Freeing you from an external interface
External Hard Drives are extremely common- they offer excellent price per Gigabyte and are easy enough to set up. All you need to do is generally plug them to your computer and you are good to go. However, every couple of years, the technology that is used to connect your external drive to your PC changes or is updated and the buyer is left confused. We are going through one such transition right now and Seagate might have an answer.
The transition that we are going through is between the extremely popular USB 2.0 standard and the upcoming and insanely fast USB 3.0 standard that offers almost ten times the speed of USB 2.0. The problem is that your current computer might not be USB 3.0 ready so you’re left wondering if you should spend a bit extra and get a USB 3.0 drive that you might never use or get the cheaper USB 2.0 drive but regret later when you upgrade your computer that does support USB 3.0. To add to the confusion, some people are switching from PCs to Macs that offer a Firewire port that is potentially faster than USB or shifting to an eSATA port found in many new laptops.
To explain what Seagate has done, you need to know one more thing- these external hard drives that you use on your computers are basically internal hard drives in an enclosure. They are very much the same drives as the ones found inside your laptops and desktops connected through a SATA interface. So, in essence, these external hard drives are, more of less, an enclosure that converts the internal SATA interface to a connector that can be easily connected to your computer externally through USB2.0 or USB 3.0 or Firewire.
So when you buy a portable external hard drive, you usually get the hard drive along with the USB or Firewire cable- depending on the type of connection that hard drive supports. What Seagate has done with their GoFlex drive is, instead of just bundling a cable, they bundle a cable and a converter. The converter attaches to the SATA interface of the included hard drive and USB 2.0 on your computer. So now, when you switch to a USB 3.0 or Firewire or eSATA interface, all you need to do is buy this converter instead of a whole new drive. Seagate calls these converters as “Upgrade cables”
Now that you hopefully have a grasp on Seagate’s GoFlex concept, lets take a look at their 500GB USB 2.0 FreeAgent GoFlex Hard Drive.