PhotoFast G-Monster X Drive USB 3.0 Review

The PhotoFast G-Monster X Drive is a USB 3.0 enclosure for CF cards and 1.8″ hard drives.  Essentially, the G-Monster X Drive turns a CF card or micro-sized hard drives into an ultra-compact, high speed hard drive.

Recently, I added a USB 3.0 PCIe adapter and an external USB 3.0 hard drive to my desktop PC as a media drive for video editing.  So far, it has worked very well – with no discernable difference in performance from my internal hard drives.  I have since become a big fan of USB 3.0 tech and was glad to hear about the G-Monster X Drive from Photofast.

Let me point out at the start that the G-Monster X Drive is not a dedicated CF card reader.  It could be, but that’s not the way that PhotoFast built the thing.

It is an enclosure that is actually fastened shut by a pair of phillips-head screws because the circuit board is exposed when opened.  So, you plug your CF card or 1.8″ SSD into the exposed pins and then seal it shut.  This makes it ill-suited for many photographers’ use of CF cards.  However, if you are transferring data among PCs with USB 3.0 connections, then it could be a feasible option.  Additionally, the G-Monster X Drive’s USB 3.0 interface is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 connections.  Although, you’ll need to use a USB 3.0 cable because of the on-drive USB 3.0 interface.

Now, about that G-Monster X Drive’s performance . . . .

I typically use a SanDisk USB 2.0 CF card reader to import files from my CF cards.  For the most part, I’ve been satisfied with (or at least, grown to live with) the speed at which photos and videos transfer onto my computer.

To put the PhotoFast USB 3.0 enclosure up against the SanDisk USB 2.0 reader, I used a folder containing around 2000 or so image files that was 6.09GB is size for my test files.

I imported those files to my internal hard drive from the SanDisk USB 2.0 card reader in 5:44 minutes.  I imported the same 6.09GB of files to my internal drive using the same CF card and the PhotoFast USB 3.0 G-Monster X Drive in 95 seconds.

The PhotoFast G-Monster X Drive USB 3.0 enclosure is substantially faster than USB 2.0.  You’ll definitely be more limited by the speed of the CF card than you will the USB 3.0 interface.  The downside for photographers is that you are limited in the ability to interchange CF cards on the fly.

I would quickly shell out the $49 asking price for G-Monster X Drive if it were a true CF card reader – especially since there does not appear to be a USB 3.0 CF card reader on the market yet.  It seems to me that PhotoFast could make some slight modifications to the existing case and have a nice little USB 3.0 card reader.

The ability to pocket a 64GB CF card with USB 3.0 speed (or USB 2.0 convenience, when necessary) makes the $49 G-Monster X Drive a possible alternative to portable hard drives.  The closed casing, however, makes it impractical to adapt as a card reader.

You can find out more about the PhotoFast G-Monster X Drive at PhotoFastSSD.com or order one from the US distributor, DVNation.