Review: Hammer morespace External Hard Drive

Quiet, cool running hard drive storage. (September 10th, 2008)

Electronista Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Hammer Storage, a div. of Bell Microproducts

Price: $129.99 to $269.99, as reviewed

The Good

  • Reasonable price. Variety of sizes. Compact. Great design. Quiet. Runs cool. Works on Mac or PC. Can be plugged into a DVR or router for network storage. Compatible with USB 1.1 and 2.0.

The Bad

  • None, except no FireWire version available.

Many of us remember when a 20 MB external hard drive, hooked up to a Mac Plus, was a luxury. These days, you don't want that little amount of memory in a Compact Flash card in your digital camera, let alone attached to a computer. The iMac comes with a 250 to 500 GB internal hard drive. For many that may be adequate storage at first, but if you save a lot of music, photo or movie files, it is not nearly enough. If you use backup software or Apple's TimeMachine, a small external hard drive dedicated to this function makes sense, whether it's for home or small business use. In addition, if you live on the East or Gulf Coast or within Tornado Alley, a drive that can easily be tucked into your emergency bag is a plus and delivers peace of mind. You may not think you need a terabyte of storage but a 500 GB drive is a useful backup tool.

The morespace 3.5" hard drive, from Bell Micro's Hammer Storage division, ships in a six sizes, ranging from 250 GB to 1.5 TB. In this review Rick used the affordable $129.99 500 GB drive and Ilene used the $269.99 one-terabyte drive.

Of course, the drive doesn't give you all of those gigabytes. After reformatting the 500 GB, I have 465.61 GB available. The morespace 500 GB drive can hold about 125,000 songs while the 1.5 TB drive could hold nearly 375,000 songs. That is a lot of storage for these 2.2 lb drives that measure 4.9 x 7.5 x 2.4 inches.

What comes in the box

The securely packed hard drive ships with a reasonably sized power cable which covers two outlets on my power strip, USB cable, an instruction sheet, and rubber feet. Hammer Storage morespace indicates that the drive is plug and play for the Mac and PC. Just plug it in and turn it on.

morespace screen

morespace Front and Back


For best performance, they recommend you reformat the hard drive from the installed FAT 32 format to Mac's HFS format. The instructions on the enclosed sheet are simple to follow and the task doesn't take more than a few minutes.

The Drive in Action

I don't have all of those fancy machines and bundles of software to compare hard drives, but can tell you how the drive handles the tasks I do daily. I copied a number of large files (50 GB or greater) in the Finder in one test and used a back up program in another test without any problems. It took a little over one minute per gigabyte. A 1.5 GB folder copied over to the drive in 1 minute 13 seconds. Inside the folder were a number of files and folders with a variety of file formats. I use a desktop Mac Pro with two 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors and 2 GB of RAM, using Mac OS X 10.5.3. I also attached the morespace drive to my G4 using OSX 10.4.11 and had no problems.

Ilene ran a number of hard drive speed tests using QuickBench X, kindly provided by Intech Software Corp. I expected the drive to run more slowly than my other much smaller drives, just because of its single terabyte size, but was pleasantly surprised. I have a 320 GB IBM drive I put in an external CompUSA case and the morespace consistently showed faster read and write times.

The fanless morespace also runs quieter and cooler than other drives tested, including the previously reviewed Iomega Ego. There are plenty of air holes for circulation on the front and back, so overheating isn't an option. I accidentally left it on for four days and it was still cool to the touch.

More Features on Next page

Design Features

Hammer really put some thought into the silver and black morespace design. In addition to leaving out the noisy fan, the drive has an on/off switch, which I prefer on my drives. This means you don't have to unplug cables, but just flip the switch. You can also stack the drives to save valuable desk space. My perfect desk would have three of these drives, so that I can store different types of media (photos, music, and video) and no longer have to search through backup DVDs. You can also orient the drive vertically or horizontally.

The most considerate feature is the status light. The bright blue LED points towards the base across the bottom of the drive, instead of shining in your eyes, as with most drive lights. This little feature ensures no lights distract you while gaming or editing photos.

morespace front

morespace Front


I also want to note that Hammer Storage does not engage in any deceptive marketing. The marketing materials correctly claim this is a great drive to use for backups and storage for home and office, they don't suggest anywhere to use it to edit video or music, as I've seen with other USB drives. Generally, you don't want to use USB drives to feed media files while editing because they don't deliver the bits and bytes continuously, as a FireWire drive does.

ArcSoft TotalMedia Backup

Before you reformat your new drive, there are a few items on the drive that you might interest you, so copy these files first. There are a number files for PC users and PDF files to help the Mac user with your new drive. Of value is a copy of ArcSoft's TotalMedia Backup application. This interesting program lets you back up in four different ways.

TotalMedia Backup

The first option: Photo, Video, Music back up, backs up your media files as one big back up or incrementally (since the last back up). A second choice is to fully or incrementally back up your photo, video, music, email, MS Office, finance, Act!, Safari favorites, Internet Explorer favorites and/or web page files. The software gives you an opportunity to add new categories.

The third option is to back up selective folders. This is handy if you save your work in different topic-oriented folders, such as a Back Up folder, a This Week folder, or an Acme Trucking Folder. You can choose to back up one or a number of folders.

The fourth option is for those who forget to backup their files. You can schedule a backup with any of the above options. This is a simple program designed to keep you out of trouble and you decide how you want to use it.

Overview

The morespace is a very nice drive with plenty of pep and is whisper quiet. It does a good job as a backup drive and the included easy to use software does a creditable job.

If you need a backup drive, you should get one with as much storage space as you can afford. The price per GB drops to about $.25 per GB over 500 GBs.

by Rick Curran and ilene Hoffman


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