At some point in the relatively-near future, the traditional hard drive-comprised of spinning platters of magnetic material will disappear from the marketplace. The fragility of conventional drives is offset by the low cost of production, but as solid-state memory drops in price, the cost benefits of sticking with a large, delicate recording device in computers will disappear and Solid State Drive (SSD) hard drives will become the norm. The G|Drive mobile SSD is an indication of the shape (and size) of things to come.
Already, computers like the iMac Pro have ditched the hard drive in favor of the SSD, using the extra space gained in the swap to add more high-power processing. Laptops are almost universally SSD-driven, and the primary remaining use of traditional drives is in high-capacity storage where fast speeds aren’t necessary, and the price is a primary concern.
The benefits of SSD drives are twofold; the chip-based storage offers both high speed, and small size. The G-Technology G|Drive mobile SSD is a perfect example of how this storage transition will change how photographers and videographers work.
G|Drive mobile SSD
The G|Drive mobile SSD is smaller than the Apple mouse I’m using while writing this review, smaller in every dimension. I can put the G|Drive mobile SSD in my pocket, and it feels less cumbersome than my wallet.
The G|Drive mobile SSD comes in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB configurations, priced at $180, $350 and $750, respectively. With its ultra-fast USB-C connection, the G|Drive mobile SSD hits speeds of up to 560MB/s and in our testing, we can get sustained rates of about 530MB/s for regular read/write cycles.
The G|Drive mobile SSD 1TB model accompanied me on a recent video and photo shoot, and I used it for all primary storage and editing of footage for Final Cut Pro and catalog storage for Capture One Pro. Thanks to the performance, I was able to dump massive amounts of footage onto the G|Drive mobile SSD in a fraction of the time a solid state drive would take. In fact, a multi-gigabyte copy operation from the G|Drive mobile SSD to the internal SSD that took around two minutes took more than 20 minutes to achieve on another portable hard drive with 5400RPM speeds. Eighteen minutes is a lot of time to regain on a shoot for a single task.
The drive was also fast enough that it ably served as my primary work drive for Final Cut Pro video editing, and thanks to small size I could work with the MacBook Pro and the G|Drive mobile SSD a plane, tucking the drive into the magazine pouch on the seat in front of me.
The G|Drive mobile SSD is an unusual product in that there’s nothing negative to say about it. The prices are, naturally, higher than comparably-sized traditional drives, but the prices are much lower than they were just a few years ago. For creatives generating a lot of content on a shoot, who don’t want to bring a more extensive “transportable” system, this is a great solution. For even a two-day video shoot, a 2TB drive would be a good choice, although it would also be practical to use a 1TB G|Drive mobile SSD for proxy and optimized media, and a larger traditional drive for storage of large files. This setup would allow for fast video editing with the 1TB unit and another, more affordable system of data storage for the original files.
While we’re not quite at the era where all drives are inexpensive flash-based media, we’re getting close, and the combination of power and performance of the G|Drive mobile SSD results in an excellent on-location storage choice, at a reasonable price.