Jump to content
RESET Forums (homeservershow.com)

  • Joe_Miner

    By: John Stutsman


    I’m always looking at hard drives and ways that I can expand my storage capacity to better organize my systems and backups of those systems. The following is not strictly a review of the FreeAgent GoFlex 4TB or the WD USB 3.0 PCIe Card but more of a chronology of how well they work in my systems and a few basic performance ratings.


    Not long ago I noticed that Amazon had a price of $229 on Seagate’s FreeAgent GoFlex 4TB External Desk Drive STAC4000100. More recently, I’ve seen prices for the GoFlex 4TB hover just above $200. Always before I considered myself a Western Digital fan boy but after testing the Seagate ST3000DM01 in my MicroServer I’ve been substantially more open minded about exploring off the Western Digital reservation.


    What I found very intriguing about the 4TB GoFlex was that at its core was the 4TB Seagate Barracuda XT ST4000X000 SATA 6Gb/s Hard Drive that was, and still is, selling at a substantially higher price than the 4TB GoFlex when it is sold as a bare drive outside the external case. There is a

    on how to remove the enclosure/casing from around the ST4000X000 so that it can be used inside a desktop – which obviously violated the warranty on the GoFlex. Removing the ST4000X000 from the GoFlex housing is beyond the scope of this paper.


    I ordered the GoFlex 4TB intending to try it out on several of my machines. I also ordered Western Digital’s USB 3.0 PCIe Card which would fit perfectly inside my MicroServer.




    [caption id=attachment_12094" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="The Seagate GoFlex 4TB USB 3.0]Go-Flex-0021-300x225.jpg[/caption]


    [caption id=attachment_12095" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="The GoFlex 4TB Unpacked]Go-Flex-0061-300x225.jpg[/caption]




    After the GoFlex 4TB arrived I unpacked it and set it up. I first attached it to the USB 3.0 port on the back of my X58.




    [caption id=attachment_12096" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="The GoFlex 4TB USB 3.0 attached to the GA-X58A-UD3R USB 3.0 ports on back and powered up]Go-Flex-008-300x225.jpg[/caption]




    I powered up the GoFlex 4TB. My X58 saw it right away. I opened up Windows Explorer and check out the directory.


    While I didn’t try it in this exercise -- the GoFlex 4TB comes supplied with software to set up automatic backups to the GoFlex 4TB. I’m sure their software is good – it just wasn’t the reason I bought the GoFlex 4TB to try out and I already have a backup solution that I am using.




    [caption id=attachment_12089" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Directory of what is on the GoFlex 4TB as seen in Windows Explorer]FreeAgentGoFlexDriveDirectory1-300x145.j[/caption]




    [caption id=" align="alignnone" width="245" caption="A detailed directory view of what came on the GoFlex 4TB in Windows Explorer]image[/caption]


    Checking out the Properties of the GoFlex 4TB it showed the available capacity on the 4TB drive as 4TB (less some space being used by the included Seagate software mentioned above).




    [caption id=attachment_12098" align="alignnone" width="225" caption="Properties of the GoFlex 4TB]FreeAgentGoFlexDriveProperties-225x300.j[/caption]




    As shown below the performance of the GoFlex 4TB (and the underlying ST4000X000) on the USB 3.0 with reads and writes around 170 MB/sec.




    [caption id=attachment_12099" align="alignnone" width="231" caption="ATTO performance of GoFlex 4TB on X58 USB 3.0 rear Port]2012-04-13Seagate4TB_FreeAgentGoFlexX58D[/caption]




    I next moved the GoFlex 4TB to one of the USB 3.0 ports on the back of my Z68 and got similar results that I had achieved with the X58’s 3.0 ports, i.e. reads and writes between 160 & 180 MB/sec.


    While the GoFlex 4TB was attached to the Z68’s USB 3.0 port I copied about 400GB of files to the GoFlex 4TB over about a 70 minute time period.




    [caption id=attachment_12100" align="alignnone" width="237" caption="Atto performance of GoFlex 4TB on Z68 USB 3.0 rear Port]2012-04-13Seagate4TB_FreeAgentGoFlexZ68D[/caption]






    Western Digital’s USB 3.0 PCIe Card in a MicroServer


    I mentioned earlier that I also picked up a WD USB 3.0 PCIe Card to try out in my MicroServer. The WD USB 3.0 PCIe Card arrived in a plain box. The Card comes with a drivers disk that you install before you install the PCIe Card. I installed the drivers onto the host operating system on my MicroServer which is Windows Server 2008-R2.




