of external storage device like a hard drive.
There’s a massive range of external drives to choose from, with some designed for performance, value or for the fashion conscious. I’ve been testing out the Toshiba 320GB portable hard drive to determine where it fits in those categories. So for the past month I’ve been testing it to see how well it performs in a range of tasks from backing up photos to transferring large ISO images between machines.
The style of the drive is very simple with a glossy black finish and a wave of colour that Toshiba has colour co-ordinated with the capacity of the drive. The model I’m working with is the 320GB model which comes with the grey stripes. On the underneath, there are two rubber grips that help keep the curved base stable on your desk and absorb some of the noise from the spinning drive.
Just one connection is required to power and transfer data to the drive. Along the top of the drive is a mini-USB port that connects to your standard USB 2.0 connection in your laptop or desktop computer. This is the one and only connection that is required to get this plug and play device to work.
In my performance tests, I timed the transfer of a single 700MB file and 361 files totalling 1.51GB and compared it with the times against a Fujitsu portable USB drive (4200rpm), iomega UltraMax 640GB RAID drive over FireWire 400 and my Western Digital 500GB drive over FireWire 400.
700MB single file transfer
Toshiba – 29.25
Fujitsu – 30.31
Iomega – 23.66
Western Digital – 22.92
1.51GB 361 file transfer
Toshiba – 1.22.10
Fujitsu – 1.21.76
Iomega – 1.06.36
Western Digital – 1.10.21
The Toshiba drive was quick on the large file transfer but struggled a little with the bulk file transfer. All tests were run twice to avoid any anomalies. Despite the slightly faster spinning drive in the Toshiba, it only managed to just beat out the Fujitsu in the 700MB file transfer and was slightly slower in the bulk transfer. These times do fall in line with what other portable drives are currently able to offer and I suspect that this may be a result of a USB transfer bottleneck. Roll on USB 3.0!
Compared with other 320GB drives, the Toshiba is value for money when comparing it with other brands with the same capacity. My search found this drive to be under the £80 mark in contrast to the £80 or more for the other 320GB portable drives. This makes for stunning value with a capacity that used to be reserved for only the high end desktop drives.