Review: WiebeTech MicroGB+ FireWire Hard Drive

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Date: Thursday, March 6th, 2003, 09:00
Category: Archive

WiebeTech MicroGB+Everyone needs a little extra space, right? Absolutely. If you are like me you probably don’t archive nearly enough data and you have tons of old data that gets moved from machine to machine. A backup hard drive should be a consideration if you don’t already own one, and a micro FireWire drive will come in handy if you can afford to pay a few extra shekels. Click ‘Read More’ for the whole story…


WiebeTech MicroGB+Everyone needs a little extra space, right? Absolutely. If you are like me you probably don’t archive nearly enough data and you have tons of old data that gets moved from machine to machine. A backup hard drive should be a consideration if you don’t already own one, and a micro FireWire drive will come in handy if you can afford to pay a few extra shekels.
A 2.5-inch FireWire hard drive has the benefits of being small and portable and doesn’t require a separate power supply – a boon for the mobile technologist. The other advantage that is easy to overlook is the incredible 400 Mbps performance of FireWire.
The MicroGB+ from WiebeTech is a pocket-sized mobile storage device – translation: a small, external FireWire hard drive. Of the units I’ve tested the WiebeTech is the smallest and fastest yet. It features two FireWire 400 Mbps ports, and on/off switch and a tiny footprint.
The first thing to consider in such a device is the hard drive mechanism itself. WiebeTech offers high speed (5400 RPM) 20 and 40GB drives with either 8MB or 16MB of cache and 30, 40, and 60GB regular speed (4200 RPM) drives. The drive I tested was a 40GB HS+ (MPL-40EX) sporting a Toshiba 4019GAX mechanism.
The fit and finish of the drive is tight and polished. Needless to say, the small (2.98″ x 4.98″ x 0.62″) enclosure fits in your pocket and could easily get lost in a modest PowerBook bag. Performance is excellent with a sustained read average of 31.10MB/s and a sustained write average of 20.68MB/s. The MicroGB+ trounced my internal PowerBook HDD (IBM Travelstar 60GH 60GB Ultra ATA/100, 2.5in, 5400 RPM) which scored 25.58MB/s and 10.83MB/s respectively.
Many people (like Apple) diminish the importance of a fast PowerBook hard drive, but if you are moving lots of data or regularly work with very large files you will benefit from a faster HDD mechanism immediately.
The MicroGB+ includes a FW cable, carrying case and a license of MediaFourMacDrive 5 cross platform compatibility software (a US$60 value.) The MicroGB+ is also available in a user configurable version for US$100 which allows installation of any 9.5mm notebook drive – perfect for when you upgrade your PowerBook’s internal HDD.
WiebeTech FireWire keychainSidebar: If you are looking for an even smaller device to store files on check out WiebeTech’s FireWire Keychain, a small anodized aluminum enclosure for a Compact Flash card with an Oxford OXFW911 FireWire bridge chip and single FW port. At 2.35″ x 1.75″ x 0.75″ the FW can store and transport your important files without the weight and expense of something bigger. Add a 1GB IBM Microdrive and you have a gigabyte of FW storage on your keyring.
WiebeTech
Micro GB+ (40GB SH+) FireWire Hard Drive – US$320
FireWire keychain with 1GB IBM MicroDrive CF card – US$359
WiebeTech LLC
316 744 8722
http://www.wiebetech.com/
PowerPage Rating: 5 bolts (out of 5)  BORDER= BORDER= BORDER= BORDER= BORDER=

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