Verbatim USB 3.0 Desktop Hard Drive

      Photo Review 8.5

      In summary

      High-capacity backup drives with the new SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface that is 10x faster than USB 2.0 connections. With the release of two USB 3.0 ‘Super Speed’ Desktop Hard Drives, Verbatim joins the growing number of storage product manufacturers releasing devices with high-speed interfaces. Although the USB 3.0 interface hasn’t appeared in many laptops so far, most of the latest desktop computers provide it as an option (although you may have to request it specially). For photographers who want to transfer large image and video files it has a huge advantage because it’s up to ten times as fast as existing USB 2.0 connections. . . [more]

      Full review


      With the release of two USB 3.0 ‘Super Speed’ Desktop Hard Drives, Verbatim joins the growing number of storage product manufacturers releasing devices with high-speed interfaces. Although the USB 3.0 interface hasn’t appeared in many laptops so far, most of the latest desktop computers provide it as an option (although you may have to request it specially). For photographers who want to transfer large image and video files it has a huge advantage because it’s up to ten times as fast as existing USB 2.0 connections.


      The 2TB Verbatim USB 3.0 ‘Super Speed’ Desktop Hard Drive, shown in its retail packaging. (Source: Verbatim.)

      Two capacities are available: 1TB and 2TB, each offered in a sturdy metal enclosure with a matte ‘black steel’ finish. Even if your current computer lacks a USB 3.0 port, both Verbatim USB 3.0 Desktop Hard Drives are backwards compatible with USB 2.0 ports. They also come with the option of an included PCIe card for seamless USB 3.0 connectivity.

      Each drive is designed to be placed either flat on a desktop or stood vertically to conserve desk space. In either orientation, you must avoid covering the drive with anything that might block airflow around the unit.

      The base plate is punctured with ventilation holes and four rubber feet raise it above the desktop to prevent it from overheating. Additional vents are located on the end panel where the power and USB connectors and power switch reside.

      The rest of the case is unadorned, save for the Verbatim logo on the top panel and an indicator LED on the front that glows when it’s powered up. Each drive is supplied with a standard, plug-in AC adaptor and 60 cm long USB 3.0 cable, both of which are connected to sockets on the rear panel.


      Front view of the Verbatim USB 3.0 ‘Super Speed’ Desktop Hard Drive. (Source: Verbatim.)

      To take advantage of the fast USB 3.0 speed you must use the cable that ships with the drive. If you use a regular cable, you can only get USB 2.0 connection speeds.

      The bundled software is pre-loaded on the drive and consists of Nero BackItUp and Burn Essentials Software, which is Windows-only, plus Green Button energy saving software. Nero BackItUp and Burn Essentials comprises three applications: BackItUp, Nero Express for burning files to CD or DVD and Nero RescueAgent for recovering damaged files.

      Green Button software sets the drive to sleep mode by stopping the hard drive from spinning when it’s not in use. This energy-saving strategy comes with three ‘Sleep Setting’ options. You can set the drive to move into sleep mode after 10 minutes of use, or by increments of 10 minutes up to 120 minutes. Alternatively, you can set the drive to suspend immediately when you double-click the Green Button icon on the desktop, or set the drive to ‘Never Suspend the disk’.

      When you power-up the drive and connect it to your computer, the drive should be recognised automatically and a new icon should appear on the desktop. The software installation should also begin automatically with the opening of a wizard-based set of windows that takes you step-by-step through the installation process.


      You’ll be asked if you want to install the Nero Ask Toolbar and make Ask your default browser (which you don’t have accept) in the early stages of the setup process.


      For some inexplicable reason, additional items must be installed and you’ll be required to reboot the computer before you can install the Nero applications.


      Installation of Nero BackItUp and Burn is straightforward and you can choose between a Complete or Custom installation. The process takes approximately five minutes. Once this has been done, Nero BackItUp and Burn Essentials opens automatically and you can begin configuring it to backup important files. The first step involves selecting the files to backup.


      Then next step is to choose where to put them. Five options are provided: Hard Disks, Optical Disk, Removable Devices, network and Online Storage. By default, the Verbatim drive appears in the Path dialog box and you can use the Browse button to navigate to a backup folder you’ve set up on the drive.


