The ioSafe Extreme is a portable, bus-powered hard drive that is built like a tank. It is available in 500GB or 1TB capacities with a 5400RPM spinning drive, or with a SSD drive from 120GB-600GB capacities. The latest models are USB 3.0 only; however, the model that I reviewed was a FW800 with a 5400RPM 1TB drive inside.
The enclosure is a solid aluminum enclosure that matches up nicely with current generation Mac products. Moreover, the aluminum enclosure is crush resistant up to 2500 lbs, while the available titanium enclosure is crush proof up to 5000 lbs. Essentially, you can run over these things with a car and it will still function properly.
I didn’t perform this test, but apparently plenty other folks have. See the following video for proof (skip to the 2:27 mark to see a truck run over it).
In addition to the crush resistance, the ioSafe Extreme can handle 10′ drops and can be submerged in up to 10′ of water for up to 3 days with no data loss. It also has a Kensington lock slot for theft protection. ioSafe backs up these claims by offering a 1-year data recovery service and 1-year warranty for any damage or defects.
Given that the drive was a 5400RPM hard drive, I didn’t expect it to be all that peppy. Much to my surprise though, the ioSafe Extreme delivered 80MB/s write speeds and 78MB/s read speeds when I put it through the paces. It’s the fastest 5400RPM FireWire drive that I’ve ever used.
However, this probably has more to do with how ioSafe makes use of the FireWire controller than the disk speed. Still yet, it is a very efficient drive. Even my beloved G-Tech Mini 7200RPM drives manage only 74MB/s write and 80MB/s read speeds.
The only downsides to the ioSafe Extreme for me are the size and price – both of which are a given though when you consider the extreme toughness of the drive’s build. You can still find these FireWire drives in the $300 price range on Amazon; however, I expect them to be phased out soon in favor of the new USB 3 ioSafe drives, which should be even faster.