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.