One third party manufacturer is not waiting for Apple to give USB 3.0 its blessing. CalDigit recently rolled out the 1TB CalDigit AV Drive, the first USB 3.0 drive offering Mac support along with its standard Windows support
This drive works around Mac’s lack of a USB 3.0 port by using SuperSpeed PCI cards for Mac Pros and laptops, which can be included with the purchase of the AV drive. They’re installed by the user and are the building blocks of the USB 3.0 support. It is important to note that these cards will only work with CalDigit’s drives.
The FireWire 800 connection featured on the drive also helps to boost its speed, even if you decide to skip the 3.0 card installation. FireWire 800 will read and write at 85 megabytes per second, which is still faster than other FireWire supported drives.
The AV drive’s 7200-rpm rotational speed and 32MB cache buffer allow it to handle the potential 5GBps of USB 3.0 speed. A heat sink and fan are engineered in the drive to combat overheating. You won’t be toting this drive from computer to computer, as its dimensions and more than three pounds of weight make it more of a desktop device.
MacWorld put this USB 3.0 drive through some real-world testing. It found that with the SuperSpeed connectivity enabled, a 1GB copy test finished in a record-breaking 20 seconds. A large Photoshop action script loaded completely within 2 minutes and 8 seconds.
The CalDigit AV USB 3.0 drive has something for everyone. For average consumers just looking for a fast drive, the FireWire 800 will give you plenty speed and the drive without the PCI Express card will still have backward compatibility with USB 2.0. However, it’s also an ideal companion for a prosumer like a video editor, who has enough files and application demands to optimize the 3.0 connectivity.
The drive retails for approximately $200 without a PCI card and just under $270 with the card. For creative professionals who require hundreds of hours of video plus thousands of songs and photos, buying an AV drive with the card may be the few extra dollars that save you data transfer time and boost speed in the long run. Needless to say, it’s a one-of-a-kind storage solution that makes a pioneering step toward a compatible relationship between Mac users and USB 3.0.
Are you impressed with the specs and tests of the 1 TB CalDigit AV Drive?