The notebooks of tomorrow will feature more storage than ever before, so long as companies like Toshiba continue to push the areal density and capacity envelopes of 2.5-inch drives. Such is the case today, as Toshiba announced two new 2.5-inch HDDs: MK7559GSXP (750GB) and MK1059GSM (1TB).
Toshiba says its MK7559GSXP is the industry's highest areal density and capacity drive, which crams 750GB into a standard 9.5mm high, two-platter design. It's also easy on the environment, consuming 14 percent less energy than the previous generation MK6465GSX (640GB) drive.
The 1TB drives sports a three-platter, 12.5mm high design with 6 heads. It consumes a bit more power than the 750GB at 2.2W (seek) and 1.7W (read/write), compared to 1.85W and 1.5W, respectively. But like the other drive, the 1TB model sports a 12ms seek time, SATA II interface, 8MB of cache, and spins at 5400RPM.
Despite a strong showing by Western Digital, Seagate can continue chanting "We're No. 1!," according to the latest figures from market research firm iSuppli.
Hard drive shipments were up 8 percent overall in the fourth quarter of 2009 with 49.9 million units destined for new homes. Seagate, still on top, controls 31 percent of the market, while Western Digital's strong performance has the HDD maker nipping at Seagate's heels with 30 percent of the market.
The results are somewhat of a surprise, says iSuppli analyst Fang Zhang, who said many expected Western Digital would leapfrog in front of its rival. But even though WD is right there, Zhang says Seagate will likely hold onto its top spot in the current quarter.
Don't go digging a grave for the hard drive market, even as SSDs start to come down in price and move towards the mainstream. According to a recently published report by The Information Network, hard drive makers managed to make it through the recession by showing growth in 2009.
The double digit growth nearly topped 11 percent on a unit basis, and if TIN's predictions come true, it will grow by another 11 percent in 2010.
"The market for 2009 was about product mix," noted Dr. Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network. "Seagate leads in the desktop and the enterprise markets, which are down for 2009, while Western Digital has focused on non-desktop applications, primarily 2.5-inch form factor for mobile and CE, which are up in 2009."
Once again, Seagate led the charge as the market leader with shipments of 174.8 million drives, edging out rival Western Digital, which shipped 165.2 million drives.
Toshiba on Wednesday announced a new high-performance, low-power hard drive series aimed at the enterprise crowd, the first of its kind for Toshiba, and a feat the company attributes to "the integration of Fujitsu Limit's enterprise-directed magnetic drive business into Toshiba's HDD business."
The new MBF2600RC enterprise HDD series comes in three different capacities: 300GB, 450GB, and 600GB. Each drive spins at over 10,000RPM, but that isn't the only performance-oriented feature. Improvements to the magnetic recording head and disk's magnetic layer gives the drives an area density of 595Mbit/mm2, the highest so far for 2.5-inch enterprise drives.
Other features include an internal transfer rate of 216MB/s, which is 13 percent faster than the previous generation MD2300RC; optional drive-based encryption; and power management schemes allowing for dynamic spin speeds.
On paper, Linux doesn't seem susceptible to any of the performance pitfalls associated with transitioning from 512-byte to 4096-byte sector hard drives, but is that really the case? According to Timothy Miller, founder of the Open Graphics Project, Linux is just as vulnerable to the potential performance impact as Windows XP.
Miller came to his conclusion after picking up a pair of new Western Digital Caviar Green drives and putting the paper assumption to the test.
"The problem most likely to hit you with one of these drives is very slow write performance," Miller wrote on his blog. "This is caused by improper logical-to-physical sector alignment. OS's like Linux use 4K blocks (or multiples of 4K) to store data, which matches well with the physical sector. However, nothing restricts you from creating a partition that starts on an odd-numbered 512-byte logical sector. This misalignment causes a performance hit since the drive has to read and rewrite the 4K sectors with whatever 512-byte slices changed."
Miller's findings fly in the face of WD's claims, who says that both Mac OS X and Linux would be "unaffected." During Miller's testing, he found that 1000 random aligned 4K writes consistently took between 7 and 8 seconds, while the same number of unaligned 4K writes took between 22 and 24 seconds, or three times longer.
"We've known about this issue for LONG time, and now it's here, and we haven't fully prepared," Miller added.
The market for ultra rugged eSATA portable hard drives has to be pretty small, but hey, here at Maximum PC we're all about catering to a niche right? If your still with us then you might want to check out the LaCie Portable Bus Powered eSATA drive which unfortunately, currently only comes in a 500GB capacity.
