This firewire drive
was tested on a G3/333 with a firewire add-on card, and on a G4/867 with built-in
firewire support. It was tested with it's own power supply, and using the power from
the firewire bus.
The Cobra Slim firewire drive features 2 standard 6 pin FireWire ports, an external
power supply, transfer rates up to 34 MB/sec, 2MB buffer , 5400 RPM internal ATA
drive interface, slim pocket size case, and Intech Hard Disk Speedtools software.
The unit measures 5.5" x 3.5" x 1", weighs 0.7 pounds, and comes with
a 2 year warranty.
Look and Feel
The first thing I noticed about the Cobra Slim drive is that it is unbelievable small
for a drive that stores so much disk space. I remember my first 500 MB disk drive
being nearly as big as my computer, and now I have a 60 GB disk drive that literally
fits in my shirt pocket. It comes in a stylish translucent case, sporting a cool
blue power indicator light. On one end is two firewire ports, a power supply port,
and a switch indicating whether the unit should be powered by the power supply or
the firewire bus. The drive is incredibly light, and runs very quiet. I literally
could not hear it unless the disk was in use. Overall, this unit is the nicest and
smallest firewire drive I've seen.
Getting the drive operational was as simple as hooking the firewire cable from my
G4 to the firewire drive. The unit comes with Intech Hard Disk Speedtools software,
but I found that I could access the drive just using the standard drivers that come
with the Mac OS. Although not necessary, the Intech software does provide more options
than Apple's disk tools. Perhaps the most useful is the Tuning Options which allows
you to increase or decrease payload and data transfer sizes. If you want to have
more control over the drive, Speedtools will come in handy.
Tuning Options for your Firewire Drive
I am a big multimedia
user, and I like to convert analog video, as well as digital video from external
devices, into Quicktime movies and Quicktime DV streams (for use with iMovie). To
do so, I use my G3 that has a video capture card (that doesn't work in my G4) where
I digitize the video from VHS. Then I port the video to my G4, and using a portable
firewire drive is the fastest way of doing it. Digital video takes up a lot of disk
space, especially uncompressed, so having an external 60 GB drives lets me copy the
video I want. Using the power from the firewire bus makes the process so much easier,
as I just move the drive from room to room only hooking and unhooking one cable.
The throughput on the device is great. I copied a folder of 400 files, total of
15 GB, from the firewire drive to my hard drive in 19 minutes (about 13.5 MB/sec).
In another test, I copied 5 files, total of 3 GB, in 4 1/2 minutes (about 12 MB/sec).
While these speeds are far under the 34 MB/sec, it was plenty fast for me, and certainly
faster than copying over the LAN. From my experience with firewire devices over
the past two years, I actually feel more comfortable with a stable speed of 13 MB/sec,
as I have found that the faster a firewire drive performs, the more likely the drive
fails (and I've had many fail on me, creating problems from crashing the system to
corrupting the drive). Using Speedtools, you can adjust payload size and transfer
size which have a direct effect on the speed of the data transfers. On my system,
I kept these settings on "Auto", letting the hardware decide the sizes,
and was happy with the speed, and happier more with the stability. In several weeks
of extensive use, this drive never locked up on me, not on the G4, nor on the G3
with the add-on firewire card (all other firewire drives I tried on the G3 had lock-up
problems due to the 3rd party firewire card).
When the first Cobra Slim drive was sent to me, I immediately had the opportunity
to test out EZQuest's support. The drive was constantly locking up on both systems,
and getting corrupted. Support was very responsive, and after trying several remedies,
it was determined that the drive was bad, and they had me send it back, and soon
afterwards I received a replacement drive. They confirmed that the first drive had
a bad firewire board. They were very good about sending the replacement. For regular
customers, if the drive was determined to be bad within 30 days, you would take it
back to the point of sale. After that, you would contact EZQuest, and they would
have you mail the drive back to them (at your cost), and then mail you a replacement
drive (at their cost). Overall, my experience with their support was positive.
I do recommend that you thoroughly test any drive you may get prior to making it
the home of any important data without having a copy of the data somewhere else.
Slim 60GB firewire drive packs a lot of punch into a small package. The speed of
the drive is good, and more importantly, the stability of the drive is solid, better
than any other firewire drive I've seen. The drive does not overheat, and accepts
power from its own power supply as well as your computer's firewire bus. Using the
firewire bus power was a great advantage for making the drive portable - less to
transport, less to hook up. The Cobra Slim drive comes in a very sporty and compact
case, and includes some good disk software. Although the Cobra Slim drives are priced
higher than other firewire drives, I have not seen another firewire drive that I'd
rather have. If you have the funds, this is hands-down the drive to get. For those
ready to purchase, the cheapest price I found for this unit was at eCost.com selling for $439.
- 60 GB of disk space
in a very compact unit
- Can get power from
firewire bus or external power supply
- Sleek light design,
- Solid performance
4 1/2 out of 5 Mice