The New King of Speed: The G-Drive Mobile Pro SSD is stinkin’ fast y’all
posted Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 11:32 AM EDT
I have a sort of... obsession with fast storage drives. As a San Francisco commercial videographer and filmmaker with terabytes of 4K+ content in my possession, being limited by the speeds of my storage media feels like a problem with way too many solutions nowadays to let stand unchallenged. It's why I run large RAID towers at home, and use high-speed SSDs when on the road. There are a lot of USB-C SSD storage devices out there on the market right now, but there aren't many that take full advantage of the bandwidth provided by Thunderbolt 3. Looking over my devices now, there is only one I've tested, and it absolutely shatters the speed ceilings set by regular USB-C drives. That drive is the G-Drive Mobile Pro SSD, and it's easily the fastest storage drive I own; and I mean for both desktop and mobile applications.
A while back I reviewed the G-Drive Mobile SSD, which I praised for it's "straight-up sexy" design and very good performance. Compared to the field, it's still one of the best options for both high-end looks and top-tier performance. With a 519 MB/s read speed and 339.9 MB/s write speed, it's up there at the top of the USB-C solid state drives available today.
But boy, you may notice that the word "Pro" was left off that product descriptor, and what G-Tech has done when they put it on a product really shows why. The G-Drive Mobile Pro SSD crushes the non-pro device with some of the most insane transfer speeds I've ever seen on any device.
I am starting here talking about transfer speeds, which I usually leave for the end of a review, because these ones are just so gosh-darned good. Like, stupid good. Look at these:
Even with just USB-C, the speed scores are more then three times faster than the standard Mobile SSD, but with Thunderbolt we tested well above 2000 MB/s. For comparative purposes, this is the speed test with my MacBook Pro's built-in SSD:
This SSD is significantly faster than the SSD that came packaged with my computer. That's incredible. This is probably the first device I've tested since Thunderbolt 3 came out that makes me feel like it is truly taking advantage of the bandwidth capabilities of the platform. With this type of speed, even 8K video is supported.
I will say that G-Technology promised on the box that we would be seeing speeds "up tp 2800 MB/s" and as you can see from our tests above, we didn't really come anywhere near that. But the speeds we are seeing are still so much higher than anything else we've tested thus far that it's hard to be particularly upset. Very rarely do we actually hit the numbers promised by storage manufacturers, and these discrepancies can occur for a variety of reasons with no ill intent meant by the makers.
So aside from absolutely demolishing the competition when it comes to speed, the G-Drive Mobile Pro SSD additionally looks and feels great. In my review of the original standard model, I commented that the design was "sexy as hell" and I stand by those words here in the Pro iteration. Though larger by at least double, the Pro SSD shares as close a resemblance to the original standard model as possible while still being much wider, thicker and a fair bit taller. The result is two clearly different products that share a very nice design aesthetic.
I mentioned the Pro SSD is larger, and it is. Though SSDs themselves don't vary a lot in size, so why is this one bigger? The answer lies in Thunderbolt.
Because the Pro SSD has significantly higher performance than the original, it generates more heat. To address this, G-Technology installed a larger aluminum core to support and dissipate the heat and allowing them to sustain the Pro SSD's performance. Thanks to the larger core, they can keep the performance of the drive consistent through its use without throttling it.
While the Pro SSD is much bigger, it's by no means ungainly or "large." It will still easily fit into bag pockets or pouches and will minimally expand a travel kit.
There is a note I want to make regarding the Pro SSD's switch over to Thunderbolt, and that's its compatibility with USB. If you didn't notice, I didn't test the Pro SSD using USB-A to USB-C, a common speed test I run with our other storage media reviews. The reason I did not do it in this case is because USB-A to USB-C cables don't work with this drive. I was unable to confirm why prior to publication (but will update if I hear otherwise), but I am guessing this is due to the necessary power it takes to run the Pro SSD. Though USB-C to USB-C works, USB-C can also transfer a fair bit more power to the devices it's connected to. So because this drive doesn't seem to work with older USB-A connections, that means it's a bit less versatile than other storage media on the market.
If there is one other small thing I could complain about with regard to this SSD, it's that we can't take full advantage of Thunderbolt's capabilities because there is only one Thunderbolt port on the device. Thunderbolt, in addition to a much bigger bandwidth pipe, also allows for Daisy Chain, or connecting a set of Thunderbolt devices together and piping them into one computer port. It's a very efficient method of connecting a host of products together without taking up more than one port on your computer, and having a second Thunderbolt 3 port on the Pro SSD would allow it to fit into a Thunderbolt 3 ecosystem more effectively.
- Insanely fast transfer rates, the fastest we have ever tested
- Ruggedized exterior makes it durable and shock resistant
- Works with both Thunderbolt and USB-C
- Totally silent operation
- Still relatively small and compact
- Pricey at $229 for 500GB and $629 for 1 TB
- Does not work with USB-A to USB-C cables
In the above cons list, you probably noticed those price points. Yeah, brand new the G-Drive Mobile Pro SSD is $229 for 500 GB and $629 for 1 TB, which is pretty expensive if you're judging it based just on capacity. But the Pro SSD isn't really a capacity-centric device: you're paying for raw speed. If you need this kind of horsepower, it's going to cost you and honestly the $629 isn't that much for a working professional. This device will make video editors' lives a lot better, and that right there is going to be worth it to them. And to me, yes. This is worth it. It's an absolute hot rod of a storage device, and that kind of performance is something my business demands.