Seagate/WD 500GB USB Hard Drives

By on March 30, 2009
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USB drives have become extremely common to use because of their portability and ease of use. All modern operating systems offer the functionality of USB plug’n’play devices making it easy for you to carry your data without worrying whether it would work or not. Although thumb drives are catching up in capacity with 64GB and [...]

USB drives have become extremely common to use because of their portability and ease of use. All modern operating systems offer the functionality of USB plug’n’play devices making it easy for you to carry your data without worrying whether it would work or not. Although thumb drives are catching up in capacity with 64GB and 128GB models, Hard drives still offer the best bang for your buck and today we’re looking at two 500GB drives- the Western Digital My Passport Studio and the Seagate FreeAgent Go.

stwd_together

Both these drives are fairly portable although Seagate tends to win as far as size and weight is concerned- measuring 130mm x 80mm x 12.5mm and weighing 0.16kg. The WD on the other hand is 127mm x 81mm x 18mm and weighs 0.18kg. I must say that you’d be hard pressed to notice the difference between the two and because of the slightly shorter length might even think that the WD is a smaller drive but specification prove otherwise.

st500_dock

Personally, I prefer the look of the Seagate Free Agent Go which looks a bit sleeker and is available in multiple colors. Also the lights on the Seagate look nicer which are arranged in a dotted format. The WD MyBook Studio on the other hand has a string of lights on the back that also act as capacity gauge.

wd500_interface

Both these enclosures feature a 5400RPM 2.5” SATA hard drive and a USB 2.0 interface, however, Western Digital goes a step above by offering a Firewire 400/800 Interface as well.  Firewire 800 offers a theoretical transfer rate of 800Mb/s over USB 2.0’s 480Mb/s which allows you to transfer data faster on the drive. The Free Agent Go on the other hand, offers an optional dock that allows to simply plug the drive vertically without messing with any cables.

Lets take a look at how these drives performed starting with HDTach- first with Seagate and then WD in USB and Firewire modes.

st500_hdtach

wd500_hdt_usb

wd500_hdt_fw

WD certainly proves to be faster than Seagate when they’re connected through a USB interface. The Firewire interface helps WD further by boosting the throughput by about 20%. We also tested these drives with PCMark Vantage’s HD test where Seagate scored 2003 while WD scored 2118 under USB and 2233 under Firewire. Last but certainly not the least, SiSoft Sandra benched the Seagate at 12381 ops/minute while the WD benched at 13266 ops/min and 19788 ops/min for USB and Firewire respectively.

Clearly, Firewire 800 is faster than USB in all tests. Not only that, the WD proves to be a faster drive than the Seagate in USB mode as well making it the choice of someone looking for best performance between these two drives. Unfortunately, performance usually costs a penalty and the WD MyBook Passport Studio with a price tag of US$200 (AED 735) is quite a bit more expensive than the Seagate Freeagent Go selling for US$120 (AED 440) at the moment. At such a big price difference, it definitely makes more sense to pick the Seagate.


About

Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of tbreak.com and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

Comments
  • Pingback: 2.5 Portable - Seageate or WD? - TechEnclave

  • Shuja

    I picked up the WD as it comes with a 5 year warrenty and all my other WD drives have never let me down.
    my first purchase of Seagate died on me within a week.

    • sadgirl334

      hi….what happened to your seagate? what is faster to use seagate or western digital?

      sadgirl334

  • sadgirl334

    hi guys…….can you please help me to pick a nice external hard drive? which is faster between western digital or seagate

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/tbreaknet tbreaknet

      There isn't much difference between the speed as its restricted by the USB port which can only go so fast so I would chose one that fits your budget and looks better to you. They are both good companies offering reliable warranties in case something goes wrong. If you do want something faster, then see if your computer has an e-SATA port which will be much faster than USB

  • http://www.funonnet2.netfirms.com Sukhdev Taneja

    Hi

    I have a Assembled Computer with Processor Intel Dual Core (R) @ 270 GHz, 3 GB of RAM equipped with Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition version 2005 service Pack 3 with Wi-Fi Netgear 108 Mbps Lan Card and Internal Pixelview TV Tuner Card.

    I have just bought this external harddisk today from market. But My system cannot read the information on the my 500 GB Seagate Freeagent go external hard drive using the supplied USB cable. The external drive does not come up at all. Is a required driver missing out on my system? When I connect my 500 Gb Seagate Freegent go External Hard drive, it always ask for drivers and show message at last “The hardware was not installed because the wizard cannot find the necessary software.” I think that my Windows have some missing driver for this products. I have successfully running Freecom External 160 Gb Harddrive and Enter 2.5” HDD External Case without Drivers on my computer. Do I need to get a Y USB cable which have two USB cable (one additional USB cable for power consumption for this drive)? Does this drive run successful after plugging this with Y USB cable? I am running Window Xp Sp3. Does Window Xp Sp3 required external drivers for detecting 500 GB Seagate Freeagent go External Drive?

    I have tried this external harddisk on my Laptop too (Lenovo N100 with CPU Intel Core Solo @ 1.86 Ghz, 3 GB of RAM equipped with Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition version 2005 service Pack 3) and with my other computer which also have similar configuration and operating system as of above computer. It always show similar problem for not detecting drivers for USP Device in my Operating System.
    Please help

    Sukhdev Taneja

    (Model of My 500 GB Seagate Freeagent go External Drive : ST905003FAM2E1-RK)

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