A-Data's newest external hard drives employ you to "enjoy technology with a touch of style." And by that, A-Data means you should decide between rolling with sweet pink, sapphire blue, purple, or a white color scheme for your portable storage needs.
The color selection comes courtesy of A-Data's CH91 external HDD line. Coated in a metal-like paint spray, the new drives are available in capacities up to 500GB (250GB and 320GB also available) and support Microsoft's ReadyBoost technology. The USB powered drives measure 134mm x 82mm x 16.7mm, feature a blinking LED to indicate power and activity, and comes with a USB Y cable, suede pouch, and backup software.
Early solid state drives (SSDs) suffered from a number of negative characteristics preventing them from finding use in mainstream applications. These included low capacity, surprisingly poor performance, reliability concerns, and high prices. Recent advances have addressed many of these concerns, but comparatively high prices still plague SSDs. Not for long, says Samsung, who expects SSD pricing to fall in line with HDDs in the next few years as flash memory prices continue to fall.
"Flash memory in the last five years has come down 40, 50, 60 percent per year," said Brian Beard, flash marketing manageing for Samsung Semiconductor, in a phone interview with CNet. "Flash on a dollar-per-gigabyte basis will reach price parity, at some point, with hard disk drives in the next few years."
Samsung, who makes both SSDs and HDDs, points out that hard disk drives have a fixed cost for its various parts, such as $40 or $50 for the spindle, motors, PCB, and cables, and that adding capacity or making them faster really doesn't add much incremental cost to the drive. But with SSDs, which also have a fixed cost for the PCB, case, and controller, adding capacity entails adding more flash chips, which adds to the fixed cost of the drive. "For example, if the spot price of the flash chip itself is $2, a 64GB drive is going to cost $128 just for the flash and then you would add the fixed cost of the PCB an the case," Beard said.
According to Beard, the sweet spot for for SSDs this year will be 64GB moving to 128GB on the business side, and 128GB moving to 256GB on the consumer end.
Move over Western Digital and make room for Samsung with its new EcoGreen F2EG hard drive. At 1.5TB, Samsung's environmentally conscious hard drive offers high capacity while cutting back on power consumption by almost half over "competitive drives."
"Lower platter count means less power to start the motor, less power to continuously spin the motor and a lighter head-stack which takes less power to seek," said Andy Higginbotham, director of HDD sales and marketing for the Samsung Semiconductor Storage Division. “With fewer heads and disks, the F2EG hard drive has a lower probability of head-disk failures, enabling customers to build more reliable systems."
The EcoGreen F2EG hard drive serves up 500GB on each of its 3 platters. Combined with the company's EcoTriangle "low-power, low-heat, low-noise operating technology," Samsung says the F2EG reduces power consumption by 40 percent in idle mode and 45 percent in reading/writing mode.
In addition to 1.5TB, the EcoGreen series also comes in 500GB and 1TB capacities with both 16MB and 32MB cache.
The F2EG drives are shipping now to "major OEM businesses," with the 1.5TB version priced at $149 MSRP.
Less than a month after Fujitsu announced it would end production of read/write heads for hard drives, the company has sold off its HDD business to Toshiba. The two companies are aiming to have the transfer completed in the first quarter of 2009. Previously, Fujitsu was engaged in takeover talks with Western Digital, but the two couldn't agree on terms.
"Fujitsu will facilitate the transfer by bringing its HDD-related businesses and functions together in a new company," Fujitsu wrote in a press release. "Toshiba will acquire about an 80 percent stake in this company and make it a Toshiba Group subsidiary. In order to promote a smooth transfer, Fujitsu will continue to hold a stake of under 20 percent in the new company for a certain period of time, after which it will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba."
Toshiba, who is already a player in the 2.5-inch HDD market, looks to reinforce its position, while also moving in on the enterprise HDD market, an area Fujitsu has been very active. Toshiba is also looking at the solid-state drive (SSD) market, "fusing Toshiba's NAND flash memory technology with Fujitsu's enterprise HDD technology." Despite the heavy focus in the past several months, SSDs have been intentionally overlooked by Fujitsu, who has been turned off random write performance.
Toshiba said it will aim to raise its share in the overall HDD market to over 20 percent by 2015.
