Capacity: 4-22 TB
Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 2
Claimed sequential read performance: Up to 280 MB/s
Claimed sequential write performance: Up to 280 MB/s
Compatibility: Formatted APFS for macOS 10.15+ (Time Machine compatible); Windows® 10+ (via reformat)
Dimensions (L x W x H): 210mm x 133mm x 41mm
The SanDisk Professional G-Drive makes an impression right out of the box. This external HDD isn't just made to impress your eyes, though, with its Blade Runner-esque design or the grey anodised aluminium casing, because its main aim is to discombobulate you with its gargantuan storage space.
When I was a kid, 12 terabytes belonged to the realm of science-fiction. Whether this says more about technological advances or my age remains up for debate, but I couldn't help but cast my mind back to thinking a terabyte is something you'll fit in a medium-sized room at best, as I held in my hands this slightly-bigger-than-palm-sized block of metal.
And this isn't even the biggest one SanDisk Professional makes. While I had been sent the 12TB version to test and review, you can order up to 22TB variants of this same drive, in this same casing. The G-Drive Pro version of it is already one of our best external hard drives (opens in new tab), so expectations were high. First impressions? They were a good sign indeed.
SanDisk Professional G-Drive review: Design and build
The SanDisk Professional G-Drive looks stylish and striking when compared to most external hard drives, which tend to be dull variations of a black/grey cuboid with a logo plastered somewhere. Not so the G-Drive. Confusingly bearing almost the same name as the G-Drive Pro, the G-Drive has a rounded hexagonal front profile rather than a rectangular one, with a grille-like row of grippy slats on the front and along the top and bottom within the aluminium casing. It looks, dare I say it, a bit cool.
And for the more OCD among us (and considering HDDs are often used together in a daisy chain), it's stackable too, convenient for space-sparse pros.
SanDisk Professional G-Drive review: Features and performance
On the inside we get a little more technical. As the SanDisk Professional G-Drive is an HDD, not an SSD, we obviously can't expect the same transfer speeds as an SSD provides, but the G-Drive claim transfer speeds of up to 280 MB/s for the biggest model, and 250 MB/s for the model I tested, the 12TB one. That's speeds usually reserved for two or more HDDs in a RAID configuration, so chalk that one under: bold.
To achieve this, SanDisk has a 7200RPM Ultrastar enterprise-class hard drive inside, using spinning metal for lower friction and higher speeds, and I was keen to see whether it could deliver on its boast.
Write: 231.67 MB/s; Read: 229.04 MB/s
Write: 287.27 MB/s; Read: 234.24 MB/s
In short: yes. In fact, the SanDisk G-Drive over-performed in our CrystalDiskMark benchmark test, reaching a write speed of 287.27MB/s, almost 15% above the claimed figure, and the read speeds came very close to the advertised number too.
In a real-world setting, transferring large video files, images, and large numbers of smaller documents seemed very consistent with benchmark numbers, although of course with the segmenting that happens with many small documents, you will get a lower average speed, whether that's on an HDD or SSD.
With several of those linked up, I can imagine that speed gets boosted even further, and to support that, the G-Drive has a Thunderbolt dock and a high-speed USB-C transfer cable that claims speeds of up to 20 Gbps. Convenient to know if you're producing an MCU-sized film...
It comes preformatted for use with a Mac, but can be easily reformatted to an NTFS or exFAT format for use with a Windows system.
SanDisk Professional G-Drive review: Price
The G-Drive ranges from £206.99/$209.99 for the 4TB version to £707.99/$649.99 for the 22TB one. The 12TB model I tested has an RRP of £468.99/$379.99. That's not cheap. In fact, it's more expensive than many equivalently sized external hard drives on the market right now, including WD Gold and Seagate Expansion drives. But apart from the looks, this drive has transfer speeds a step above most, offering a kind of bridge between SSD and HDD drives when it comes to size without sacrificing too much speed.
Should you buy the SanDisk Professional G-Drive?
If you're not a professional filmmaker, photographer or someone whose profession involves storing immense amounts of data locally, you're not gonna need this drive. But if you do need something that transfers files quickly enough to not throttle your workflow with enterprise-level capacity, the SanDisk Professional G-Drive, with its durable design, excellent performance and the SanDisk mark of quality, it might well be worth the premium price tag.