The G-Speed Studio Desktop Backup/Working Drive Flirts with Perfection

The G-Speed Studio Desktop Backup/Working Drive Flirts with Perfection

A lot of my work is on the road, which is why I spent a long time looking for the best mobile storage options before eventually landing on the WD My Passport Pro and the LaCie Rugged SSD. But when I'm not on the road, I'm at my desk editing a wide range of video. It's here that I realized I needed not only a reliable backup, but also a powerful and fast working drive to burn through edits. What I found was the G-Speed Studio, and I love it. 

The G-Speed Studio, introduced earlier this year at NAB, is a RAID 5 (configurable to RAID 0, 1 and 10), four-bay, dual Thunderbolt 2 backup and working drive system capable of transferring 700 MB/s at RAID 0, which makes it perfect for video editors who need that kind of speed to reliably edit HD through 4K video. It is compatible with Mac OS 10.9 and above and Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 via reformatting (though this was obviously designed to work specifically with Macs, and based on the look and feel we can assume they had the Mac Pro in mind).

Going into more detail on the RAID configurations, B&H Explora provides a really good explanation of what it all means:

The G-SPEED Studio storage systems support RAID 0 and RAID 1 backup configurations. However, the G-SPEED Studio also supports RAID 5 and RAID 10 setups. RAID 5 provides striping with parity. This means that like RAID 0, the storage system allows data to be stored simultaneously across multiple drives for faster editing and backup speeds. However, RAID 5 features distributed parity, which means that the backup process is duplicated by the extra drives. Basically, it doesn’t matter if one drive goes down or malfunctions during the backup process, since your data is protected from a single drive failure. RAID 5 is a cost-effective solution for providing speedy editing and backup performance as well as storage redundancy.

The G-SPEED Studio supports a RAID 10 configuration, as well. RAID 10 provides striping across multiple drives simultaneously, for speed, and it also offers redundancy, thanks to multi-disk mirroring or doubling of data for added safety during backup. RAID 10 provides maximum speed and protection of your critical data by combining the protection of RAID 1 mirroring with the speed of RAID 0 striping.

Ok so don't RAID 0 this, for reasons I should not have to explain. RAID 5 is going to be good enough for most and with the 3-year warranty that G-Tech includes with the G-Speed Studio, you should be good. I tested the speeds on RAID 5 and they are darn impressive. 

Speed test performed on a Mid-2011 iMac. Performance with Thunderbolt 1 and 2 is the same:

Starting with build quality, the G-Speed studio is huge and imposing. It's roughly twice the size of the Mac Pro tower at 8.36" x 7.94" x 10.08". It's also extremely heavy, weighing in at 13.5 pounds. But that really doesn't matter, since you probably won't be moving the drive much at all. It, like your desktop computer, will be a stationary object on your desk. The G-Speed Studio's exterior is a mix of glossy metal and plastic and roughly cylidrical in shape. If you are a Mac Pro user, I think you will enjoy that the G-Speed matches the look and will go well with your equipment. 

The G-Speed comes with four enterprise-class 7200RPM, SATA III drives which are accessible through the top, and all four bays can easily be hot-swapped if necessary. 

The rear of the drive is nearly as simplistic as the rest of the system. It has two Thunderbolt 2 ports, a mute option (which minimizes the loud beeping noise it makes as an alert to only happening when you turn it on), a lock hole and the power supply. That's it and, frankly, that's all it needs with the possible exception of a USB 3 option. It would be nice to have it, but it's not a huge deal that it's not there. You can also daisy-chain this behemoth with other Thunderbolt drives if you choose; you know, if you're into that kind of thing. 

I have edited two productions since using the G-Speed Studio and I can't say enough about how much I love it. It's fast, reliable and lets me scrub through footage at a blistering pace. It's everything I have wanted in a desktop backup and work drive solution, with the only downside being I'm limited to using it only when I'm at my desk. With no option to connect it to the internet, this is meant to be your on-site storage solution and that's it. This isn't a problem necessarily, but just something worth noting. 

The only other downside I can see is that the drive itself, coming with magetic discs instead of SSD for obvious cost and storage size reasons, is somewhat noisy. When in use, you can clearly hear it doing its thing. When you first start it up, it's the most noticeable. Once it gets going though, you can pretty easily ignore it. Gratefully, there is no annoying fan noise even when the device has been running all day in warm temperatures.  

The G-Speed studio isn't cheap; in fact, all this reliable speed is pretty expensive. The 12TB option is $2199.95, 16TB is $2699.95 and 24TB (which we had for this review) is $3599.95. No chump change, but with the performance that G-Tech has packed into the drive, I'm not surprised. In my opinion, it's worth every penny. I use it every single day and could not be happier. 

What I liked:

  • Super fast
  • Beautiful design
  • Hot swappable, daisy chainable 
  • Customizable RAID options (0, 1, 5 and 10)
  • 3-year limited warranty

What could use improvement:

  • A bit noisy
  • No remote access option
  • No USB option
  • Pricey (but it's worth it)

 

Rarely am I this happy with any product, but the G-Speed Studio has met and exceeded all my expectations when it comes to a reliable storage, backup and work solution for my video projects. This drive might be overkill for some of you, but if you're like me and always editing high-definition video, it's a Godsend. I can't see myself going back to my old process before using the G-Speed and I would never want to. If you need speed, performance and reliability, the G-Speed Studio is an excellent choice. 

