iStoragePro by Ci Design has produced a little wonder of a drive. I was asked by the company to review their little pocket 2 1/2 “ drive and was eager to do so. Once I saw the specs of the drive, it looked to be a dandy, and it didn’t disappoint.
The sleek design doesn’t mean it’s not a workhorse. It is. Notably matching my Apple gear’s industrial looking aluminum, it sits along side my MacBook Pro and looks as if it was made to go with it.
I was sent a 7200 rpm 320GB unit, and was excited to find out that the drive that it contains is the Seagate ST9320423AS. This little “Momentus” series hard drive is considered one of the very best out there. iStoragePro is not cutting any corners with the selection of this great hard drive. It has a 16mb Disk Cache and is a first class piece of hardware. Rob Art Morton at Barefeats.com has consistently found this series of small hard drives to be among the fastest out there, and fast means good for video editors. Can’t think of many endeavors that require as much speed as we need because we’re dealing with such large files. I couldn’t wait to benchmark the unit, and found it to not leave me wanting.
I tested the drive speed using AJA’s System Test software. It’s great testing software for video folks because it uses video frames to test with, mimicking what we as video editors need our media drives to do. The results are below and they are certainly impressive.
The first test was done with the drive empty. Expecting to see fast times, I ran AJA’s software and came up with these results:
These are very fast times for an empty drive I think. When the manufacturers post speeds, they are testing empty drives, which isn’t deceptive necessarily, but it doesn’t really reflect real world speeds as we use drives with a lot of media on them all the time.
These speeds show that not only will the drive capture to ProRes in its sleep, it would also capture to ProRes HQ HD as well! The manufacturer doesn’t even say this in the literature of this drive’s capabilities. Further, it will play back at least 2 layers of ProRes HD in real time.
The second test was done with the drive at near capacity just to see what would happen. I’m happy to report that it holds up very well when full. I was told years ago that as a drive fills up it slows down. It starts getting more and more serious as the drive goes over 70% capacity so I was told. So I filled it with video files to 98% capacity. (About 313 gigabytes) I could actually play 10 layers of DV footage without dropping frames! On the 11th layer it dropped frames. Not bad though, I can’t even remember the last time I needed to have 11 layers of video play back without a render in real time.
So the results are no less than amazing I think. It fills up and still performs as if it were empty. The numbers were the same.
Nice design, and good to see what was to me a new player in our market. Competition here is good for everybody I think, and the iStoragePro pocket drive performs admirably.
So what about design? All you have to do is take a look at it, and it’s very nice indeed. Matches my Mac hardware to a tee in fact.
Note the rear view:
The unit comes with two Firewire 800 ports, and USB port, and most happily a POWER button. I do like that myself. From long time experience with firewire devices, It’s always been recommended to power them up after you’ve connected the firewire cable between your drive an Mac. So many of these self powered drives don’t have a power switch, and it just plain scares me sometimes to connect them up. They power up OK and I’ve never had a problem frying a port or anything, but there is power going through that firewire cable, and I’ve seen cameras connect powered up and fry ports galore. So it just makes me feel better that there’s a power switch.
The unit tested was a iTPKT72320 containing a 7200rpm 320GB Seagate Momentus installed. Nice indeed.
The pricing is competitive with other units in this class of high-end portables, and I can say you do get what you pay for here. About the only complaint I can come up with is the short cables. Nice for portability, but not so nice if you connect the drive to a tower and want it to sit away from it. Pretty small complaint actually. After all, cables aren’t expensive.
The kit comes complete with cables, and carrying case:
There was one last thing I wanted to try with the unit, and that was to use it as a startup disk. I installed Snow Leopard and I performed all the updates making it current. I was amazed at how fast my laptop started up with this drive as it’s startup disk, and it worked without a hitch. Boot times were a lot faster than the drive that was shipped with my 2008 MacBook Pro. Almost three times faster in fact. Makes sense, the drive clocks that much faster.
The idea here is that if you know you’ll have access to a Mac which can run your OS, say at the office, there’s really not much of a need to take a laptop with you back and forth. It’s like having the smallest portable you can have and anywhere you go that has a compatible Mac, you actually can startup with the Pocket drive, and move all of your startup disk with you in a bundle that fits in a pocket.
Great unit, competitive pricing and little to complain about! I can heartily recommend this drive to anybody looking for a top of the line portable solution.
For more information or to purchase, click here.
This is definitely a Five COW rating.
-- Jerry Hofmann