Que! M2 10GB Firewire Drive, by QPS
Posted: 7-Mar-2001

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: QPS Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Bill Catambay Class: HARDWARE

The Que! M2 Quadslim hard drive is a very slim and light firewire drive from QPS. The drives come in 6GB, 10GB, 20GB and 30GB sizes. This review was done on the 10GB firewire drive.

I was immediately impressed with the packaging when the drive came in the mail. Inside the box was a stylish black carrying bag, complete with all the pockets and Velcro flaps needed to store the firewire drive, the CD-ROM, power supply, 2 cables, and a few other extras. The firewire drive itself is exactly as advertised: slim and lightweight. It sports a very cool iMac look (the raised emblem on the top of the drive reminded me of the Federation emblem from Star Trek).

The drive comes with two cables, one to hook the drive up directly to your firewire port on that back of your Mac, and the other to chain your drive to another firewire drive. You can also chain multiple Quadslim drives without a cable by stacking them (there's an extra port on the top and bottom of the drive for just this purpose). The CD-ROM comes with CharisMac drivers and software needed to mount the drive, as well as Restrospect Express, and condensed version of the popular backup software from Dantz.

Due to the small size of this drive, portability is stressed by way of a belt clip which comes in the carrying bag. For those who prefer a stationery position of the drive, it also comes with a suction cup which can attach to your computer using a docking station (plastic label which sticks to your computer). The docking label is permanent, so if you use it, be careful where you decide to apply it.

For this review, I connected the drive directly to my existing 45GB Western Digital firewire drive, and ran it without the power supply. I had to install the software in order for the QPS drive to show up. What was unexpected is that the CharisMac driver took over my Western Digital drive as well.

My first test was to copy 2.4GB of data directly from my Western Digital drive to the Quadslim drive. Note that going from firewire to firewire relies a lot on the stability of the firewire protocol, and from this first test, it would seem that firewire still has room for improvement. After about 700MB of files had been copied, the file transfer halted. In fact, my computer froze, and the Western Digital drive's light was red. The QPS drive still showed a green light, so I'm assuming the problem originated from the Western Digital drive.

I toned down my next test by copying a folder of 185 items, totaling 850MB of disk space. Again, this was from firewire to firewire. The copy completed in less than 10 minutes which was fantastic. Besides the speed, the other thing I really liked about the firewire drives is how quiet they are. You would not even know there was a transfer in progress had there been no copy dialog showing the progress.

In another test, I copied a folder of nearly 3,000 files, totaling 480MB of disk space, from my internal ultra wide SCSI hard drive to the QPS firewire drive. The copy completed in less than 5 minutes flawlessly.

This drive was designed to be stackable with other M2 firewire drives, so you can easily add more drives later on. Given the high price tag, it may not be too soon before you can afford to be stacking several drives unless you happen to have a few hundred dollars burning a whole in your pocket. For about the same price of this drive, you could get a 30GB Western Digital firewire drive, although the Western Digital drive is not as compact, not as stylish, and seems to heat up quite a bit. At the time of this review, you could get the QPS M2 10GB firewire drive from outpost.com for $309.95, plus a $30 manufacturer's mail-in rebate, which makes the net cost $279.95 (providing you make the purchase before 3/31/01). It is comparable to the VST firewire drives' pricing structure.

This is an excellent drive, both in terms of look and feel, as well as operation. It's compact, stylish, and light, and it runs cool, quiet and very fast. The raised emblem (Star Trek-style) on the top of the case had a couple of points which I thought were a bit on the sharp side, so be careful with handling. That's the only physical feature I found less than great. All-in-all, the drive is a masterpiece, but it comes with a price tag to match.

In summary, I highly recommend this unit. If you are looking for a bargain price, you may want to look for some cheaper firewire units, but be careful, because you may get what you pay for. Firewire is still relatively new, so expect the drives to improve as well as drop in price as time goes on. In any case, if you're looking for a top-of-the-line unit right now, and can afford the price, this drive is for you.

PROS:
- beautiful design
- slim, lightweight and stackable
- runs cool, quiet and fast
- very handy carrying bag and accessories

CONS:
- a high price tag (similar to VST drives, but higher than Western Digital drives)
- sharp points on the raised emblem (very minor)

This drive is the best I've seen so far, but the high price prevents me from giving it 5 stars.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Drive Features:

  • Recoverable Errors ( Non-Recoverable Errors ) - ( 1 per 10^13 )
  • Cache / Buffer Size - None
  • Spindle Speed - 4200 rpm
  • Average Seek Time - 13 ms
  • Formatted Capacity - 10 GB
  • Type - Hard drive portable
  • Enclosure Type - Proprietary external
  • Data Transfer Rate - 16.6 MBps
  • Interface Type - IEEE 1394 FireWire
  • Warranty - 1 year warranty
  • Dimensions (WxDxH) / Weight - 13.8 cm x 21.3 cm x 3.1 cm / 0.7 kg