Green in more ways than one

GCN Test Drive: Kanguru's Eco Drive combines power savings with performance and affordability

Kanguru Eco Drive EC-U20HD35

Pros: Uses less power than a normal drive, very fast performance

Cons: Needs to be powered by a separate cord.

Performance: A

Features: A

Ease of use: A+

Value: A

Price: $121


Kanguru Solutions

(888) 526-4878

Whatever their position on global warming and overall environmental protection, most people probably would adopt green practices if they could do it without hurting performance or their pocketbooks. With the Eco Drive from Kanguru, they can. It makes it easy to be green. The Eco Drive is a stylish 250G external hard drive that comes in a shiny black case with a large green kangaroo, the company's mascot, on the front that lights up when you write to or read the disk.

The entire drive is made of environmentally neutral materials and has no lead or mercury in it, a forward-thinking step that one day will make disposal easy.

Small package It is also fairly small at 8 inches long and 5 inches wide. It is very light at exactly 2 pounds. And it comes with a special cushioned carrying case, a nice touch for road warriors.

The Eco Drive also does its best to save on power consumption. Unlike most external hard drives, the Eco senses your usage pattern and tries to compensate.

[IMGCAP(1)]The drive can run in three modes: Power Down, Staandby and Idle. Once it knows how you normally use the drive, it will select the mode that combines maximum availability with power savings.

According to the company, this approach results in the drive using 75 percent less power than other non-Eco drives. It can also contribute to longer drive life because it generates a lot less heat; during two weeks of testing, the drive was always cool to the touch.

If you want to see what your drive is doing, you can use its monitoring software. Although the drive also works with a Mac, the software only runs on PCs. The environmental features are nice but might not win over most people if the drive didn't perform well.

But the Eco Drive happens to be a real speed demon. It could write a 200M test file in just less than 11 seconds and pull that file back off the drive in the same amount of time. Given that the drive spins at 7,200 rpm, this is not too surprising.

The unit we tested was a 250G model with 232G of usable space. It had a reasonable government price of $121. The Eco lineup also includes several smaller-capacity drives and two bigger ones, at 500G and 750G. The only difference other than overall capacity ' and of course price ' is that the cache is 8M on the 250G or smaller drives and 16M on the larger ones to help keep the transfer speeds high.

The only negative we found is the dependency of the drive on a power cord separate from the USB cable. This limits the portability of the drive somewhat, although the power-saving features and the fast write speeds, which likely could not be achieved without a separate power supply, compensate somewhat.

The bottom line is that if you can get a speedy external hard drive at a good price, and it also happens to be economically friendly, why not go a little green?

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