Active Media Products, makers of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Penguin and Panda USB drives, has added to its Penguin line with a bootable Linux USB (BLU) drive that the company says is compatible with Windows 7.
"These bootable Linux USB drives are handy for users who need flexibility in an OS, and will be an invaluable tool for disaster recovery and system maintenance," Active Media stated in a press release.
Designed in the likeness of an emperor penguin with "exacting detail," the new drives come in 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB capacities, each one pre-loaded with the full installation of Ubuntu Linux 9.0.4., which occupies about 700MB of space.
The drives are available now ranging in price from $13 (1GB) to $44 (16GB), with 5 percent of the retail price donated to World Wildlife Fund.
After being the first to release a 1TB desktop hard drive, Western Digital is at it again with the release of the first 1TB 2.5-inch mobile hard drive.
The drive, known as the Scorpio Blue 1TB, will be accompanied by a smaller 750GB brother as well. These are both already shipping to retailers, and will run you for $189.99 (750GB) and $249.99 (1TB).
Now, it should be noted that this isn’t truly the first drive of this size, given that pureSilicion released a 1TB SSD of this form factor, but kudos to WD on releasing the first 1TB HDD measuring only 2.5-inches.
Solid state drives continue to go through growing pains, and not even Intel can avoid having to beat back bugs in this relatively new market. After some customers reported slowdowns following extended use with the first generation of X25-M SSDs, Intel pushed out a firmware update to fix the problem. Now it appears the company's new 34nm X25-M G2 SSDs are also in need of a firmware update, but for a different problem.
According to OEM system builder Puget Systems, a defect exists in the new drives which causes data corruption if a password is set on the drive in the system BIOS and then is changed or disabled later.
"There was a lot of confusion, but it was clear that something was wrong with these first units - enough so that Newegg and other online vendors had also pulled them entirely from their sites," Puget wrote in a blog. "We too stopped listing them, and began contacting our customers who were expecting us to ship them out this afternoon."
Puget says Intel was able to work out a firmware fix for the problem rather than rework the drives, however the updated firmware won't be available for another two weeks. In the meantime, Intel has stopped shipping the new drives until the fix is fully implemented.
We've seen some third-party USB makers toy with adding movies to USB sticks -- PNY being the first by adding Ghostbusters to a 2GB USB thumb drive -- and now Disney is looking to do the same thing, only with microSD cards.
According to news site TGDaily, Panasonic and Disney have inked a deal to distribute Disney movies on microSD cards, the first of which will be the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy this November. Looking longer term, Disney plans to release future titles on DVD and microSD at the same time.
Buyers will be able to view the movies on car navigation systems, mobile phones, and other portable media players with a microSD card slot, as well as some existing Panasonic TV sets that come with card readers already built in.
There are a couple of caveats, however. First, the card/movie bundles will only be available in Japan, at least initially. And secondly, the $53 price tag and included copy protection may scare off some potential customers.
Much to the delight of power users who avoided the temptation of spending too much for too little capacity in Intel's first-generation X25-M solid state drives, the chip maker earlier this week announced a second generation of SSDs with a die shrink (34nm down from 50nm) and reduced pricing. Even better, Intel's latest pricing has at least one competitor reevaluating its own price points.
That competitor is OCZ, who said it plans to reduce prices on its Vertex, Agility, and Colossus SSD lines. Pricing for Intel's 80GB and 160GB X25-M (34nm) check in at $2.81 and $2.75 per GB respectively, while all but one of OCZ's nine drives receiving a price cut will undercut Intel by at least a few cents per GB, with the 128GB Agility expected to cost $2.11 per GB.
While OCZ is so far the only manufacturer to announce price drops, don't be surprised to see other third-party SSD makers forced to do the same as a result of Intel's comparatively aggressively pricing strategy.
Look for OCZ's price cuts to go into effect in the coming weeks.
