For anybody who thinks all external hard drives are the same, you've clearly never seen Seagate's GoFlex range.

GoFlex's ports are built into a removable section that plugs into the main body of the drive using a SATA connector. This can be replaced with another adapter offering a different connectivity technology.

The model reviewed here is USB 3.0 (so Mac users can only get USB 2.0 speeds), but if you'd rather use FireWire, you can just buy a new adapter. A Thunderbolt version will no doubt follow soon, as it has already for portable GoFlex drives.

The drive is NTFS-formatted out of the box, and comes with a driver so Macs can both read and write this popular PC protocol. Or you can effortlessly reformat it to Mac OS using the bundled setup assistant.

Backup and drive management utilities are also included, and there's an LED capacity gauge on the front of the drive, so you always have an approximate idea of how much space remains unused. And at around 17.5p per GB, it's pretty good value for money considering its capacity.

In our QuickBench tests, Seagate GoFlex Desk managed to achieve random read speeds of 14.237MB/s, and random writes of 19.312MB/s, which is about what you'd expect for a drive running at USB 2.0 speeds.

In fact, the only drawbacks with this hard drive are fairly minor in that the connectivity unit is difficult to pull free, and it picks up fingerprints extremely easily. However, as it spends most of its time sat on your desk, neither of these problems is particularly significant.

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