    [caption id=attachment_12101" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="The WD USB 3.0 PCIe Card and Driver Install Disk]Go-Flex-011-300x225.jpg[/caption]


    [caption id=attachment_12103" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Installing WD Driver onto the MicroServer using an external USB drive]Go-Flex-009-300x225.jpg[/caption]


    [caption id=attachment_12105" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="The MicroServer powered down and placed on grounding mat -- preparing to remove the motherboard/system-board]Go-Flex-012-300x225.jpg[/caption]


    After installing the Western Digital drivers for the WD USB 3.0 PCIe Card I powered down the MicroServer, unplugged it, and moved it to my workbench and set it onto a grounding mat. I then attached a ground strap to myself and began taking the MicroServer apart. You’ll observer in the first picture below (left) that the dual Intel NIC that I had installed earlier has been replaced by a single NIC Intel card. In the second picture below (right) we see the WD USB 3.0 PCIe Card installed in the Mother Board, or System Board, of the MicroServer.




    Below (left) we see the MicroServer Mother Board from the back with both PCIe Cards installed and the card NIC and USB connection ports clearly visible. Below (right) is a top view of the MicroServer Mother Board with the cards installed.




    Installing a second PCIe card into the MicroServer was problematic in one respect because by filling up both slots I lost my empty slot to run my cable (see lower left picture) from my eSATA port on the back of the MicroServer into the case to plug into the WD Green drive in the ODD in the top of the MicroServer.


    The solution I found was to bend the bracket, also known as the PCI holder, that anchors the top of the PCI brackets 1 & 2 to the case. Just a “slight” bend was all that was necessary and is clearly visible in the lower (right) picture. Another option I considered was to use a dermal to make a new hole in the case for the cable – bending the bracket, PCI holder, was easier and probably the better solution in my estimate.




    Below, the Western Digital software successfully installed onto the MicroServer before opening up the MicroServer and installing the WD USB 3.0 PCIe Card.


    [caption id=attachment_12113" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="WD drivers installed for USB 3.0 PCIe Card]2012-04-13_WD_WSB30PCIeAdapterCardInstal[/caption]


    Below, is the performance of the GoFlex 4TB using the WD USB 3.0 PCIe Card in the MicroServer. The read and write speeds are just over 140 MB/sec which is roughly 30 MB/sec worse than the performance achieved with the USB 3.0 ports that are available on the X58 and Z68 boards tested earlier.




    [caption id=attachment_12114" align="alignnone" width="235" caption="ATTO performance of GoFlex 4TB USB 3.0 with WD USB 3.0 PCIe Card mounted in MicroServer]2012-04-13Seagate4TB_FreeAgentGoFlexN40L[/caption]




    The performance in the MicroServer is respectable for the GoFlex 4TB with the WD USB 3.0 PCIe Card though it doesn’t measure up to the performance I saw with the Seagate 3TB ST3000DM001 when it was directly installed to a SATA II port inside the MicroServer.


    Compared to a directly installed ST3000DM001 the GoFlex 4TB has the additional overhead of the WD USB 3.0 interface card as well as the interface of the Seagate external enclosure USB 3.0 to SATA base. Compared to the GoFlex 4TB’s performance in the X58 and the Z68 the WD USB 3.0 card in the MicroServer is apparently not as fast as the direct motherboard USB 3.0 connections on the X58 and Z68.




    USB 2.0 Performance Comparisons


    For comparison, I check the performance of the GoFlex 4TB when plugged into one of the USB 2.0 ports in the MicroServer. The ATTO performance charts below show that the GoFlex 4TB’s performance when attached to the WD USB 3.0 PCIe Card (below left) was about five times the performance when it was attached to a USB 2.0 port (below right) on the MicroServer.




    Next I compared the relative performance of the WD USB 3.0 PCIe Card to the USB 2.0 ports in the MicroServer by attaching a WD 2TB Elements USB 2.0 External disk. Surprisingly to me, the WD 2TB Elements USB 2.0 External Disk performed slightly better when attached to the WD USB 3.0 PCIe Card (below right) versus the USB 2.0 port (below left) on the MicroServer.