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21 Comments

Pricey, for sure, but I'm not convinced it's worth it.

I can only speak for myself, but there comes a time when that kind of performance is a bit of an overkill. Sure, it works x times faster, but I don't really use every second of my working day actually working anyway.

Jaron Schneider's picture

This drive is really suited to the absolute full time videographer/photographer. For anyone else yes, it's overkill.

I'm not knocking you for singing the praises of specialty equipment that works, I'm just trying to be the voice of dissent adding a little balance to the conversation.

I think there are people who will find a particular use for it (videography would definitely require that kind of storage and speed), but I am really seeing a trend recently where I feel gear recommendations seem to be more focused on the newest, top of the line, or just generally expensive without addressing the actual problems that the product solves. Fstoppers is not alone in this trend, either. Just in the last month, I have seen reviews all over the internet for $8000 umbrellas (broncolor para), $1000 electronic servos (syrp genie), and now this almost $4000 back up solution. In each of these, the authors sang the praises and stated the price was worth it without any real comparison to other solutions out there.

The reason this concerns me is because I teach new photographers in the beginning stages of their careers, and many of them have no clue on what they need and what it actually takes to setup a studio. Statements like "Pricey (but worth it)" just reinforces the idea that they would see some sort of benefit from this that would justify an arguably unnecessary expenditure. Even experience photographers fall into this trap all the time.

Jaron Schneider's picture

Reviews at Fstoppers are rarely comparisons. We look at products on their own merit. And if you look at what we have said in the past, if we think the price is too high for the performance we say so.

This is not a gear recommendation, this is a gear review. Our recommendations come in the form of our yearly gear guide, where we have a large number of items across the entire spectrum of costs. Reviews like this are for those already considering items, and want trusted input before purchasing.

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for the review Jaron. Def a little on the expensive side tho.

If you (or anyone else) is interested, OWC has a thunderbolt 2 - 4 bay drive for much cheaper. Their 24TB config is $2179. $1,420 cheaper than this one.

They also have a no-drive config for $479, 4TB for $719, on up. They also have SSD configurations as well. I have one at work and it's fast. I have owned several drives from OWC and always great products. Maybe for the next review Jaron? Cheaper options are always great.

(I have no affiliation with OWC in any way. Just a loyal customer)

Jaron Schneider's picture

Would happily test this! I have never heard of or used OWC. I wonder what the speed would be. Share a speed test?

Anonymous's picture

I'll see what i can do sir :)

Chris Blair's picture

Great review Jaron. It's a bit on the pricey side, but it is a sexy case. How well does it handle the heat?

Jaron Schneider's picture

Mine sits right next to my computer in front of a sunny window and I never hear the fan (though I imagine it's running). It doesn't seem fazed by elevated temps, and the case never gets hot. I imagine a hot un-air conditioned Arizona summer would test it, but that's kind of extreme.

Kian McKellar's picture

I've been using this for the last month and I'm pretty happy with it. https://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?id=10623 I feel like LaCie is less reliable than Gtech but with Raid 5 I feel pretty safe.

Jaron Schneider's picture

I have seen this thing in person, but have not actually used it. It seemed legit :)

Kian McKellar's picture

I'm sure you'll fill up the G-tech in six months so I hope you give us a review on your next one then. ;)

Jaron Schneider's picture

LaCie has some stuff coming down the pipe that should be interesting... so stay tuned on that :)

Neo Racer's picture

I had a raid drive once, and it failed in short order. I still wasn't able to recover a damn thing so..

Matei Horvath's picture

You know at least in magazines they tell you when it's a page of 'Advertising". Not sure what's going on with FStoppers lately, but this is the direction you guys are going, not very interested in your sales pitches.

Jaron Schneider's picture

You can be as skeptical of what you read as you like, that's totally your call. However when we post sponsored content, we make sure to show it.

This was not sponsored.

Matei Horvath's picture

Jaron, I'm gonna be honest, I have not been on your website for a couple of months now for this same reason. I never really know. Tell me what's the latest gear review that you guys did that ripped into a product? An honest, honest review? This is not about G-drives I personally love them. It just really sounded like a copy and paste job from their website. Just my two cents.

Tam Nguyen's picture

Even if this WAS "advertising", someone still had to pay for all the free stuff on here y'know. It wasn't, so here's your money back! Oh wait....

Matei Horvath's picture

Tam, all I was saying is that you guys need to be honest with your readers. That's all you have. Or not. And implying that you can write whatever you want and how you want it because it's free (?!) is pretty screwed up. But then again, it's free, so I'm the fool for reading it right?

1 thing I see as a plus over our old system is the conventional RAID configuration.

We use Drobo S systems and their "proprietary RAID" makes it a PITA and it's not THAT reliable... :s

Anonymous's picture

Any insight/thoughts on how this compares to the GSpeed Q 12TB or similar? For what it's worth - Adam Epstein used the 'Studio' during his recent 'Cutting Edge' Tour and worked it hard all day - I never saw a glitch.