Security outfit Kaspersky Lab has found evidence that the National Security Agency (NSA) may be implanting highly sophisticated malware into the firmware of consumer hard drives where it's not easily detected or removed. Kaspersky's report found custom payloads residing in HDDs from several major brands such as Western Digital, HGST, Seagate, Maxtor, Hitachi, and Toshiba.
Two 4TB drives with 7,200rpm spindles go platter-to-platter
Hardcore PC performance fanatics are rarely satisfied. For example, when we were first given 1TB hard drives, we were excited, but wanted 2TB. Then we got 2TB and wanted 3TB, and so on, until we had a 4TB drive in the Lab. When that drive finally arrived, rather than rejoicing, we continued griping because the drive in question was a Hitachi 5K4000, which spins at a lowly 5,400rpm. The capacity was appreciated, but we wanted a drive with 4TB of capacity and a 7,200rpm spindle speed (we actually want a 4TB SSD, but that’s beside the point). Now the griping shall cease (for the most part), as we finally have 4TB 7,200rpm drives from Hitachi and WD. These fine specimens are the fastest and largest drives of their kind, so if you’re a data hoarder with a need for speed, one of these drives belongs in your rig.
Western Digital’s first 4TB SATA hard drive is the one to get if you have a lot of data (and money).
Western Digital and Seagate command over 90 percent of the traditional hard drive market, so when one of these companies pipes up with concerns, everyone stops and takes note. According to Seagate, first-quarter revenues are likely to be 5 to 7 percent lower than its previous forecast of $4 billion, and it makes us wonder if it’s the start of a new trend.
The mechanical hard drive sector has been consolidating rapidly to help combat the rise of SSD’s, and as of today we officially have one less player. Seagate has succeeded in acquiring a controlling share of LaCie stocks, although they may end up paying slightly more than the €4.05 per share that they initially disclosed. Assuming Seagate manages to accumulate a 95 percent share in the company, the price could jump to €4.17, but this will also net them full control over their French rival.
Back in October 2011, we reviewed the 120GB Patriot Wildfire, the company’s first SF-2281-based SSD. With 32nm Toshiba asynchronous NAND, the Wildfire was a solid, if unremarkable, drive—awesome compared to nearly every other drive, but not quite up to the standard set by Corsair’s Force GT, OCZ’s Vertex 3, or OWC’s Mercury Extreme Pro. With the Pyro SE, Patriot hopes to change that.
The Force GT, Vertex 3, and Mercury Extreme Pro have one thing in common that the Wildfire lacked: 25nm synchronous NAND. Now a Patriot drive has the same stuff. The 240GB Patriot Pyro SE uses 16 128Gb modules of Micron 25nm synchronous NAND. Can the smaller process and synchronous NAND help the Pyro SE keep pace with the best SF-2281 SSDs on the market?
Yes. The better NAND pushes the Pyro SE past its stablemate and into the rarified air at the top of the SandForce-powered heap. With sequential read and write speeds at 482MB/s and 300MB/s, respectively, as measured by CrystalDiskMark, the Pyro SE is about as fast as the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro, and its 4KB random write speed, at over 91,000 IOPS, is the fastest we’ve ever seen from a 6Gb/s SATA drive. The synchronous NAND makes the most impact on sequential write speeds, offering a 40–50MB/s boost over the asynchronous NAND in the Wildfire.
Getting to know your neighbors better used to involve a lot of legwork: heading next door for dinner, chatting over the fence, signing up for the Neighborhood watch, et cetera. The times, they are a-changin', though, and a new study commissioned by Britain's Information Commissioner's Office suggests that these days, all you have to do to understand your fellow man is buy a used hard drive. Almost half of all used hard drives tested by the organization still contained information from their previous owners.
Solid state drives don’t just “sort of” speed up your boot drive, the difference is literally night and day. Anyone who has spent any amount of time with a machine equipped with one will tell you it’s hard to go back to using a mechanical drive, but that doesn’t have Seagate worried. Forbes had an opportunity to sit down with CEO Steve Luczo this week, and he makes a pretty compelling argument as to why the mechanical hard drive industry has nothing to fear from SSD to makers, at least for now.
Sure, the prices of mechanical hard disk drives are going to stay above preflood levels. That sucks, but not all the news on the storage front is as bleak, or as expensive: a number of e-tailers have accidentally leaked details about a new, low cost line of Intel SSDs that are due to hit the streets very, very soon.
Good news for all you mechanical drive freaks out there: the beleaguered and washed-out hard disk drive industry is on track to pull its head back above water in the second half of the year. Yay! Bad news for all you mechanical drive freaks out there: even though HDD output will fully catch up to previous levels, HDD prices are still going to stay above the "dirt cheap" range they were at before the Thailand floods.