Over the last few weeks we have taken a look at a variety of Seagate external solutions. Another big part of their business is workstation or business class products. Because of that its no shocker that they have an entire line just for that, it’s called BlackArmor. BlackArmor stands out from the FreeAgent line with a all black product line, business grade software, and high quality hard drives all designed specifically for business applications. Today I will be taking a look at the BlackArmor WS110 3.5 inch workstation external drive. How well will it compare to their FreeAgent line of externals?
Product Name: Seagate BlackArmor WS110
Review Sample Provided by: Seagate
Review by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
|Model Number||ST320005BWA1E2-RK and
|Interface||USB 2.0 & eSATA|
|Capacity||1 TB and 2 TB|
|Height (max)||175 mm (6,89 inches)|
|Width (max)||33.7 mm (1.33 inches)|
|Length (max)||172 mm (6.77 inches)|
|Weight (typical)||1390 grams (3.06 pounds)|
|Shipping Weight||1.81 kilograms (3.99 pounds)|
Packed in a little more proper and business like dark gray packaging the WS 110 has all of the important info on the outside of the packaging. The front has a few of the features listed along with the size and a picture of the WS 110. On the back you will find more information on the included software, even including a picture. The left side has a full list of what’s included in the box along with the system requirements, just below that important info you will also find a close up of the Ws 100’s hookups. To finish everything up on the right side you will find a short write-up on the entire BlackArmor line. Inside the hard drive is packed away snuggly in recycled paper and the accessories are all packed in a small cardboard box.
Installing the WS 110 is a little more complicated than some of the 2 1/2 inch FreeAgents due to the inclusion of a power cord. Obviously this isn’t designed for portability. Hooking up the power cord and plugging in the USB cable was fairly simple and everything started up right away. I was disappointed with the lack of an eSATA cable considering this drive supports is, in the past even the cheapest HD enclosures included the cable.
First I want to address the software; obviously this is the biggest difference between the BlackArmor’s and the FreeAgent. I was thoroughly impressed with the BlackArmor’s software. Not only did it have options similar to the FreeAgent software, but they went above and beyond with a list of extra features. They included the option to clone hard drives, "file shredding", and a system clean-up that clears out all of your system usage. Another feature I found interesting and useful is the included Try and Decide that gives you the ability to try out software or perform risky operations without worries. On top of those features there are the standard backup options that backup an entire disc or partition or something as small as specific application settings.
The drive itself performed amazing when hooked up through eSATA, in fact its performance came close to the numbers that we saw with the Velociraptor last week(other than the access time obviously). When testing using the USB2 interface the transfer rate stayed at almost flat 33MB/sec proving the need for the eSATA interface.
The WS110 styling is bland compared to their FreeAgent series, but the software makes the BlackArmor stand out. Put the great software along with the eSATA interface and you have a great package. The drive itself performed with some of the best drives on the market, a surprise coming from an external hard drive. In fact my only complaint was the lack of an eSATA cable with the WS110; most eSATA enclosures even include the cable. Of course that’s not enough to turn me away, Seagate has a good product. They even back it with a 5 year warranty too boot. Although the BlackArmor series is designed for business use, I think they are also ideal for enthusiasts looking for more out of their external hard drive.