Seagate GoFlex Slim 320GB: The World's Thinnest External HDDby Anand Lal Shimpi on April 5, 2011 11:56 PM EST
Most external drives are horribly limited by the performance of USB 2.0, which is why Seagate opted to outfit the GoFlex Slim with a USB 3.0 interface. If you've got a notebook with a USB 3 interface, you'll want to use it:
|Seagate GoFlex Slim Performance Comparison|
|128KB Sequential Write||128KB Sequential Read||4KB Random Write (8GB LBA Space)||4KB Random Read|
|Seagate GoFlex Slim 320GB USB 2.0||29.2 MB/s||33.3 MB/s||0.77 MB/s||0.24 MB/s|
|Seagate GoFlex Slim 320GB USB 3.0||114.6 MB/s||112.6 MB/s||0.53 MB/s||0.24 MB/s|
Over USB 2 the GoFlex slim tops out at about 33MB/s. Move over to USB 3 and you're pushing over 110MB/s at top speed. I noticed a reduction in 4KB random write performance over USB3 (likely an artifact of the NEC USB controller) but overall it's much faster.
The GoFlex Slim is obviously a platter based storage device and thus we get lower performance at higher LBAs. Over USB 2.0 you wouldn't know as we're limited by the performance of the interface:
Switch over to USB 3.0 and you'll get a familiar stair step pattern as the drive fills up the outer sectors of its single platter and moves inwards:
Despite housing a 7200RPM 2.5" drive, the Seagate GoFlex Slim is pretty quiet thanks to its single platter design. You can tell something is spinning if you're in an absolutely quiet room, otherwise you'd be hard pressed to know you even had it plugged in.
Most 2.5" 320GB external hard drives range from $55 - $80 depending on styling and internal drive used. Given that range the GoFlex Slim definitely comes at a premium. If you've got a laptop with a USB 3.0 interface and want something extremely portable the GoFlex Slim gets the job done. Even over USB 2.0 the drive works well, it's just considerably slower. I didn't encounter any strange issues during my testing of the drive.
If you're ok paying a price premium for reducing thickness, the GoFlex Slim works. It's certainly a much nicer form factor to carry around than more traditional external 2.5" enclosures.