Seagate FreeAgent Desk for Mac Review

The new Seagate FreeAgent Desk for Mac has been designed specifically with Mac users in mind. Its modern silver and white aesthetics have been sculpted to blend in seamlessly with your current Mac set up whether it be an iMac, a Mac Pro or a Macbook Pro. Overall the drive is a nice size for an external drive. It comes with an attached stand so that it is designed to be positioned vertically – the stand raises the drive up about an inch and allows the venting holes at the bottom to breathe and thus this seems to keep the drive pretty cool. The stand however is not detachable so that means you really cant lay the hard drive flat on a surface.

Setting up the hard drive is as simple as plugging its power cable in and connecting it to your computer via USB or Firewire. Two Firewire cables are included – a Firewire 6 pin to 9 pin (if you want to use your Firewire 400 port instead of the 800) and a 9 pin to 9 pin, as well as a USB cable, but really it would be silly to use this drive via USB since it has Firewire available.  Oddly, there is no on and off switch on the case, however Seagate claims that the drive is energy efficient. Once the power and USB or Firewire cable is connected the light on the front of the drive lights up and the bottom of the drive over the stand also lights up with a neat white surrounding glow.

The drive comes with no installation CD nor any software on the hard drive. As soon as you plug it into your Mac, your Mac picks it up as totally empty drive. This means the drive is Time Machine Ready. The negative aspect to this is that you don’t get any backup or syncing software like you usually do when you buy a hard drive, however we can’t help but wonder how many people don’t actually use the software that comes with hard drives. Chances are most Mac users are using Time Machine to back up anyway, so we guess that is the thinking behind not having any software included.

Inside the FreeAgent Desk for Mac is a speedy 7,200RPM drive. You also get a Firewire 800 connection for the fastest performance available. A USB connection is available as well, but if you’re a Mac user there is no reason not to take advantage of the much faster Firewire 800 connection. In real world testing the drive copied a 1GB file in just 19 seconds over a Firewire 800 connection. Duplicating a 1GB file took 31 seconds, thus proving the FreeAgent Desk for Mac to be a great performer. XBench scores were also good for the drive, but there is no question that the drive generally reads significantly slower than it writes. You can check out the gallery for detailed XBench results.


The FreeAgent Desk for Mac is a solid drive with a slick design and very good performance via Firewire 800. Mac users will appreciate how well the FreeAgent Desk drive compliments their set-up. It’s also reasonably priced – The 500GB version retails for $169, the 1TB is $269 and the 1.5TB is $349 and the latter will be available in October. The drive comes with a 5 year limited warranty.

The good: Slick Mac-like Design, Great Performance, Time Machine Ready

The Bad: No on and off switch, hard drive can’t be stacked up, no included software

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