Test System Specifications:
MSI 975X Platinum PUE (BIOS 7.4)
Intel E6600 Core2 Duo 2.40GHZ 4MB @ 3.30 GHZ : CoolIT Eliminator
ATi Radeon X1900XTX 512MB 650/775
Arctic Cooling Accelero S1
OCZ 2x1GB Platinum Rev. 2 DDR2-800 (PC2-6400)
WD 74GB Raptor (10K)
WD 250GB Caviar (7.2K)
OCZ StealthXStream 600W
NEC 16x/16x DVDR/W
NZXT. Apollo Orange Chassis
There are a few eye-catching aspects to this graph. The first is that the drive is pretty slow. USB2.0 is capable of 480Mb/s (which is 60MB/s because a megabyte is eight megabits; it's the little things in life, really…). The average write time of “13.2Mb/s,” which is probably actually MB/s, doesn't quite come close. The drive is actually listed at 4,200 rpm and 16.6MB/s max, so most of this loss can be attributed to rotational speed and not the USB/IDE interface that Cirago implemented. The other thing that may or may not catch your eye is that writing speed slows down dramatically as you approach the end of disk capacity. Ideally, a drive shows no difference at any location on the disk. Practically, most drives show a little bit of performance drop. This is a little more of the latter than you might expect.
The SiSoft Sandra Physical Disk benchmark was a little more favorable towards the Cirago drive. Obviously, an external laptop drive cannot compete with those other very fast SATA drives, but the idea of running this bench is for actual number rather than comparison purposes. You'll see again, here, that it still loses speed as you go to later portions of the disk.
Although this drive isn't fast in a synthetic benchmark scenario, in a practical sense it is everything you'll need. It can move a gig of music in a fraction of the time of my thumb drive, and even if it's slower than an internal disk, this isn't the kind of external hard-drive meant for accessing on a regular basis like watching movies, but rather for mobilization of data. In my experience over the past few weeks, I have never become frustrated or impatient with its transfer speeds.
The included cable/driver CD are handy for old systems, but probably unnecessary in this day and age. The driver CD actually has driver information from everything Cirago makes, so if you have to use the driver CD you'll have to weed out the necessary files. If you're wondering about the carrying case, you probably won't use it. The foamy plastic material is actually quite slippery on the inside, so it's hard to keep your drive in there. Even when I could keep it in the case, though, the thread on the side started coming undone, so it's only a matter of weeks before it is no longer useful. Another thing I noticed during use was a little ticking noise when I turned or jostled the drive. It sounds like the reading arm may get knocked around, but there's not much you can do about that except keep the drive stationary when in use.
On the front of value, these drives are definitely worth your money. After quite some searching, I found Cirago selling on some online shops for cheaper than an empty enclosure and a hard-drive bought separately. The 120GB Cirago HDD should run you about $99.99. All things considered, this hard-drive should be everything you need to keep your data on the move with you. Though a little slow, it won't keep you waiting and because it comes in all sorts of sizes you won't get stuck with lots of empty space or not enough. If you're in the market for a small external drive, definitely consider the Cirago Mobile Storage line for your purchase.