G-Technology External Hard Drive For Mac, USB have it all?

By Paul Gregory / June 2, 2018

The G DRIVE 4TB USB 3.0 external hard drive is part of a strong product line of high capacity, high performing drives. Designed to look good on the desktop the G-Technology external hard drive for mac is clearly aimed at the Mac user. And I’ll tell you in the article why.

The question I set out to answer in this review is “Does this G Drive USB 4TB have it all?”

Starting with a 2TB hard drive the range moves all the way up to its maximum storage size of 10TB.

I think you’ll agree G-Technology’s G-Drive gives plenty for those of you needing serious amounts of storage.

And I’m thinking of those of you who do photo editing or video editing on your Macbook Pro.

Pre-formatted in HFS+ for Mac and with USB 3.0 connectivity. Simply plug in and your Mac recognises the G DRIVE. Could it be easier?

(For the very latest Macbook Pro with Thunderbolt ports you will require a Thunderbolt/USB C to USB 3.0 adaptor cable to connect the G DRIVE)

This ease of use is an important reason that Mac users consider the G Drive to be among the best external hard drives in its class for a Mac.

The sleek case echo the brushed metallic surface of a Macbook Pro and the wide options for connectivity only adds to its appeal.

Why not see what the drive looks like? I found this YouTube video from G-Technology the manufacturers of the external hard drive. Have a look.

Benefits of the G-Technology 4TB G DRIVE

Why did I choose to focus on the 4TB external hard drive when the G DRIVE range goes from 2TB up to 10TB and delivers on good looks, reliability and durability?

Because it is the sweet storage machine for those who want this level of capacity, with performance and a wide range of features.

One potential downside of the USB 3.0 version of this drive is its absence of direct Thunderbolt connectivity. I’ll tell you later why there is little need to worry about that.

Who Manufactures the G Drive USB 4TB?

G-Technology a Hitachi subsidiary now wholly owned by Western Digital specialises in high end fast hard drives for professional and home users, has proven itself more than capable of addressing the wants and needs of its target –

consumers of high-performance hard drives.

Attractive Design

On your office table it will take up 5 inches x 7.7 inches x 1.26 inches (Height) and believe me it’ll look good next to your Macbook Pro.

It’s small enough to be taken with you yet still feel substantial.

Note though this drive is not designed to be portable or rugged so if you are taking it with you on editing projects be sure to provide it with a robust case. While you should be careful about damaging it by dropping it on hard surfaces, the casing appears to be structurally sound.

And there’s more…

The casing is made entirely of strong and sturdy aluminium which also has the added benefit that it is recyclable – something G-Technology points out in its product literature.

With perforations on the sides and front for ventilation purposes, this helps protects the enclosed 7,200 RPM hard drive from overheating.

The ultra smart G on the front makes the G Drive USB 4TB look impressive with the white LED status light located also on the front, that shows when the drive is switched on and operating.

The G drive USB is whisper-quiet in operation –

which is a bonus and this is due to its fan less cooling construction. A benefit especially when unwanted background noises from your computer’s accessories are inconvenient if you are recording sound or just simply annoying and add to your stress levels when you are working long hours.

Take a look at the Amazon Reviews on the G-Technology G-drive.

Over 70% have rated the G DRIVE USB 4TB as five star, which is a ringing endorsement of this hard drive.

What is in the Box:

It comes with:

  • 1 x USB cable 3.0
  • 1 x Esata cable
  • 1 x FireWire 800 cable
  • AC Adaptor

G-technology External Hard Drive for Mac Connectivity

The ports at the back of the hard drive include a power input, a USB 3.0 port that is also backward compatible with USB 2.0 devices. Two FireWire ports and there is also a power switch next to the power input.

Truly it has it all in terms of flexibility – ways to plug into your Mac.

It has a slim power adapter designed so that it only occupies a single power outlet when plugged in.

That said some users seem to be using the drive successfully by simply plugging in the G Drive USB cable into their USB 3.0 port.

Although I can’t recommend this as the G DRIVE’s product manual clearly states that it should be connected to an external power socket.

It could be useful to power it from your USB 3.0 port for those projects where you want to take the drive physically with you.

Note that: For the very latest Macbook Pro you will require a Thunderbolt/USB C to USB 3.0 adaptor cable to connect the G DRIVE.

Hard Drive Capacities

G DRIVE USB 3.0 comes in eight capacities, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, 8TB and 10TB. Plenty of storage for HD video’s, large photography farms and photo editing.

