Hard drives aren’t sexy and they aren’t particularly fast, but they do offer a whole lot of storage space for a lot less cash per gigabyte than SSDs. Their Achilles heel is reliability, but with a little toughening up—as SanDisk has managed to do with the G-Drive ArmorATD—they can withstand relatively severe rigors.
The ArmorATD is an enclosure with a 2.5-inch hard drive inside. It’s available in 1TB($89.99), 2TB ($109.99), 4TB ($149.99), and5TB ($179.99) flavors. Compared to SSDsyou’re paying considerably less per gigabyte–especially in the larger 4TB and5TB capacities. Larger SSDs still carry a big premium, though the difference is shrinking.
The hard drive inside is shock-mounted, and the rugged aluminum case is surrounded by a silicon sock for extra protection. It will withstand minor abuse, more when off than on and the disks are spinning, but your best bet with any hard drive is not to treat it like a hockey puck. The connection is USB-C with a speed rating of 5Gbps (USB 3.1/Gen 1)–plenty fast enough for any hard drive. The drive warranty is for three years.
The 2TB SanDisk G-Drive ArmorATD offers good performance on the Mac. However, under Windows its read speed was a little behind the pack in CrystalDiskMark 6.
The Armor ATD arrives formatted to exFAT, so you’re good to go out of the box under both Windows and macOS.However, we tested with NTFS onWindows and APFS on the Mac for the absolute best performance. exFAT will extract a 5 percent max penalty, and then only rarely, so you shouldn’t feel the need to reformat on Windows.
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