Hitachi's new Travelstar 5K750 and Travelstar 7K750 notebook hard drives boast the “highest capacities in a standard 9.5mm two-disk design.” The company has managed to wedge up to 750GB (375GB/platter) into a conventional 9.5mm hard drive enclosure, making the drives compatible with the vast majority of notebooks. The Travelstar 5K750 is a 5,400 RPM hard drive with an 8 MB buffer, and the 7K750 a 7,200 RPM drive with a 16MB buffer.
Available in 750GB, 640GB and 500GB capacities, they are the first Advanced Format hard drives from Hitachi, “allowing for increased drive capacities and improved data integrity at higher storage densities.” Advanced Format hard drives use 4096-byte physical sectors as opposed to the conventional 512-byte sectors.
“The Travelstar 5K750 family is currently shipping in volume. Hitachi Travelstar 5K750 Retail Hard Drive Kits will be available in November with a suggested retail price of $129.99. The Travelstar 5K750 EA version will be shipping to OEMs for qualification by the end of the year,” Hitachi said in a release. “The 7,200 RPM Travelstar 7K750 family, including EA versions and retail kits, will be available in Q1 2011.”
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a federal agency tasked with establishing standards for government and business, did something it's never done before -- it certified a line of enterprise-class hard drives for use within government systems. Specifically, the agency gave Seagate's Cheetah Constellation and Savvio drives its stamp of approval by certifying them to the FIPS 140-2 standard.
"As information storage consumption in the enterprise continues to grow, the ability to secure that data during all stages of a storage system's lifecycle becomes increasingly critical," said Dave Mosley, Seagate executive vice president of Sales, Marketing, and Product Line Management. "The FIPS 140-2 certification of Seagate's enterprise products further validates Seagate's commitment to enabling the widespread adoption of truly government-grade secure storage and hellp customers protect their sensitive personal and business information."
It's getting easier to carry your digital luggage from point A to point B thanks to ever increasing capacities in portable storage. Take for example Seagate's new 1.5TB FreeAgent GoFlex ultra-portable drive. According to Seagage, this ranks as the planet's first 1.5TB portable external drive.
"Today’s announcement is a 'triple-crown' of consumer technology—packaging record breaking capacity, blazingly fast USB 3.0 connectivity and the bonus of movie entertainment—making the 1.5TB GoFlex ultra-portable drive an unprecedented and innovative solution," said Darcy Clarkson, vice president of Global Retail Sales and Marketing for Seagate. "Bringing this solution to market on the heels of our 3TB GoFlex Desk drive and the Momentus XT solid state hybrid drive is proof of Seagate’s continuing technology leadership and tradition of setting storage industry milestones."
In addition to USB 3.0 connectivity, the FreeAgent GoFlex also features 192-bit triple DES encryption, automatic continuous backup, and Seagate's Dashboard management tool for managing backup schedules, viewing drive stats, and more.
For those of you who tend to a take a boatload of photos everywhere you go, Memorex has come up with an external backup solution specifically for you. Dubbed "Mirror for Photos," it's basically a glorified external hard drive that zeros in (not zeros out) your snapshots and backs them up automagically.
"As people’s digital libraries continue to grow, they understand how critical it is to preserve those moments, yet are often intimidated with the notion of backing up," said Jess Walton, Memorex brand manager. "Mirror for Photos provides even non tech-savvy users with a quick, simple and maintenance-free method for backing up and protecting precious memories."
In other words, it's a backup solution you can give your mother and have realistic expectations that she'll actually be able to use it. The device is USB powered and comes in 320GB ($80), 500GB ($100), and 640GB ($120) capacities and is available at...Toys R Us. Award yourself a million geek points if you would have guessed that one.
Plain and simple, solid state drives (SSDs) still cost too much for mainstream adoption. That epiphany seems to have hit Kingston's Scott Chen, VP of sales for Asia Pacific, who says that the price premium of SSDs over hard drives needs to drop by about 20 percent from the current 40 percent to drive widespread adoption.
Great, step one is identifying the problem, and step two would be fixing it. Sometimes it takes a give-and-take between consumers and manufacturers to prove there's a market for certain technology, but in this case, the ball is squarely in the manufacturers' court.
As it stands, the average cost of 1GB of NAND stands at $2.50, which would explain the horrible price-to-capacity ratio of SSDs compared to hard drives. According to Chen, the cost of 1GB of NAND needs to drop below $1 before we'll see any kind of widespread adoption of SSDs.