    In the short time that I’ve used it the GoFlex 4TB has been reliable and relatively fast low cost mass storage. The WD USB 3.0 PCIe Card provides a low cost option of attaching 2 external devices to my MicroServer – in the case of the GoFlex 4TB – I could add 2 GoFlex 4TB’s for a total of 8TB of additional storage on my MicroServer. I could do likewise with my Z68 and X58 machines.


    Bottom line: I like the GoFlex 4TB. I’m impressed with its ease of use and its speed for an external drive and of course I’m impressed by its massive capacity. I also like the WD USB 3.0 PCIe Card – it expands my options with my MicroServer (the MicroServer is not built with any USB 3.0 ports) and it is an option for adding additional USB 3.0 ports to my other machines. It was interesting to observer that a regular USB 2.0 external drive performed about 16% better when attached to the WD USB 3.0 PCIe Card versus a USB 2.0 port in the MicroServer.


    The big question remains: how would the Seagate ST4000X000 that makes up the core of the GoFlex 4TB perform on it’s own as a bare drive directly connected to a SATA III or SATA II port?


    Answering that question will have to wait till the next installment (Part 2) of this report.


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

  • Our picks

    • I throw this out every once in a while.  Is anyone interested in writing up "semi-formal" reviews here on the forums?  I say semi-formal because they don't have to be pro level, just a good attempt at telling the story about the gear.  Something you have purchased lately.  You don't have to go buy stuff, just incorporate what you have already have purchased.  Hit me up with any questions.  You never know where it will lead!
        • Like
      • 3 replies
    • D-Link has dropped a couple of new products and additions to their lineup of smart home gear.  Hold on because there is a lot of gear!
      Let's start with cameras.  D-Link has new Wi-Fi cameras, the Full HD Pan and Tilt Pro Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-8302LH) and Full HD Indoor and Outdoor Pro Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-8526LH).  These are not just new, and good looking cams, they can now perform people detection and glass break detection.  The new cameras also feature expanded ways for customers to save video, including ONVIF Profile S, which enables custom storage and streaming options to personal NAS devices, built-in storage microSD capacity up to 256 GB, as well as free and paid cloud storage options. 

      This year's camera models include both an indoor and an outdoor model. The outdoor model features a spotlight and siren that can be triggered when motion is detected, deterring potential intruders. The indoor model pans around to give a full 360-degree view of any room and tracks motion. Both include two-way audio. 
      Full HD Pan and Tilt Pro Wi-Fi Camera is the model (DCS-8302LH), available in Q2, 2020, and retail pricing will be $99.99.
      Full HD Indoor and Outdoor Pro Wi-Fi Camera is the model (DCS-8526LH), available in Q3, 2020, and retail pricing will be $119.99.
      One of my favorite products is Wi-Fi.  D-Link has a whole lot of new products coming including Wi-Fi 6, Mesh, Alexa and Google Assistant integration, IFTTT, Parental Controls, and more!

      There are so many new SKU's that I can't make heads or tails of them!  I'm going to be speaking with D-Link more this week and will sort all of these out. I do want you to see all they are offering and what the release date and projected retail pricing will be.

      AC1900 Scalable Mesh Wi-Fi Router (COVR-1900-US), Q1 2020, $119.99
      AC1750 Mesh Wi-Fi Router (DIR-1750-US), Q1 2020, $99.99
      AC1900 Mesh Wi-Fi Router (DIR-1950-US), Q1 2020, $119.99
      AC1750 Mesh Wi-Fi Range Extender (DAP-1755-US), Q1 2020, $99.99
      AC1950 Mesh Wi-Fi Range Extender (DAP-1955-US), Q1 2020, $109.99
      Smart AX1500 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router (DIR-X1560-US), Q1 2020, $119.99
      Smart AX1800 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router (DIR-X1870-US), Q2 2020, $139.99
      Smart AX2400 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router (DIR-X2460-US), Q3 2020, $159.99
      Smart AX5400 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router (DIR-X5460-US), Q1 2020, $279.99
      AX1800 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Range Extender (DAP-X1870-US), Q2 2020, $129.99
      AX1800 Whole Home Mesh System (COVR-X1872-US), QX22020, $269.99
        • Like
      • 0 replies
    • RESET Merch Shop
      Get ya Merch here!  I've created a T-Shirt shop with the famous RESET paperclip. I've pasted that clip on just about everything so you can wear it around town!  Cable bags, Coffee Mugs, T-Shirts, and more. 
      or you can get it it via
      Here is the main design.

      Below is a part of the order that I put in!  