Seagate this week announced a new line of hard drives aimed at enterprise environments. Dubbed "Constellation," Seagate's new drives come in both 2.5- and 3.5-inch form factors and boast both high capacities and power efficiency.
The 2.5-inch Constellation model comes in 160GB and 500GB capacities offering both 3Gb/s SATA and SAS 2.0 interface (6Gb/s). Seagate says that by utilizing the new SAS protocol, the Constellation hard drives make possible larger external storage topologies, twice the data throughput, and a higher signal strength over longer distances. Dell has already jumped on board as one of the first OEMs planning to offer the Constellation series.
Of more interest to desktop users, the 3.5-inch Constellation ES model comes in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities, the latter of which currently ranks as the highest capacity hard drive available (Western Digital also recently released a 2TB drive in Australia).
The 2.5-inch Constellation will begin shipping this quarter, with the 3.5-inch Constellation expected to ship in Q3.
Many a hardware-encrypted disk has crossed the path of the consumer market lately, but they’ve universally been a questionable investment. All the encryption systems have been proprietary, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone that’s looking to store all their valuable data on a system that can’t be read in a few years down the line.
Thankfully, the Trusted Computing Group has just announced that (almost) every drive maker has agreed on 128-bit encryption for all SSDs and HDDs. The major vendors, such as Fujitsu, Hitachi, Seagate, Samsung, Toshiba, Western Digital, IBM, Wave Systems, LSI and Ulink Technology have all hopped on board.
With any luck we in the consumer market will be looking at simpler disk encryption sometime very soon.
Confirming an earlier rumor that Western Digital had been nearing the release of a 2TB internal hard drive, the HDD maker is now producing and shipping the record capacity HDD. However, the new drive is so far only available through Mwave Australia.
The 2TB drive carries Western Digital's GreenPower moniker, an eco-friendly designation WD claims represents a 4-5 watt savings over standard desktop drives. According to Western Digital's product page, the new drive sips up to 7.4W during read/write operations, 4W at idle, and 0.97W during sleep or standby. Other specs for the WD20EADS include a 7200RPM spindle speed and 32MB of cache.
The drive sells for AU$378, which converts to about $250USD. No word yet on U.S. availability or pricing.
We've been following closely ever since some Seagate hard drive owners started complaining late last week that their hard drives were failing "at an alarming rate." Following a flood of complaints on Seagate's support forum and plenty of media coverage, Seagate responded with a firmware update that was supposed to solve the issue and prevent future lockups from occurring for owners who hadn't yet been affected. Turns out the new firmware wasn't quite ready for prime time, and Seagate had to pull the update after learning it was bricking users' hard drives. Oops!
The latest straight from Seagate is that the company has now released yet another firmware update that both will prevent future problems and undo the damage inflicted by installing the original firmware 'fix.'
Last week an unusual number of Seagate 1TB Barracuda hard drive owners came forward complaining of lock ups and other related hard drive failures. The problem appeared to affect Barracuda 7200.11 drives made in Thailand (ST3100034AS), to which Seagate ultimately determined was the result of faulty firmware. But now users are complaining that the updated firmware Seagate posted has only made matters worse.
According to Tomshardware, "100 percent of users who attempted the update have bricked their drives with the new firmware" after updating to version SD1A. The update is now "temporarily taken offline as of Jan 19, 2008 8PM CST for validation," but users who managed to attempt the update before it was taken offline say they are getting read errors preventing them from accessing the data.
While the knowledgebase article makes no mention of manufacture date, one user who contacted Seagate customer support claims he was told only drives manufactured in December need to be updated, and his drive, which was built in October, failed because of this. Whether or not that's the case, we'll have to wait until hearing an official word from Seagate. In the meantime, if you're an affected owner, you'd do well to keep an eye on this thread.
Research into the field of light powered computing has made some considerable strides as of late. Most notably, the science behind a laser powered hard drive has been more solid than ever before.
A laser powered hard drive would work on the principles of picosecond pulse lasers working where magnetic read/write heads would (something that was considered to be impossible until recently). Drives working on these fundamentals would provide a 1 TB/s transfer rate with their first generations, and others after that would reach speeds of 100TB/s and over.
Supposedly, this technology will be available within only five years, but like most laser technology, we’ll believe it when we see it.