by Alexandra Haskell

G-Technology G-DOCK ev with Thunderbolt Review

The G-Dock ev with Thunderbolt is designed for heavy media users needing high performance transfer speeds and the ability to work on digital content efficiently. The G-Dock is a one of a kind dual-bay storage system and ships with two G-Drive ev hard drives that are dual purpose. Plug the cartridge-esque hard drives into the G-Dock to experience the high performance Thunderbolt interface. Take the drives out and connect via USB 3.0 for fast portable drive access. While the G-Dock ev is built around on-the-go Mac users who need portable storage at the desk and on the go, the ev also offers flexibility for unique workflows like production workflows that require the frequent sharing of large file sets. 

Each G-Drive ev USB 3.0 hard drive that comes with the G-Dock is 1TB and has transfer speeds up to 136MB/s. Street pricing is $655 at the time of this review, which includes two 1TB portable hard drives and a 3 year limited warranty. Additional 1TB HDD units carry a street price of $180. 

Specs

  • Comes with:
    • G-DOCK device with Thunderbolt
    • 2x 1TB G-Drive ev USB 3.0 hard drives
    • 2 USB 3.0 cables
    • Thunderbolt cable
    • Universal AC power supply
  • Storage Capacity: 2TB (total between the two HDDs)
  • Dimensions: 7.87" x 5.12" x 3.54"
  • Weight: 5.87 lbs
  • Type: SATA III
  • Drive Speed: 7200 RPM
  • Write Speed: up to 250 MB/s
  • Cooling fan
  • 3 year limited warranty

Design and Build

The G-Dock ev with Thunderbolt is built to integrate well with Mac users with its aluminum body and polished design. The drive caddies have high quality feel to them, and perforated sides allow for ventilation and give it a stylish, rugged look. Light up notifications display when each drive is slid into the G-Dock with a gratifying click. The docking station itself is also very durable, with active cooling via a fan on the rear of the unit. 

The backside of the G-Dock has 2 Thunderbolt connections, the G-Tech logo, lock port and power button. The hard drives themselves also look pretty sleek with their aluminum enclosures that are rigid and secure. The only down side is the drives ship with plastic covers for the SATA ports, which will certainly get lost. The ports are recessed though so it's probably not a huge deal. Each drive also has a USB 3.0 port for direct conenction outside of the ev enclosure.

Performance

To test the G-DOCK ev, we measured bandwidth over Thunderbolt connected to a mid-2013 Apple MacBook Air using the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test with a 5GB test file. We tested the single cartridge and again with both drives in RAID0. Single cartridge results showed 118.3MB/s read and 119.3MB/s write speeds. Since there are no real competitors with this unique product, we have stacked up the performance of the hard drives against the G-Drive mini previously reviewed. The G-Drive mini has comparable performance, measuring 127.6MB/s and 121.2MB/s read/write speeds. 

When testing the G-Dock ev with both disks in RAID0, we saw read and write speeds of 233.9MB/s and 241.9MB/s respectively. There are few use cases where RAID0 in this device actually makes sense, but this test shows the top-end of what could be expected in a two bay ev. Clearly HGST continues to differentiate from a performance perspective by continuing to leverage 7,200 RPM hard drives inside, where many portables have dropped to lower-cost 5K HDDs. 

Conclusion

The G-Dock ev with Thunderbolt is designed for the digital media professional dealing with a heavy load of digital content in multiple locations. Each hard drive, with a 1TB capacity and 7,200 RPM spindle speed, showed outstanding performance in our testing. The ev enclosure and the drive enclosures are both extremely well-built, but we'd expect nothing less form the HGST G-Technology family. 

From a usability perspective, the system itself is unique, so it's difficult to compare to other solutions in the market. Comparing to individual portable hard drive, the ev is more elegant with the cartridge element, making it easier and faster to swap drives around. On the other hand the drives all look the same, so playing with a stack of these on a desk will get confusing without a labeling scheme. Because of that potential confusion, it's also probably best to use these drives individually, rather than in RAID. When compared to a more typical desktop DAS desktop solution, the ev offers less direct connected capacity, but wins in flexibility. 

Overall, the G-Dock ev is going to be one of those things that when you see it as a creative professional it will either make a ton of sense for a particular workflow or it won't. We can't recommend everyone go out and buy one immediately, but for those professionals who routinely want to work with their file sets in the office, multiple offices, or they have to physically ship drives around frequently, this solution may be a perfect fit. 

Pros

  • Superior design
  • High transfer speeds when both drives are running
  • Thunderbolt connectivity

Cons

  • Limited to 2 bays for now
  • Could use an easy way to visually differentiate between drives

Bottom line

The G-Dock ev with Thunderbolt offers a unique solution for digital media professionals seeking rapid transfers and a clean integration with Mac, both visually and functionally. This product is a one-stop-shop for portable storage, flexibility for unique workflows, and performance.

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