G-Technology G-Safe Review

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With the ever increasing sizes of media files, data files, and Time Machine backups, external storage is becoming a necessity for all Mac owners. This year at Macworld I met with the people from G-Technology concerning their G-Safe drives and they were nice enough to loan me one for a little while for a closer look.

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The G-Safe is a self enclosed two drive enclosure. Like all G-Technology products, it is rock solid. The case is rugged aluminum and the power supply is built-in. The name “G-Safe” is not clever marketing. This thing is built like a tank. No cheap molded plastic here. It includes FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 connectivity. With the right cable, it will work via FireWire 400. It also includes G-Technology’s 3-year warranty.

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Inside are two drives up to 7200 rpm set up in a RAID 1 configuration. That means anything you put on Drive 1 automatically gets copied to Drive 2. Effortless redundancy. If either drive fails, you are already covered. If one drive fails and you replace it, the system rebuilds the backup.

I have to admit that when it comes to back ups, I’m paranoid. This product is, therefore, perfect for me. I know my files are not backed up once, but twice with no extra work. This is useful for any critical data. Obvious examples include iPhoto and Aperture libraries, critical documents, and family video files. If you share my paranoia, this is also perfect for a Time Machine backup. Think about it. In order to lose your critical data, your internal and two external drives would have to all fail.

The G-Safe delivered exactly as promised. Installation was simple and it comes pre-formated for Mac. Yes, that is not a typo. It comes pre-formated for the Mac. You’ve just got to love those guys at G-Technology.

I have a few quibles with the G-Safe. When the fans and drives all run at the same time, it can get pretty noisy. Perhaps a quieter fan would help, but this unit is more about data security than being whisper quiet. Another issue is that you must buy replacement drives from G-Technology. While G-Technology’s prices are about right, it would be more convenient if you could use any drive as a replacement. Since the device comes preloaded with drives, this is not as big of a deal as it first sounds.

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An obvious question is how this device compares to the omni-present Drobo. The G-Safe seems sturdier than the Drobo but doesn’t expand as much or as easily as the Drobo. On the question of price, there is no comparison. You can get the G-Safe with 500 GB of storage for $20 less than the cost of the Drobo alone with no drives. Regardless, a case could be made for both of these units and I think it comes down to specific needs. For instance, if you want a duplicated Time Machine, have a set amount of data, or plan on moving your drive away, the G-Safe is the perfect. If you want something that can easily expand over time, you should look at the Drobo.

The G-Safe includes G-Technology’s 3-year warranty and the price ranges from $479 for 500GB up to $879 for 1.5TB. There are cheaper solutions but in my opinion, the extra value is worth it. If you are looking for a safe, reliable place for your important data, take a good look at the G-Safe.

You can listen to this review on the MacReviewCast Episode 200.

55 Comments G-Technology G-Safe Review

  1. davep116@gmail.com

    Some questions…
    1) Drobo uses a proprietary format… the drives can’t be removed from the Drobo and read by Mac OS X. Is this true for G-Safe too?
    2) Is there a way to use this in a NAS configuration (a network drive)?
    3) If there is a ‘soft’ write error, is that error duplicated on the 2nd drive?

    Reply
  2. davep116@gmail.com

    Some questions…
    1) Drobo uses a proprietary format… the drives can’t be removed from the Drobo and read by Mac OS X. Is this true for G-Safe too?
    2) Is there a way to use this in a NAS configuration (a network drive)?
    3) If there is a ‘soft’ write error, is that error duplicated on the 2nd drive?

    Reply
  3. davep116@gmail.com

    Some questions…
    1) Drobo uses a proprietary format… the drives can’t be removed from the Drobo and read by Mac OS X. Is this true for G-Safe too?
    2) Is there a way to use this in a NAS configuration (a network drive)?
    3) If there is a ‘soft’ write error, is that error duplicated on the 2nd drive?

    Reply
  4. davep116@gmail.com

    Some questions…
    1) Drobo uses a proprietary format… the drives can’t be removed from the Drobo and read by Mac OS X. Is this true for G-Safe too?
    2) Is there a way to use this in a NAS configuration (a network drive)?
    3) If there is a ‘soft’ write error, is that error duplicated on the 2nd drive?

    Reply
  5. davep116@gmail.com

    Some questions…
    1) Drobo uses a proprietary format… the drives can’t be removed from the Drobo and read by Mac OS X. Is this true for G-Safe too?
    2) Is there a way to use this in a NAS configuration (a network drive)?
    3) If there is a ‘soft’ write error, is that error duplicated on the 2nd drive?

    Reply
  6. amellowguy@yahoo.com

    While this product sounds nice in theory, I really don’t like the idea of being tied to a single vendor for replacement hard drives. What if G-Tech goes out of business, or “sunsets” this product and discontinues the specific drives needed for this device? At least with the Drobo, you can still use the enclosure and replace the drives for as long as the enclosure lasts, regardless of what Data Robotics decides to do.