The industry considers the 4TB sized drive as the sweet spot for most professional users. When tested, we discovered that this model has fast USB 3.0 performance. The 7,200 RPM hard drive definitely delivers on the promise of high-performance even after several months of use.

The USB 3.0 interface surpasses Firewire 800 in terms of raw performance.

In our test, we achieved a reliable 140MB/second read and write speeds on the 4TB G DRIVE with its 165MB/second peak transfer rate on a Macbook Pro. That’s twice as fast as the read and write speeds we can get from a 2TB G DRIVE  hard drive using Firewire 800.

4TB G DRIVE Set Up and Use

Pre-formatted in HFS+ for Mac so the G Drive is plug in and play.

When you attach the G DRIVE 4TB hard drive to the Macbook Pro for the first time the Mac detects the hard drive and an icon representing the G Drive appears on your desktop.

External Drive Icon On Desktop

External Drive Icon On Desktop

The Mac also launches the Time Machine software on the assumption that you would like to use this external hard drive as a Time Machine backup device.

The Time Machine dialogue box comes up and if it is the first time you have used Time Machine the slider button will be set to OFF. To indeed use the G Drive as a Time Machine back up device you can turn the slider to ON; otherwise…

If you would prefer to use your G Drive to store your files or photo’s, video’s etc and to directly work from and not use for Time Machine backup. Exit out of Time Machine.

and you can create folders,

Move to and from the G Drive in the finder window,

Drag and Drop files, create files as you would on your own internal hard drive.

To use The G Drive 4TB USB 3.0 with Time Machine

Go to Time Machine preferences while the G Drive is connected and

you simply select the G DRIVE as the Time Machine back up disk. Then by default when the drive is connected Time Machine will take an hourly back up.

The very first back up is a full back up of your entire Macbook Pro internal hard drive (note this could take some time) after that Time Machine does incremental backup’s.

If you want more detail on setting up an external hard drive for Time Machine you can check out my article on the site.

When you are ready to disconnect the hard drive do ensure you right click on it on your desktop and eject it first.

Right Click to Eject External Drive

Right Click to Eject External Drive

This ensures your Macbook writes all it needs to down to the hard drive and shuts it down cleanly before you pull out the G Drive USB cable. This saves you from corrupting your G DRIVE.

Using the G Drive USB 4TB between a Mac and a Windows PC

The G DRIVE is versatile. If you happen to have Windows computers and you would like to share the drive between your Macbook Pro and a Windows PC you can format the whole drive as ExFAT. That is if you want the complete drive as shareable. or

partition the drive up so that it has a partition for Time Machine and a shared partition for Windows.

I have an article on how to do that here.

Lack of Thunderbolt

As previously mentioned, the G DRIVE USB 4TB doesn’t have a Thunderbolt port.

Drives with Thunderbolt ports do tend to be more expensive. This may be a non-issue for many Mac users

those with USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 ports or Firewire – you just plug straight in.

If you haven’t got the latest Macbook Pro.

If you have the Latest Macbook Pro then a Thunderbolt to USB 3.0 adaptor will allow you to take advantage of the cheaper drive for little decrease in performance for most. Some users report no decrease in hard drive performance due to lack of direct Thunderbolt connectivity.

You can take a look at the extensive G-DRIVE User Manual here

Pros

  • Beautiful and durable housing to fit in with your Macbook Pro
  • 7,200 RPM hard drive coupled with USB 3.0 capacity for high-speed data transfers
  • Plug-and-play set up making it easy to connect to your Macbook Pro
  • Ready set up for easy Time Machine backups
  • Wide range of available disk capacities
  • Comes with 3-year limited warranty

Cons

  • No direct Thunderbolt connectivity (need an USB to Thunderbolt adaptor on the newest Macbook Pro’s

Conclusion

G-Technology’s G-drive is a consistent favourite for professionals in fields as diverse as finance to filmmaking and for good reason.

Many of those users were day-one adopters of Apple’s MacBook Pro and iMac’s. You demand features like plenty of hard disk space, reliable performance, and fast interfaces, which the G-Technology external hard drive for mac delivers in spades.

I think, yes, the G Drive USB 4TB has it all (apart from Thunderbolt connections) and you may not care about that, because this hard drive performs.

The G DRIVE 4TB USB 3.0 is well worth the money when you consider its top notch performance,

range of storage capacities and the ability to plug and play with your Macbook.

Interested in hearing about other Top External Hard Drives for your Macbook Pro? You can take a look at my selection on the site.

 

Image Credit Flickr Creative Commons: Travis Isaacs (https://www.flickr.com/photos/tbisaacs/)

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