Chen isn't the only one who thinks so. Back in August, market research firm pegged $0.40 per GB as the price point NAND memory will need to hit before SSDs can become competitive with traditional HDDs.
LaCie has expanded its lineup of USB 3.0-enabled external hard drives (maybe because the Rugged USB 3.0 mobile hard drive it launched in late April had begun pining for siblings). The Minimus and Rikiki are the company's latest USB 3.0-powered HDD offerings. If you believe in love at first sight, then an innate predilection for “sturdy brushed aluminum”will surely boost the odds of you falling for these two drives.
"The Minimus and Rikiki USB 3.0 offer our customers easy and affordable options to access the super speeds of USB 3.0," Philippe Rault, LaCie Consumer Product Manager, is quoted as saying in a release. "Since these products offer backward compatibility with USB 2.0, they will work on any PC or Mac with no worry."
Fair warning folks, if you write on your hard drives with a permanent marker, you may be blacking out the warranty. Take it from Scott (last name withheld) who wrote to The Consumerist complaining that his HDD warranty is now void for having written on it with a Sharpie.
Scott claims the serial numbers on his SATA hard drives weren't being recognized by Seagate's online RMA system and so he called them instead. He was then asked to provide a sales receipt and a photo of the drives.
"Thank you for the pictures," Seagate responded in an email. "Unfortunately, I am unable to read the serial number for either drive, and the writing on the one drive would void any warranty for that drive. If you can please send more clear pictures, I will do my best to have this issue resolved."
Scott didn't upload any pics to The Consumerist, but he insinuates the markings aren't any worse than the ones repair shops put on HDDs to keep from getting them mixed up.
This is not the actual drive Scott tried to RMA. It is, however, an old hard drive we had laying around, and though as some readers have pointed out we didn't use a Seagate unit for this shot, we can assure you that the marker is a genunie Sharpie.
Has something like this ever happened to you? Hit the jump and post your RMA stories, good or bad.
Market research firm iSuppli expects declining NAND flash memory prices to fall to $1 per gigabyte at the end of 2010. This is significant as the $1 per gigabyte level is deemed critical to the success of SSDs. Interestingly, the last time the price was below the $1 threshold the year on the Gregorian calendar was 2008; MLC pricing averaged 90 cents per gigabyte in the fourth quarter of 2008.
iSuppli anticipates 3-bit per cell (TLC) NAND flash memory to average $1.20 per gigabyte during the fourth quarter of 2010 before ending the year at around $1.00. The research firm feels this would be a “precipitous drop from the first quarter of 2010, when pricing for TLC averaged $1.80 per gigabyte and 2-bit per cell (MLC) flash was at $2.05.”
Even though plummeting prices are expected to breathe new life into the SSD market, NAND flash memory prices will have to decline even further for SSD adoption to reach critical mass. According to Michael Yang, senior analyst for memory and storage at iSuppli, NAND flash memory prices will have to plummet to 40 cents by 2012 to pose a threat to HDDs.
“With NAND pricing having returned to per-gigabyte pricing levels not seen in two years, there’s likely to be a lot of new buzz created for the solid state storage market at the end of 2010,” Yang said. “However, traditional HDDs gained a lot of additional ground during the past few years in terms of rising capacity and falling prices. In fact, HDDs have gained so much ground that SSDs now are in danger of never regaining their competitive footing.”
How awesome would it be if your hard drive securely erased sensitive data whenever it's powered down, or when it was removed from your system? Not only would that be rad, but it's now a reality thanks to Toshiba's new Wipe technology for its line of Self-Encrypting Drive (SED) models.
There are a number of scenarios where something like this could prove useful, including obvious ones like your notebook becoming lost or stolen. But that isn't all Wipe is good for.
"Many organizations are now realizing the critical importance of maintaining the security of document image data stored within copier and printer systems," Toshiba explains. "Wipe is a technology that can automatically invalidate an HDD security key when its power supply is turned off, instantly making all data in the drive indecipherable. Toshiba's innovative new Wipe Technology adds advanced storage security features to enable system makers to transparently and automatically secure private data."
On the pedestrian side, Toshiba's Wipe technology can also come in handy when returning a leased system, disposing of a system and/or hard drive, or re-purposing a drive, Toshiba says.