Asus a couple of weeks ago Asus slipped its Disk Unlocker utility under our radar, a piece of software designed to overcome the so-called 2.2TB barrier that, in a nutshell, prevents legacy operating systems from accessing the full storage capacity of hard drives larger than 2048GB.
The way Asus explains it, Disk Unlocker "taps into hidden storage space beyond the nominal 2048GB range, helping you use large hard drives to their maximum potential." The way things currently stand, in order to fully use a storage drive larger than 2.2TB, you need an OS that supports the GUID Partition Table (GPT), which is only supported in 64-bit versions of Windows. To boot from that same drive, things get an order of magnitude more complicated, requiring an UEFI BIOS; 64-bit version of Windows 7, Vista, or Server 2008; non-scented candles; and finely ground albino bat lips.
So where does Disk Unlocker fit into all this? Provided you're rocking an Asus motherboard, the Disk Unlocker utility essentially converts a physical HDD larger than 2048GB into a virtual drive, which can then be recognized in its entirety no matter which version of Windows you're running. And while Asus is a bit vague on this point, the manual appears to state that you can F6 the appropriate drivers during Windows XP installation so that you can boot from the drive as well.
We haven't had a chance to play with it yet, but when we do, you can be sure we'll report back the results.
"The Deskstar 7K3000 is Hitachi's first hard drive to deliver an enormous three terabytes of storage capacity and 7200RPM performance in a standard 3.5-inch form factor," Hitachi says. "The 7K3000 is also the first Hitachi hard drive with a 6Gb/s SATA interface, which along with its 64MB cache buffer delivers a big boost to performance over the previous generation product."
Sounds like something we'd expect Hitachi to shout from a mountain top rather than quietly unveil as they've done. Regardless, Hitachi's new 3TB drive crams all that storage capacity onto five 600GB platters. Combined with the cache and SATA 6Gb/s interface, Hitachi says you can expect up to 27 percent better performance compared to previous generation products in PCMark Vantage.
It's likely Hitachi will formerly announce the new drive in the coming days or weeks, giving the company time to figure out how best to inform users of the 2.2TB barrier. Drives larger than 2.2TB require a number of technologies to coexist if you plan on using them as a boot drive, including a motherboard with a UEFI BIOS and a 64-bit version of Windows Vista or Windows 7. And unlike Western Digital's 3TB Caviar Green drive, Hitachi's 7K3000 doesn't ship with an AHCI-compliant host bust adapter (HBA) to provide an end-around for non-UEFI equipped motherboards.
Market research firm iSuppli is the bearer of bad news, that is if you're rooting for solid state drives (SSDs) to knock their mechanical brethren from the storage throne. According to iSuppli, even though SSDs made some inroads into a handful of influential segments, they aren't likely to replace HDDs in key storage sectors anytime soon.
By the time 2010 comes to a close, SSDs will have tripled their penetration rates in both the enterprise server and desktop markets. Sounds impressive, but even after tripling up, SSDs still will only account for 1.7 percent (enterprise) and 1.2 percent (desktop). Even among notebooks, where SSD penetration is the highest, these drives will account for 2.3 percent of the storage market.
"SSDs will continue to make inroads into these three target markets (enterprise, desktops, notebooks) from 2009 to 2014 -- each segment proceeding at its own rate, but all showing an unmistakable pattern of growth," iSuppli notes. "Yet, SSDs pose no threat at all to the dominion of HDD. While SSD shipments will reach 7.2 million units in 2010, HDD shipments will total a mammoth 662 million."
As always, the roadblock for SSDs is price. According to iSuppli, the OEM cost of a 256GB notebook SSD in October was nearly $400, compared to a 320GB notebook HDD that sells for less than $50.
"All told, iSuppli does not expect SSD to threaten HDD dominance in the overall PC, server, and storage markets within the next five years," iSuppli said.
Slowly but surely, solid state drive (SSD) pricing continues to come down, and according to DigiTimes, Intel and A-DATA in particular have been making concerted efforts to reduce the cost of entry. In the second half of 2010, the two firms have dropped prices by about 10-15 percent.
Meanwhile, hard drive makers have been flirting with price increases for mechanical HDDs so far in the fourth quarter. As DigiTimes tells it, most of the major players -- Hitachi, Seagate, Toshiba, and Western Digital -- have reduced capacity in Q4, which so far has resulted in 4-5 percent price increases among 500GB models.
Then again, HDDs have come down in price so much in recent years that a fourth quarter bump will hardly register on the radar. Much more noticeable is what's going on in the SSD industry, with Intel having recently slashed the prices of its X25-M Generation 2 line, and even Micro Center getting in on the action with a second gen 64GB SSD built around the SandForce 1200 controller for $100.
