Published on February 5th, 2013 | by Greg0
HGST’s Touro Desk Pro 3TB: Store And More!
Large-scale storage is becoming commonplace. Your mother might not yet need a RAID array, but chances are she could use a backup hard disk. After all, when you’re doing digital photography or cinematography, even just family photos, you tend to use up a fair bit of data storage. If you’re like many of us, the cloud sounds nice, but having your data on a local drive is still the best and safest way to go.
HGST (formerly Hitachi, now part of Western Digital) offers some options that combine both elements- a fixed hard drive as well as a cloud backup service where you can put your most important files and documents for safe keeping (3GB is included for free, the paid version increases that limit). We’ve been testing out the flagship HGST Touro Desk Pro 3TB (2TB and 4TB models are also available), and there is plenty to like- it’s fast, inexpensive, and offers a colossal capacity that should be enough for just about any circumstance. At press time, it was hard to find available in the 3TB version for purchase though, and there were a couple of downsides that we noted in our usage.
First, let’s talk about the case itself- most drive cases are pretty similar these days, but this one is a little different. On the upside, it’s stackable, and offers a USB 3.0 interface that is backwards-compatible for those without support. We recommend trying to get USB 3.0 working though (most newer laptops and desktops offer it, and various cards exist to upgrade older machines). A drive like this doesn’t make much sense running at the slower interface, since it will take forever to copy or transfer information through the older type of connection. We ran several benchmarking utilities, as well as running Windows 7 copy tests on large files, and found peak performance of 140 or so MB/s for both reads and writes. This is pretty impressive, and makes this one of the faster external hard drives that we’ve seen.
Part of the speed comes from the internal drive itself- many USB backup disks use 5400 RPM drives, but this one is the much-improved 7200 RPM. It’s a bit weird that they don’t brag about this fact on their site, but bury it a bit in the marketing materials. Another plus to this model is that it runs fairly quiet, barely noticeable with a desktop computer running. But that left us wondering about the temperature, and we did notice that the drive gets hot- there is ventilation, but it is easy to cover up or block accidentally. We’d recommend particular care in placement of this drive. Also, the case is fairly cheap-looking, and completely plastic, whereas many drives have aluminum enclosures.
There are no other connectivity options (the lineup lacks Thunderbolt support, for instance, or FireWire), and the included cable is pretty short in our opinion. But if you need a lot of space to backup important data, then the HGST Touro Desk Pro (in any size) is one of the cheapest ways to go- the 4TB model runs around $220. The high transfer rates are impressive, enough that the so-so housing can be overlooked.