Thanks to the recent move to 34-nanometer manufacturing, Intel has been able to create a new series of SSDs, which will (eventually) sport higher capacities, and reduce costs. The new price for the 80GB X25-M drive is $225 (a 60 percent decrease from the $595 price tag a year ago). The 160GB version is down to $440, which is down from its introductory price of $945.
Though, we’ll have to wait a bit for higher capacities. According to Intel’s marketing manager for the NAND Products Group, Troy Winslow, “What we decided to do is split 34-nanometer into a two-step process.” The first step will be to cost-reduce existing 80GB and 160GB drives. “And what we'll do later--and it's not even going to be this year but first half of next year--we will introduce, also on 34 nanometer, a performance enhancement and a doubling of the capacity.”
So what does all this mean? Simply, we won’t see drives over 300GB until next year. Still though, the price cuts are very welcome.
For those of you that are looking to carry around every piece of information that you might ever need (and most of your family photos) around with you in your pocket, Kingston has got the thumb drive for you.
With the recent introduction of their 256GB thumb drive, you’ll be able to take a plethora of files around with you everywhere you go. The drive itself packs a transfer speed of up to 20MB/sec and a read speed of 10MB/sec. And, if you’re using Vista, it also supports Windows ReadyBoost.
Though, this beast is only available in Europe and the UK for a whopping £565.67 ($931.60) upon custom order.
Crucial this week announced what it describes as a "revved-up line" of SSD products, while also noting that the M225 series is the fastest, highest capacity Crucial SSDs to date.
"By upgrading their system with a solid-state drive, mobile computer users will enjoy a faster, more rugged system with storage built for mobility. The fact that SSDs don't have any moving parts makes Crucial solid-state drives quieter, cooler, and more durable than traditional hard drives," said Robert Wheadon, Lexar Media's senior worldwide product marketing manager.
The M225 series is available in 64GB (CT64M225), 128GB (CT128M225), and 256GB (CT256M225) capacities with the following speed grades:
256GB: 250MB/s read, 200MB/s write
128GB: 250MB/s read, 190MB/s write
64GB: 200MB/s read, 150MB/s write
The MLC-based drives also sport 64MB of DRAM cache and come with a 5-year warranty. The drives are available now for $160 (64GB), $330 ($128GB), and $600 (256GB).
Following the success of its high performance X25-M solid state drive, Intel is getting back into the SSD game, this time with higher capacity models that will reportedly offer a much better bang-for-buck.
According to German news site Golum.de, Intel's upcoming Postville family of SSDs will top out at 320GB, with both 80GB and 160GB capacities also planned. These will be MLC-based drives built around a 34nm manufacturing process. By comparison, the X25-M is an SLC-based drive.
Even so, the new series should be decent performers if Golum's information is accurate. The site says the Postville family will serve up read speeds over 200MB/s, putting them in line with the rash of high performance SSDs recently being offered by competitors. The new series might also use a new controller.
No official word on price or release date, but Golum did say both the 80GB and 160GB Postville drives will cost less than the X25-M (80GB).
It seems as though SSD manufacturers are increasingly taking aim at the performance market, and that's certainly the case with Corsair's new Extreme Series SSDs.
Available in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities, the Extreme Series X32, X64, and X128 boast read speeds of up to 240MB/s and write speeds of up to 170MB/s. All three drives also incorporate the Indilinx Barefoot controller and Samsung MLC NAND flash memory.
"The combination of the Indilinx Barefoot controller, Samsung flash memory, and 64MB of on-board cache delivers blistering, stutter-free performance, eliminating the bottleneck imposed by traditional mechanical hard disks," said Jim Carlton, VP of Marketing at Corsair.
In addition, Corsair says its Extreme Series also come with user-upgradeable firmware, which will later add features such as the upcoming TRIM command for Windows 7.
Corsair says the drives are available now, though we didn't spot any being sold at the usual online outlets. Suffice to say, no word on price.