It took a while, but yesterday we finally received the package. Eagerly, I unpacked the drive, connected the power supply to the mains and to my system through USB... and nothing happened.
Checking the packaging yielded the information "formatted for Mac". Now, I am all for making the lives of Mac users easy (because we all know they can use all the help they can get when dealing with technology ;) ), but I'm not too thrilled when that means it doesn't work for me. The damn thing didn't even show up in Gparted! I switched it over to klik's machine (which runs WinXP), which also could not do anything with the drive. Strike one.
Turns out that it was partitioned with a "GPT Protected Partition" that neither Linux nor WinXP know what to do with. Some searching found this forum post where the 'Technical Support Manager' from G-Technology suggested getting a Mac (out of the question) or installing a trial version of Mac filesystem driver software for Windows (not bloody likely to happen on my watch). The person who asked the question was (rightfully) pissed off at the answer, after which the support person never responded anymore. Strike two.
If everything else fails, read the manual -- right? So we popped in the included CD and searched for the manual. But wait... the G-Drive wasn't mentioned. So they included a disc with manuals, but the manual of the product we bought was not on the disc! Strike three. Also, the instructions for the other types of drive were all the same -- but those could only be followed if the protection was lifted. And no word in the manual as to how to do that!
I tend to see these things as quality indicators. Your product may be so good, but if you can't get these easy things done correctly, you are bound to mess up in some unforeseen area. And frankly, G-technology does not impress me in that department. I will never buy any of their products again -- but then again, I'm not the target audience anyway, because I don't use a Mac. I guess.
In the end, I found a blog posting that mentions using Diskpart (on WinXP) to remove the protection, and after that I could reformat the drive into NTFS. We'll do some backups tonight.
Yes, it's a sturdy device with good cooling. But it's also noisy and the flickering of the (rather bright and large) white activity LED on the front is irritating. I foresee that we will only use it for backups, and nothing more.