      Step 3 involves configuring your backup, which means you have to select the type of backup (Full, Incremental, Differential or Update), name the backup, choose when backing up should take place and set compression and encryption options. Depending on what you select, you may trigger a message telling you ‘Nero Product Required’.


      This indicates the action you selected isn’t available with the ‘Essentials’ version provided but clicking on the ‘Buy Now’ button on the screen will take you to an upgrade. We followed this trail, only to find that the online reselling facility doesn’t handle orders from Australia, which isn’t much help.


      The solution is to step backwards and try another backup type (we found ‘Full Backup’ worked). The final page allows you to start a new backup with the settings you have selected – or return to the start page and reset the backup parameters.
      The software interface is clean-looking and mostly easy to understand. The toolbar in the main window contains five tabs covering: Backup, Restore, Sync, Tools and Upgrade. Backup options include Autobackup, File Backup, Drive backup, Verification and Job View.

      The Restore tab lets you choose between Restore Files and Restore Drives, while the Synch tab lets you define a new synchronisation job or view current synch settings. The Tools tab provides four settings: Create ImageTool Disc (a disaster recovery disc), Create SyncTool Media, Erase Disc and Disc Info. The Upgrade tab takes you to the site that doesn’t handle orders from Australia.

      To test data transfer speeds, we copied folders of digital files back and forth between the drive and our computer, which is equipped with an Intel Core i7 CPU 870 running at 2.93GHz and 8GB of DDR3 RAM plus a 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium operating system. The first test involved a folder with 3.7GB of miscellaneous files (mainly programs and documents), which simulates installing applications and backing up system files. In the second test, we used a 23.8GB folder containing mainly image files but with roughly one gigabyte of documents of various types.

      Using the USB 3.0 port on our computer, the drive transferred the 3.7GB folder at rate of 17.25 megabytes/second (MBps). For the large folder, the transfer rate was substantially faster at 98.47 MBps. The discrepancy in write speeds is probably due to the drive having to make many more movements during the transfer.

      When we switched to the USB 2 Hi-Speed port, the difference between the write speeds decreased quite dramatically, with the 23.8GB folder being written at 16.7 MBps and the 3.7GB folder at 15.65 MBps. Essentially, this means you would gain a much greater speed advantage when backing up large amounts of data to this drive than you would when backing up small quantities, although you’ll also get a slight speed advantage for the latter.

      The backup software appeared to do its job reasonably well, although it didn’t backup the files to the folder we set up for the purpose, instead, saving them to a file titled ‘Nero Local Autobackup’. This file contained everything on the computer’s C drive – including folders we hadn’t specified for backing up. (Presumably it’s safer to have too many files than too few.)

      A mildly irritating feature was the supplied power adapter, which is configured so that the plug covers two outlets on a power board – and the lead coming from it most of the third outlet. It would have been better if the plug was rotated through 90 degrees so that adjacent plugs remain usable.

      At a storage cost of between 10 cents and 12 cents per gigabyte, both of these drives represent excellent value for money. They are competitively priced and come with a two-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.

      Buy this drive if:
      – Your computer is USB 3.0-ready and you require a high-capacity backup storage system.
      – You’re planning to upgrade your computer and need a backup drive that will be forwards-compatible for fast access to stored files.
      – You want a backup drive that enables you to optimise power consumption.
      Don’t buy this drive if:
      – You require portable data storage.
      – You are committed to USB 2.0 or slower interfaces and unlikely to change in the near future.

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      Type: 8.89cm (3.5-inch) format external hard disk drive
      Capacity: Available in 1TB and 2TB capacities
      Operating systems: Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7; Mac OS X 10.1 or higher; Linux kernel 2.6 and higher
      Interface: USB 3.0 port (backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.1)
      Data transfer rate: Up to 4.8Gbit/sec
      Power supply: AC power adaptor (included)
      Bundled software: Nero BackItUp and Burn Essentials Software (Windows only); Green Button energy saving software
      Dimensions: 202 x 114 x 40 mm
      Weight: Approx. 1.0 kg





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      RRP: 1TB $114; 2TB $209

      Rating (out of 10):

      • Build: 8.5
      • Software: 8.0
      • Speed: 9.0
      • OVERALL: 8.5