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Iomega Prestige 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive

December 6th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments
4 Stars- techdad
(Courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program)

In my stubbornness, I have only ever built my own external drives by placing internal drives inside external enclosures.  This has served me well over the years but the benefits of a DIY external drive have greatly diminished mainly due to a drop in prices, nearly comparable warranties, and attractive yet durable enclosures.  The Iomega Prestige Compact hard drive is the first pre-built external drive I’ve ever owned.

  • Attractive and compact design
  • Drop Shock protection
  • Good Seagate ST9500325AS drive inside (500GB model)
  • No external power supply required
  • 3 Year warranty w/registration
  • Might be more expensive than the competition
  • Ho hum software bundle
Honestly, I still think of Iomega as the Zip Drive company who’s claim to fame were faulty drives and their “click of deaths.” Still, I owned three of their Zip drives over the years and hadn’t really paid attention to their products since flash memory made Zip, obsolete.  Apparently EMC now owns Iomega and they have a large selection of external hard disk solutions as well as a hodge podge of other products.  The Iomega Prestige USB external hard drive is one of their more compelling offerings.

There is no question that the enclosure is attractive with the brushed metal and slim profile.  The most noteworthy design element of the drive is it’s size.  It is probably smaller than most other portable drives on the market.  The soft white glow of the power/activity LED works well in the overall appearance of the drive without being blinding or annoying.  Oddly, the USB connector is on the left side of the drive, rather than in the rear.  There are no rubber feet on the bottom of the drive so it doesn’t stay in place that well.  The instructions state that one of the 2 USB connectors is the aux power but I only needed the primary connector to power up the drive on my Dell laptop.  Also, the photos make the drive look almost black, but it is more of a carbon or gunmetal gray.

Needless to say, most portable and desktop external drives are of the 5400RPM and slower variety.  This is optimal mainly to reduce heat, which then allows more flexibility in creating a sleek, portable enclosure without the use of bulky fans.  The trade-off is obviously performance.  Still, if you are not regularly dumping hundreds of GB of data back and forth at the same time on a regular basis, you shouldn’t notice too much of a difference.  I copied 1.5GB of data (2 files) in 1 minute and 21 seconds.  Not too shabby.  The following are benchmark results using HDTunePro for the internal version of the Seagate ST9500325AS (500GB) drive and the Iomega USB version.  I found the internal SATA benchmarks on the Internet and I performed the USB benchmark using the Iomega drive on my Dell laptop.

Read transfer rate INTERNAL SATA
Transfer Rate Minimum : 38.7 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Maximum : 80.1 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Average : 63.3 MB/sec
Access Time : 19.0 ms
Burst Rate : 51.7 MB/sec
CPU Usage : 8.3%

Read transfer rate EXTERNAL USB2.0
Transfer Rate Minimum: 26.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 30.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 27.8 MB/s
Access Time: 24.7 ms
Burst Rate: 27.6 MB/s
CPU Usage: -1.0%

The Prestige drives have a “feature” called Drop Shock protection.  “Feature” is really a misnomer because it’s really just an internal standard that Iomega created for their drives being able to withstand a 36″ drop on industrial carpet.  This is of course, while the drive is not running.  There is no internal cushioning for shock protection, though some of their other drives have it for 51″ and 84″ drop protection.  My desk is about 30″ high and on low pile carpet, so it IS reassuring that the drive is at least rated for drops from my own desk.

The 500GB drive comes pre-formatted in NTFS with 465GB of available space.  There are some devices that require FAT formatted drives to be able to see them so if you have problems with your device seeing the drive, that might be the issue.  Mac users will need to reformat it.

I did not install any of the software applications that are available with the Iomega Prestige Compact Hard Disk.  They do not come on the drive, which I actually appreciated.  They are available to download on Iomega’s website and the licenses for the EMC Retrospect app is included in the box.  I don’t find any of the apps especially useful.  I personally use TrueImage and SyncToy for my backups.

Hard disk manufacturers keep changing their warranties around so it’s always a good thing to check before buying.  And everyone knows that hard disks can and will go bad at some point so having a good warranty is important.  Iomega will warranty their drives for 3 years as long as you register the drive.  I don’t have personal experience in their RMA process so I don’t know how good they are at replacing faulty drives.  I’ve RMA’d with most of the major disk manufacturers and always got good support.

I like the Iomega Prestige Compact Hard Disk for the size and attractive enclosure.  It does not have any other differentiating features and might cost more than other drives of the same capacity, but if you want a good portable drive(Seagate) that really is portable, then the Prestige is the drive for you.
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