Lost in the buzz surrounding the latest DirectX 11 GPUs and hexacore CPUs is the ability to actually store and retrieve your stuff. Your applications, games, photographs, digital music and everything else lives on your hard drive. But that boring old rotating magnetic disk just doesn’t seem exciting or high tech – even though the technology in a hard drive is actually pretty incredible.
We’ll first touch briefly on technology and jargon, then look at several different scenarios, and try to focus on what storage options might be appropriate and cost effective. But first, let’s talk tech. We’ll first briefly discuss hard drives, then take a quick look at SSDs.
Do you go for oodles of affordable storage in your next PC build with a mechanical hard drive, or raid your son's piggy bank and splurge on an ultra-fast solid state drive? You could go with both -- SSD for the OS, HDD for storage chores -- but that's the most expensive option of all. There's somewhat of a happy medium available in Seagate's Momentus XT solid state hybrid drive, of which Seagate said it shipped 1 million units since last year. Market research firm IDC says that's just the beginning.
When we woke up this morning, we had no idea that the security of backup data would be the trend of the day, but here we are anyways (and to be fair, we don't think so clearly in the morning). We've already told you about the supposedly invincible M-Disc, so let's talk external drives; Seagate's new GoFlex Turbo HDD hit store shelves today, and it comes with the company's SafetyNet Data Recovery Service included. If your GoFlex Turbo gives up the ghost in the next two years, Seagate will try to recover your data for free, either remotely or in-lab.
We're not going to ask for a show of hands on this one; if you own an Apple iMac, that's your business. But as a courtesy to our readers who like to play the field, even when doing so requires dancing on the dark side, we want you to be aware of a recall that affects "a very small number" of Seagate brand 1TB hard drives found in 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac systems.
Don't let anyone fool you into thinking the hard drive market is tanking. If that were the case, Seagate's fiscal quarter and year-end 2011 financial results would look decidedly different, but as it stands, the company claims to have shipped 52 million drives. Revenue for the quarter reached $2.9 billion with net income of $119 million.
According to Seagate, "Most SSD suppliers aren't fully aware of the needs of the enterprise," and that's where the company's Pulsar XT.2 solid state drive comes into play. The Pulsar XT.2 combines single-level cell (SLC) flash with a native 6Gb/s Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interface to make it Seagate's fastest drive to date, and it's now shipping through the distribution channel.
Seagate’s Barracuda line has long been a contender in the 7,200rpm drive space and—7200.11 firmware snafu notwithstanding—has generally vied with WD’s Caviar Black line for the 7,200rpm crown. The Barracuda XT 3TB is a five-platter 7,200rpm drive with 6Gb/s SATA and 64MB of cache, just like the Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000. So what’s the difference?
The European Union frowns on mega-mergers and doesn't like it when a handful of companies control an entire industry. It's not afraid to spank companies that try to grab power, either; just ask Microsoft and Intel, who were each slapped with bowel-quiveringly huge antitrust fines in excess of 1 billion euros in the past. Now, Seagate and Western Digital find themselves in the regulatory spotlight as each company tries to take over competitors in the increasingly cut-throat hard drive business.
For watching movies on the go, it's hard to beat a tablet PC. Unfortunately, the hard drive limitations on portable PCs mean that media junkies like us can quickly run out of disk space.
Seagate's just-announced GoFlex Satellite 500GB hard drive is designed to address the storage concerns associated with on-the-go computers. The drive's built-in Wi-Fi support means you'll be able to leave the hard drive in your backpack while you stream videos to your portable device, and the battery life isn't anything to sneeze at either – the GoFlex will be able to stream video for five straight hours or sit in standby for over a day before it'll need a recharge. That's a lot of Sopranos videos.
The once cluttered hard drive market isn't so cluttered anymore. Back in 2000, Maxtor purchased Quantum's hard disk business, primarily for the company's ATA133 IDE interface. Then in 2006, Seagate scooped up Maxtor. A little more recently, Western Digital picked up Hitachi's storage division, giving WD a 50 percent share of the market. Seagate responded by snatching Samsung's HDD business as part of a "broad strategic alignment" between the two. So which company now wields the largest share of the HDD market?