Seagate has announced that it shipped its 1.5 Billionth hard drive on October 20, 2010. What’s more, it’s getting better at selling them. While it took the company 29 years to ship its 1 Billionth drive, it sold the next 500 million drives in only 2.5 years. Seagate expects to reach the 2 billion mark in the next 2.5 years at this rate.
“Seagate celebrated its billionth hard drive sold in April 22, 2008, and at the time, it equated to: 79 million terabytes, able to store 158 billion hours of digital video or 1.2 trillion hours of your favorite music, while the 1.5 billion hard drives delivered last month equates to approximately 118.5 million terabytes, able to store 237 billion hours of digital video or 1.8 trillion hours of music,” wrote Mark Wojtasiak, senior manager of product marketing at Seagate, in a blog post.
The company is offering its faithful customers the chance of winning a GoFlex 1.5TB hard drive. All they need to do is share their thoughts about the milestone on the celebratory blog post authored by Wojtasiak.
We've been stuck at 2TB for what seems like forever, and there's good reason for that. Drive partitions larger than 2.19TB create a unique problem for PCs, and trying to boot from them requires a mish mash of technologies, including the use of a GPT partition, a modern 64-bit OS (Vista or Windows 7), and a motherboard equipped with an EFI BIOS.
Despite all this, Western Digital has gone ahead and begun shipping a 3TB hard drive in Caviar Green trim, which qualifies as the largest capacity internal SATA drive around. The drive utilizes four 750GB platters as well as Western Digital's Advanced Format technology, which you can read more about here.
To sidestep the issue of integrating large capacity hard drives into your system, Western Digital also bundles an Advanced Host Controller (AHCI)-compliant Host Bus Adapter with its 3TB (and 2.5TB) hard drives, which makes it easier for OSes to locate and use a known driver with correct support for large capacity drives. In other words, you can actually boot from the thing without any crazy voodoo.
The 3TB drive is available now for for $240, while the 2.5TB drive sells for $190.
Shares of Seagate stock skyrocketed 21 percent in after-hours trading after the hard drive maker disclosed it had been approached about going private.
"Seagate Technology announced today that it has received a preliminary indication of interest regarding a going private transaction," Seagate said a statement. "The company is in discussions with the party from whom it received the indication of interest, and its board of directors is evaluating the indication of interest and other strategic alternatives. The company has retained Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated and Perella Weinberg Partners LP to provide financial advice and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Arthur Cox as legal counsel. There is no assurance that the company will receive a formal offer or that any transaction will take place.
"Neither the company nor its representatives will be providing any additional comments regarding the preliminary indication of interest."
According to a report in The New York Times, private equity firms TPG and Kohlbert Kravis Roberts are the two parties making a joint bid for Seagate. Seagate's market value stands at $6 billion, and should it agree to a buyout, it would rank as the biggest private equity deal this year.
According to the company, the C10K600 delivers 15 percent better random and 18 percent faster sequential performance while consuming 22% less power than comparable enterprise solutions currently on the market. The drive is also said to be the only one its class to utilize a 64MB cache.
“The Ultrastar C10K600 is closely aligned with customer requirements for increased performance, improved server/storage density, greater power efficiency and lower total cost of ownership,” said Brendan Collins, vice president of Product Marketing, Hitachi GST.
There is currently nothing to report as far as its pricing and date of release are concerned.
USB 3.0 product announcements are coming thick and fast these days. The latest is brought to you by the world's largest PC maker Hewlett-Packard, which has announced a pocket-size USB 3.0 external HDD that promises to outstrip USB 2.0 drives with a threefold performance boost. As the current abundance of USB 2.0 ports necessitates, HP has made its USB 3.0 external HDD backwards compatible. Weighing 200gm and measuring 4.47″ L x 3.15″ W x 0.75″ H, the drive is available in 500GB, 750GB, and 1TB capacities, costing $79, $99 and $129, respectively. HP is offering a two-year warranty on the drive.
Verbatim has announced the launch of its maiden USB 3.0-equipped portable hard drive. The Store 'n' Go SuperSpeed USB 3.0 compact portable hard drive will be available in 500GB and 750GB capacities in October, with a 1TB variant to follow in November. If your world is rife with USB 2.0 ports like everyone else's, the drive's compatibility with the ubiquitous interface will ensure that you don't feel out of place. We are still waiting for Verbatim to spill out the price of the portable hard drive, but we do know that it will be covered under a 7-year warranty.
"We're excited to introduce the Store 'n' Go, the first portable hard drive in Verbatim's USB 3.0 collection, and allow consumers to experience a significant improvement in data transfer speeds that will let them complete their tasks in a fraction of the time," said Charles Klinker, Verbatim's Director of Marketing, HDD Products. "With the Store 'n' Go, users can seamlessly enter into the new generation of USB 3.0 and safely and reliably share, store and back-up their data anytime, anywhere."