I purchased the 4TB Seagate GoFlex Desk external drive with the intent of consolidating all my media files onto a single central drive. Straight out of the box, impressions were good. The newer generation drive offers a sleeker high gloss alternative to the previous Seagate Desk models. The drive comes equipped with a USB 3.0 base dock, which features five white LEDs on the front to illustrate power as well as indicate the capacity used on the drive in 25% increments. In addition, it also comes with the AC power adapter and a 4 foot USB 3.0 cord, which is significantly more convenient than the 1 1/2 foot cords that were supplied with my 1TB Seagate GoFlex Ultra Portable Drives.
Right out of the box I plugged in to my Windows 7 laptop, had the drivers automatically installed, and was off and running in about 30 seconds. Simple enough. Actual available space on the drive (due to conversion) is about 3.63 TB, which was an expected reduction.. but is worth noting for those who aren't aware there will be less memory actually available than what is advertised.
An initial letdown was the noise. The drive emits a low frequency hum when powered, as well as airflow noise from the vent holes on the top of the enclosure. Overall, the sound is somewhat noticeable, but not loud. Nothing I'd really complain about.. I think I'm just spoiled by my virtually silent USB powered portable drives. Also, one thing you don't want to do is tilt this thing on its side or move it around haphazardly while transferring data - you'll get a kind of faint and unnerving buzz-saw sound if you tilt it at an angle or jostle it roughly. Best to leave it stationary or keep it straight up and down when moving the drive while it's running.. learned that the hard way.
I did run diagnostics to determine the read/write speed of the drive, but since I only have a USB 2.0 motherboard in my laptop, my personal results are not at all accurate to the true capabilities of this drive. However, I have read reviews of users with USB 3.0 technology benchmarking the drive at approximately 190MB/s read and 160MB/s write speeds. When I gain access to a USB 3.0 PC, I'll run the tests and update with personal results.
Additional details from the diagnostic show the GoFlex Desk houses a SATA III 6Gbps 7200RPM 3.5" hard drive with 5 platters (800GB each). Temperature is around 47°C on idle startup. After 8 hours of running transfer, temperature maxed at 55°C. Pretty happy with the drive thus far - will update with any encountered problems over the next few weeks.
UPDATE June 15, 2012 - I've owned this drive for over 9 months now with virtually no problems to speak of. The drive is always running with excessive daily use for the past nine months. No data corruption or failed transfers have occurred thus far. After filling the drive to capacity with various media, playback has been flawlessly smooth, especially when viewing full 1080p BluRay rips. Unfortunately, I've knocked it over hard a handful of times (it's inevitable), but no apparent damage has been done whatsoever.
Overall, it appears Seagate has surprisingly released a solid and reliable 4TB drive on their first attempt. I was wary at first to spend the $220 to essentially beta test a new product, but now I'm happy that I did, as I look forward to purchasing more. I've noticed these have been generally out of stock this year, most likely due to the aftermath of the flood fiasco in Thailand, but it appears they will be readily available again here in the latter half of this year. I intend to purchase a couple more, strip out the drives, and drop them in a NAS enclosure.
Also, please note the respective 190MB/S & 160MB/S read write speeds stated above are theoretical peak benchmark speeds, not taking into account bottlenecking and real world transfer. You should expect to get about half these speeds on a consistent basis. About ~95MB/S Read ~85MB/S Write using USB 3.0 . Will update again if the drive ever dies or encounters problems.