    Reply
  7. amellowguy@yahoo.com

    While this product sounds nice in theory, I really don’t like the idea of being tied to a single vendor for replacement hard drives. What if G-Tech goes out of business, or “sunsets” this product and discontinues the specific drives needed for this device? At least with the Drobo, you can still use the enclosure and replace the drives for as long as the enclosure lasts, regardless of what Data Robotics decides to do.

    Reply
  8. amellowguy@yahoo.com

    While this product sounds nice in theory, I really don’t like the idea of being tied to a single vendor for replacement hard drives. What if G-Tech goes out of business, or “sunsets” this product and discontinues the specific drives needed for this device? At least with the Drobo, you can still use the enclosure and replace the drives for as long as the enclosure lasts, regardless of what Data Robotics decides to do.

    Reply
  9. amellowguy@yahoo.com

    While this product sounds nice in theory, I really don’t like the idea of being tied to a single vendor for replacement hard drives. What if G-Tech goes out of business, or “sunsets” this product and discontinues the specific drives needed for this device? At least with the Drobo, you can still use the enclosure and replace the drives for as long as the enclosure lasts, regardless of what Data Robotics decides to do.

    Reply
  10. amellowguy@yahoo.com

    While this product sounds nice in theory, I really don’t like the idea of being tied to a single vendor for replacement hard drives. What if G-Tech goes out of business, or “sunsets” this product and discontinues the specific drives needed for this device? At least with the Drobo, you can still use the enclosure and replace the drives for as long as the enclosure lasts, regardless of what Data Robotics decides to do.

    Reply
  11. davep116@gmail.com

    Yes, the Drobo can use several brands of drive but if Data Robotics goes out of business you’re hung out to dry. A Data Robotics tech told me the product requires special drivers that must be compatible with Mac OS X, and it is because of these drivers that the Drobo is not supported by Data Robtoics as a boot volume. Is the G-Safe supported by G-Technology as a boot volume? Does the G-Safe use special drivers, or does it use the RAID software built into Mac OS X?

    Reply
  12. davep116@gmail.com

    Yes, the Drobo can use several brands of drive but if Data Robotics goes out of business you’re hung out to dry. A Data Robotics tech told me the product requires special drivers that must be compatible with Mac OS X, and it is because of these drivers that the Drobo is not supported by Data Robtoics as a boot volume. Is the G-Safe supported by G-Technology as a boot volume? Does the G-Safe use special drivers, or does it use the RAID software built into Mac OS X?

    Reply
  13. davep116@gmail.com

    Yes, the Drobo can use several brands of drive but if Data Robotics goes out of business you’re hung out to dry. A Data Robotics tech told me the product requires special drivers that must be compatible with Mac OS X, and it is because of these drivers that the Drobo is not supported by Data Robtoics as a boot volume. Is the G-Safe supported by G-Technology as a boot volume? Does the G-Safe use special drivers, or does it use the RAID software built into Mac OS X?

    Reply
  14. davep116@gmail.com

    Yes, the Drobo can use several brands of drive but if Data Robotics goes out of business you’re hung out to dry. A Data Robotics tech told me the product requires special drivers that must be compatible with Mac OS X, and it is because of these drivers that the Drobo is not supported by Data Robtoics as a boot volume. Is the G-Safe supported by G-Technology as a boot volume? Does the G-Safe use special drivers, or does it use the RAID software built into Mac OS X?

    Reply
  15. davep116@gmail.com

    Yes, the Drobo can use several brands of drive but if Data Robotics goes out of business you’re hung out to dry. A Data Robotics tech told me the product requires special drivers that must be compatible with Mac OS X, and it is because of these drivers that the Drobo is not supported by Data Robtoics as a boot volume. Is the G-Safe supported by G-Technology as a boot volume? Does the G-Safe use special drivers, or does it use the RAID software built into Mac OS X?

    Reply
  16. brandon2084@mac.com

    It has an on-board RAID controller that does all the work, all OS X sees is a single drive, it knows nothing about the RAID. Hence, it works great as a emergency boot drive. I SuperDuper’d my OS X Install Disc to the drive, and then chose it as my Time Machine backup drive. So if I have a failure, all I have to do is boot off the drive and run a TM restore!

    As for using this as a NAS I do NOT recommend it. I ran one attached to an Airport base station, using it as a place to store my iTunes library, and both drives wound up failing. I’m pretty sure it is because the drives never spin down. G Tech happily replaced the entire unit, not just the drives, but alaz, not my data. I just don’t think it is designed to be left switched on all the time, which is sad because thats what most people would want to do with it.

    Reply
  17. brandon2084@mac.com

    It has an on-board RAID controller that does all the work, all OS X sees is a single drive, it knows nothing about the RAID. Hence, it works great as a emergency boot drive. I SuperDuper’d my OS X Install Disc to the drive, and then chose it as my Time Machine backup drive. So if I have a failure, all I have to do is boot off the drive and run a TM restore!

