USB 2.0 might be the present undisputed king of peripheral interfaces, but it certainly is not the only option available, nor is it even the fastest. FireWire 400 (400Mbps), FireWire 800 (800Mbps), and eSATA (300Gbps) are also viable peripheral interfaces found on many desktops and even some laptops--and two of them are even significantly faster than USB 2.0 (480Mbps); which explains why Verbatim has decided to produce a series of external hard drives that include all four interfaces.
Not only is Verbatim's goal with its Quad Interface Desktop Hard Drives to cover as many possible user scenarios as possible, but it is also promoting the drives as a simple means of guaranteeing that the drives can be ported from machine to machine easily--even across systems with different operating systems. (What Verbatin doesn't mention is that in order to achieve the greatest chance of compatibility across platforms, you should format the hard drive using the FAT32 file system). As not all systems use same interfaces, the Verbatim Quad Interface Desktop Hard Drives could be a wise choice for those who cart their external drives to many different systems. For instance, the latest 13-inch MacBook doesn't have any FireWire ports at all (just two USB 2.0 ports); while the most recent 15-inch MacBook Pro has two USB 2.0 ports and a FireWire 800 port. Many high-end gaming desktops now come with eSATA interfaces as part of their standard configurations.
The Quad Interface Desktop Hard Drives measure 1.5x5.9x8.7-inches (HWD) and weigh 3.3-pounds. Verbatim describes the drive chassis as "housed in sleek yet durable black aluminum cases
." The Quad Interface Desktop Hard Drives use 3.5-inch, 7,200-rpm disks with a 32MB cache. The drives come with all of the interface cables you might need: "USB 2.0 A-B cable; FireWire 1394a, 1394b bilingual and 1394b Beta cables, [and] an eSATA cable
." The drives also comes with the Nero BackItUp 2 Essential software for Windows PCs.
The 500GB version of the Quad Interface Desktop Hard Drive has an MSRP of $179.99 and the 1TB version has an MSRP of $249.99. Based on current prices on Newegg, the sweet spot for 7,200-rpm, 500GB external drives is between about $110 and $130; there is a much wider price variation for 1TB drives, which tend to range from about $120 up to about $215. It's too early to tell, however, how much below the MSRP the Verbatim Quad Interface Desktop Hard Drives will likely sell for in retail and online, or how much of a premium the integration of four different interfaces will impact the price compared to other drives with fewer interface options.