Partitioning your hard drive has never been easier. Free options, including the Windows install disk, make this once monumental task a fairly simple two-click experience that many of us don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about when we first install our OS’s. It can sometimes be difficult to anticipate your storage needs up front, and many users just assume they are stuck with decisions they made long ago.
A typical user could have many reasons for breaking up a hard drive into multiple volumes, but partitioning your drive after installing an OS is typically a destructive proposition -- one that usually involves backing up your data, formatting, and starting clean. Commercial solutions such as Norton Partition Magic has existed for years and allows you to preserve your data while resizing volumes, but what if you’re working on a limited budget (or completely without one)? That’s where GParted comes into play. This free and open source disk partitioning tool was designed for Linux, but luckily for us Windows users, it comes bundled in a live CD or USB version called Parted Magic which takes care of the Linux requirement.
In this guide we will look at how to use the interface to resize, delete, or create new partitions, all without losing your data or starting over. This will come in handy if you made your Windows partition too large or too small, or if you’re happy with Windows XP, but want to give Vista a spin. Backups are still heavily advised, but with our help, and a bit of luck, you won’t need them. Read on!
Toshiba’s 320GB portable drive is so plain it doesn’t even have a real name. It’s just the Toshiba 320GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive, which doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as well as Western Digital’s My Passport Elite, the Toshiba 320’s primary competition in terms of size, speed, and software (see our review of the Elite here).
The USB-only Toshiba 320 posted the slowest real-world read speeds of any drive we’ve tested. However, these lapses represent only a four percent difference in real-world performance when compared to the fastest non-proprietary drive we’ve tested, Western Digital’s My Passport Elite. Four percent is four percent, but it’s not enough to make a significant difference.
Despite falling hard drive prices, a weakened dollar, and other economic woes, Western Digital managed to post revenue of $8.1 billion and an operating income of $1.0 billion for fiscal year 2008. That represents a full-year revenue increase of 48 percent. It gets even better for the hard drive maker, who also posted a net income of $867 million, or $3.84 per share, marking a whopping 54 percent jump from one year ago.
In the report, Western Digital says that 63 percent of Q4 revenue came from non-desktop sources, while 37 percent came from hard drives configured into desktop PCs. By contrast, those numbers sat at 46 and 54 percent respectively one year ago.
"Fiscal 2008 was an outstanding year for WD, capped off with the strong fourth-quarter financial performance," said John Coyne, president and CEO. "Our outstanding financial performance demonstrates the efficiency and effectiveness of the business model that we have built and refined over the last several years, underpinned by our industry leading cost structure."
WD's financial performance is also indicative of of the growing mobile market, in which the company shipped 11.7 million 2.5-inch mobile drives.
Buffalo’s 500GB DriveStation Combo 4 external drive is the fastest USB drive we’ve ever tested, and it even holds its own on an eSATA connection. That’s thanks to a propriety technology called TurboUSB that squeaks additional speeds out of the device.
Power users who have dreamed of outfitting their portable backup solution in a RAID 0 array can now do so thanks to Addonics' new Portable Dual Drive RAID enclosure (AE25RDESU). Nervous Nellies are covered too, with RAID 1 providing a backup for your backup. The handheld device accepts up to two 2.5-inch SATA drives inside its "heat resistant aluminum" chassis, or pick up the optional SATA-CF hard disk adapter and install up to four CompactFlash cards. Other notable features include:
Easy installation and removal of hard drive
USB 2.0/1.1 and eSATA support
RAID configuration with DIP switch or GUI configuration
Supports RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, BIG (Concatenation), SAFE50, SAFE33, or GUI mod using built-in hardware RAID
Can be powered by USB port
For backup duties Addonics throws in DriveClone software and the device itself includes a backup button the company claims "can be configured to provide the convenience of one button backup of any critical files or folders."
Pricing has been set to $100 and can be purchased now.
Notebook hard drives have a ways to go before catching up to their desktop brethren in terms of storage capacity, and Samsung takes them one step closer. With the release of Samsung's new Spintpoint M6 500GB 2.5-inch hard drive, the company can lay claim to offering the world's highest capacity HDD for notebooks.
Samsung stuffed three 167GB platters into the 9.5mm high Spinpoint, and combined with the perpendicular magnetic recording technology, the company says its new drive can store 160,000 digital images, 125 hours of DVD movies, or 60 hours of high definition video images.
With a 5400RPM spindle speed and 8MB of cache, the new drive looks to focus more on storage space and reliability than all-out performance, though it does sport a 3.0Gbps SATA interface. Other performance specifications include
12ms average seek
5.6ms average latency
860 Mbits/s data transfer rate (to/from buffer)
300 MB/s data transfer rate (to/from host)
600,000 controlled ramp load/unload
At standby, Samsung says its new Spinpoint will sip just .25W, and typically 2.3W during read/write operations. MSRP has been set to $299.
Marketing research firm iSuppli has reported on the status of the hard drive industry, and from the sounds of it, we just can’t get enough storage.In the first quarter of 2008, hard drive vendors shipped over 137 million units in a seemingly futile attempt to satiate consumer’s appetites for inexpensive storage. Despite the 21 percent increase in sales over the same period last year, many HDD vendors such as Seagate continue to struggle. iSuppli speculates that lower prices and a disproportionate demand for lower margin desktop drives are to blame. This is a trend that is likely to continue as SSD’s continue to plummet in price and become the storage medium of choice for mobile devices mainly due to its durability. Despite the challenges conventional hard drive makers face in the mobile market, iSuppli is forecasting strong demand in the second quarter with shipments estimated to be up by as much as 16 percent over 2007. Seagate continues to lead the pack with profits of $363 million, followed by Western Digital at $298 million, and Hitachi at $65 million. This is excellent news specifically for Hitachi who has been struggling to pull itself out of the red. So has our insatiable appetite for digital media made mass storage devices recession proof?
The divide between desktop computer and home theater PCs continues to shrink, fueling the demand for both larger and quieter hard drives. With this in mind, Hitachi announces two new hard drives the company claims will "deliver low power and quiet acoustics for digital video applications."
The CinemaStar 7K1000.B comes in capacities ranging from 160GB on up to 1TB and utilizes Hitachi's CoolSpin technology. Drives equipped with CoolSpin use a motor speed Hitachi says makes it the "industry's quietest, most energy-efficient 3.5 inch hard drives" on the market.
Hit the jump to learn more about the new CinemaStar hard drives and see one of the trippiest videos ever!
We almost didn't believe our eyes, but Fabrik is launching a completely eco-friendly external drive. And by completely, we mean completely. The outer shell of the 500GB Simpletech "Redrive" is constructed of 100-percent recycled aluminum and bamboo. And even the drive's packaging seems to have been designed by a Planeteer: the box itself is made up of 100-percent recyclable material, and there are no extra plastic bags, twist ties, or printed marketing materials of any kind.
Click the "Read More" link to check out all the other products Fabrik showed us!
Asus' Eee PC is quickly becoming the iPod of the ultraportable market, and if the latest rumor turns out to be true, it will even have an assortment of accessories to go along with the low power notebook. According to German site Eee PC News, Asus will soon add an attractive looking external hard drive that connects via USB. But that's not all. The site also shows photos of an external optical drive and a 3G connection card called the T500, which also looks to fit into a USB port.
If true, add the peripherals to the growing list of Eee branded products. And if not, props to a damn convincing Photoshop job.