    As for using this as a NAS I do NOT recommend it. I ran one attached to an Airport base station, using it as a place to store my iTunes library, and both drives wound up failing. I’m pretty sure it is because the drives never spin down. G Tech happily replaced the entire unit, not just the drives, but alaz, not my data. I just don’t think it is designed to be left switched on all the time, which is sad because thats what most people would want to do with it.

    Reply
  18. brandon2084@mac.com

    It has an on-board RAID controller that does all the work, all OS X sees is a single drive, it knows nothing about the RAID. Hence, it works great as a emergency boot drive. I SuperDuper’d my OS X Install Disc to the drive, and then chose it as my Time Machine backup drive. So if I have a failure, all I have to do is boot off the drive and run a TM restore!

    As for using this as a NAS I do NOT recommend it. I ran one attached to an Airport base station, using it as a place to store my iTunes library, and both drives wound up failing. I’m pretty sure it is because the drives never spin down. G Tech happily replaced the entire unit, not just the drives, but alaz, not my data. I just don’t think it is designed to be left switched on all the time, which is sad because thats what most people would want to do with it.

    Reply
  19. brandon2084@mac.com

    It has an on-board RAID controller that does all the work, all OS X sees is a single drive, it knows nothing about the RAID. Hence, it works great as a emergency boot drive. I SuperDuper’d my OS X Install Disc to the drive, and then chose it as my Time Machine backup drive. So if I have a failure, all I have to do is boot off the drive and run a TM restore!

    As for using this as a NAS I do NOT recommend it. I ran one attached to an Airport base station, using it as a place to store my iTunes library, and both drives wound up failing. I’m pretty sure it is because the drives never spin down. G Tech happily replaced the entire unit, not just the drives, but alaz, not my data. I just don’t think it is designed to be left switched on all the time, which is sad because thats what most people would want to do with it.

    Reply
  20. brandon2084@mac.com

    It has an on-board RAID controller that does all the work, all OS X sees is a single drive, it knows nothing about the RAID. Hence, it works great as a emergency boot drive. I SuperDuper’d my OS X Install Disc to the drive, and then chose it as my Time Machine backup drive. So if I have a failure, all I have to do is boot off the drive and run a TM restore!

    As for using this as a NAS I do NOT recommend it. I ran one attached to an Airport base station, using it as a place to store my iTunes library, and both drives wound up failing. I’m pretty sure it is because the drives never spin down. G Tech happily replaced the entire unit, not just the drives, but alaz, not my data. I just don’t think it is designed to be left switched on all the time, which is sad because thats what most people would want to do with it.

    Reply
  21. friendsalias-hc@yahoo.co.uk

    They loaned you it, so it was free? And you compared it with … what, exactly? And used it for … how long? What is your opinion worth?

    Reply
  22. friendsalias-hc@yahoo.co.uk

    They loaned you it, so it was free? And you compared it with … what, exactly? And used it for … how long? What is your opinion worth?

    Reply
  23. friendsalias-hc@yahoo.co.uk

    They loaned you it, so it was free? And you compared it with … what, exactly? And used it for … how long? What is your opinion worth?

    Reply
  24. friendsalias-hc@yahoo.co.uk

    They loaned you it, so it was free? And you compared it with … what, exactly? And used it for … how long? What is your opinion worth?

    Reply
  25. friendsalias-hc@yahoo.co.uk

    They loaned you it, so it was free? And you compared it with … what, exactly? And used it for … how long? What is your opinion worth?

    Reply
  26. davidwsparks@mac.com

    @HC "Loaned" means exactly what you'd think it means. I had it long enough to evaluate it, write the review, and send it back. The review doesn't compare the product to other manufacturers because this wasn't a comparison review. I'm sure Google can help you find other reviews.

    Reply
  27. davidwsparks@mac.com

    @HC "Loaned" means exactly what you'd think it means. I had it long enough to evaluate it, write the review, and send it back. The review doesn't compare the product to other manufacturers because this wasn't a comparison review. I'm sure Google can help you find other reviews.

    Reply
  28. davidwsparks@mac.com

    @HC "Loaned" means exactly what you'd think it means. I had it long enough to evaluate it, write the review, and send it back. The review doesn't compare the product to other manufacturers because this wasn't a comparison review. I'm sure Google can help you find other reviews.

    Reply
  29. davidwsparks@mac.com

    @HC "Loaned" means exactly what you'd think it means. I had it long enough to evaluate it, write the review, and send it back. The review doesn't compare the product to other manufacturers because this wasn't a comparison review. I'm sure Google can help you find other reviews.

    Reply
  30. davidwsparks@mac.com

    @HC "Loaned" means exactly what you'd think it means. I had it long enough to evaluate it, write the review, and send it back. The review doesn't compare the product to other manufacturers because this wasn't a comparison review. I'm sure Google can help you find other reviews.

    Reply

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