The manufacturer promises write speeds of up to 90MB/s, and even offers up a trusty old USB 2.0 connection just in case you find yourself without access to eSATA. The transfer speeds and storage capacity of this drive definitely makes it a compelling product, but some might find the $240 price tag a bit on the high side.
Is this amount of high speed portable storage worth the price?
Seagate on Tuesday said it has begun shipping what it claims is the "world's highest-capacity, most reliable small form factor enterprise drive," the Savvio 10K.4 HDD. As the model number suggests, this one spins at 10,000 RPM, but don't get too excited desktop denizens, this 600GB drive is destined for servers.
"Our customers face challenging storage needs requiring the most efficient use of space and power while maintaining the highest performance possible," said Howard Shoobe, senior manager, Dell Storage Product Management. "The new 2.5-inch 10K-rpm 600GB capacity point allows a doubling of capacity within the same rack space of current 3.5-inch 15K 600GB drives while increasing overall system-level performance and decreasing power usage."
The Savvio drives also come with either a 6Gbps SAS interface with dual-port communication, or a direct 4Gbps Fiber Channel connection. Other specs include 16MB of cache, a 4.6W power draw when idle, and various data protection and power saving features Seagate claims "can reduce the total cost of ownership to IT organizations and administrators."
Do you go for the speed of an SSD or the capacity of a traditional HDD? If you said 'both,' you're halfway to the finish line on this one. Silverstone's new HDDBoost gadget promises to take the best of both worlds, combine the two together, and yield up to a 70 percent increase in performance over that of an existing host hard drive.
The drive enclosure is compatible with most 2.5-inch SDDs and slides neatly into any available internal 3.5-inch drive bay. A SATA cable then connects the enclosure to a mechanical hard drive, and the device does the rest. There's no special software or drivers to muck around with, and it works with any OS tha supports a SATA interface.
Once everything's hooked up, the HDDBoost takes over and copies your most used files to the SSD, and then accesses them first whenever needed. By doing so, Silverstone claims a huge performance boost, all without sacrificing storage space.
Right now the device is only available in Japan and runs about $50. No word yet on when the company plans on shipping it to the U.S. market, but if the HDDBoost lives up to Silverstone's claims, we wouldn't be surprised to see it show up soon.
There's something green in the air this week, what with NEC announcing its carbon footprint conscious AS171 monitor, and Samsung introducing a new line of eco-friendly hard drives, the F3EG.
Sound familiar? That's because the EcoGreen F3EG series replaces the F2EG line, and with it bumps up the flagship model to a 2TB capacity consisting of four 500GB platters. By Samsung's math, that equates to 880 hours of DVD videor or 500,000 (or more) songs in MP3 format.
"Storage-hungry multimedia professionals, gamers, and home PC users contnue to increase the amount of video, music, photo, and other personal data they store and back-up," said In Cheol Park, vice president, Storage Sales, Samsung Electronics. "The F3EG delivers all the benefits of a low-power drive yet features high performance and is environmentally friendly."
Also in the eco-friendly F3EG mix is a 1.5TB model, and along with the 2TB drive, both boast Samsung's EcoTriangleTM technology comprised of low-power, low-noise components, and no halogen content.
BenQ is upping the ante in “ultra-portable” netbooks with the introduction of the Joybook Lite U103. BenQ’s “sub-one-inch wonder” will come with “Intel’s new Atom processor” (or, if you will, the N450, “Pine Trail M”), Windows 7, and dual drives. That’s right--two drives: a regular 500 GB HHD and an optional 32 GB SSD.
The U103, which is “meticulously designed to bring the digital worlds into harmony with consumer lifestyles,” will have 16 x 9, 10.1-inch “UltraVivid” LED backlit display, a 1.3 megapixel webcam, a multi-touch touchpad, SRS TruSurround sound, 802.11 b/g/n/ WiFi, and a 92% full-sized keyboard. Bluetooth is an option. BenQ doesn’t say what the default memory configuration is, or what processor options will be available. Total weight a mere 2.4 pounds.
Battery life will depend. The default 3-cell battery BenQ says will give up to four hours, while an optional 6-cell battery will last up to 8. BenQ also says its “Q-Charge” system will “recover” 4.5 hours of battery life (in the 6-cell) in an hour.
Colors: Arctic White and Ocean Blue. Price: unknown. Availability: now, if you happen to live in China, Taiwan, or Thailand. There’s no word on when we here in the U.S. can get our hands on one.