      The Heather Grey above is the Extra Soft version and it is awesome.  I highly recommend the softness!    The "Chili Red" is the Tri-Blend and probably my favorite feel and color.

      This is the Zip-Up Hoody, Heather Indigo, Sponge Fleece, Men's, Large.  In my podcast I couldn't remember what style it was but it is Sponge Fleece. It's REALLY soft on the inside. Soft outside as well. The only problem is with the zip up hoody the logo is on the back. Regular hoody, it will be on the front.
      or you can get it it via
      Thank you for supporting this community. Everything you purchase will help keep the lights on the hard drives spinning.
      • 0 replies
    • OneDrive Personal Vault and expandable storage
      Microsoft's OneDrive has a few new features and options worth pointing out.  Personal Vault and Expandable Storage.
      Personal Vault is a protected area in OneDrive that can only be accessed with a strong authentication method or a second step of identity verification, such as your fingerprint, face, PIN, or a code sent to you via email or SMS. 
      Personal Vault gives you an added layer of protection for your most important files, photos, and videos—for example, copies of documents such as your passport, driver’s license, or insurance information—should someone gain access to your account or device.
      Plus, this added security won’t slow you down. You can quickly access your important documents, photos, and files with confidence wherever you are, on your PC, OneDrive.com, or your mobile device.

      Beyond a second layer of identity verification, Personal Vault also includes the following security measures:
      Scan and shoot—Using the OneDrive app, you can scan documents or shoot photos directly into your Personal Vault, keeping them off less secure areas of your device, like your camera roll.
      Automatic locking—No need to worry about whether you left your Personal Vault or your files open—both will close and lock automatically after a period of inactivity.
      BitLocker encryption—On Windows 10 PCs, OneDrive automatically syncs your Personal Vault files to a BitLocker-encrypted area of your local hard drive.
      Restricted sharing—To prevent accidental sharing, files in Personal Vault and shared items moved into Personal Vault cannot be shared.
      Taken together, these security measures help ensure that Personal Vault files are not stored unprotected on your PC, and your files have additional protection, even if your Windows 10 PC or mobile device is lost, stolen, or someone gains access to it or to your account.
      Expandable Storage
      If you are and Office 365 Subscriber you get 1 TB of OneDrive storage space with all the other Office goodies like Word, Excel, etc.  I know personally that I have gone over the 1TB limit and have always wanted to be able to add additional storage to my account.  Now you can!

      Pick and option and keep on hoarding, errr, I mean saving! Cancel anytime, upgrade at any moment.
      • 1 reply
    • Ubiquiti adds new items to the Unifi Line including UAP Flex HD and the Unifi Dream machine
      Ubiquiti has been busy.  There area ton of new items to recently released and I'm going to share two of my favorites.
      The UAP Flex HD and the Unifi Dream machine. The Flex HD is a mouthful of descriptors like most of UI gear is.  It's a 2Ghz 2x2 MIMO, 5GHz 4x4 MU-MIMO, POE, Indoor/Outdoor, multi mount, mesh point that is no bigger than a can of Coke.

      You will still need the Unifi controller although you can configure it with basic functionality with the Unifi App.  I've always found it's best to configure with your controller and then use the app as an add-on.  There are several mounting options that include sitting it on a shelf! That is something that Unifi has not had before unless you count the ceiling AP I have awkwardly mounted placed on top of a few books.  It can be found on the Unifi store for $179.
      The Dream Machine is an altogether different beast that I hope lives up to its naming.  This is the gateway drug, for lack of a better term, to the Unifi world.  The starter kit.  It is an Access Point, Gigabit Switch, Security Gateway, and the Cloud Key all in one package.  The latter being the most significant as this is something that has deterred new users from getting started with Unifi.  Requiring new users to purchase a $100 item just to run the AP's has been somewhat of a roadblock in the past.  Granted, that is improving every year with the ability to run it in the cloud, on a NAS, a Pi, Docker, MacOS, and of course Windows, it is still a barricade to getting up and running when manufacturers such as Eero offer simplicity in an app.

      The switch includes 4 LAN Ports and 1 WAN port.  All of which are Gigabit and security services such as IPS are rated at Gigabit speed. It's $299 in the Unifi store but I'm unsure how nicely it will play with other Unifi gear.  This may be a nice "first AP" with its built in Cloud Key if you can add additional units or other Unifi access points.
      • 4 replies
  • Create New...