There’s a hidden part of each of us that revels in destruction. That part of us sees a piece of technology billed as “rugged” and vows to destroy it. Granted, most rugged hard drive enclosures are a joke—a thin layer of rubber over a standard plastic chassis; or a thin aluminum shell, if you’re lucky, with a 2.5-inch drive held inside. They’re meant to survive a drop from a desk to the floor, or sometimes just to look cool. IoSafe, on the other hand, is serious about the “rugged” label, and the Rugged Portable SSD is among the toughest external drives you can get. Challenge accepted.
Toshiba is trying to cover all the bases with its new Canvio 3.0 portable hard drive line. These drives ship in 500GB, 750GB, and 1TB capacities for local backups, support fast transfers via SuperSpeed USB 3.0, support plug-and-play operation, and come pre-loaded with cloud-based backup software.
Super Talent has come up with a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 thumb drive the company claims is fast, secure, and malware resistant. The new USB 3.0 DataGuardian is fast because, well, it's built to take advantage of USB 3.0; it's secure because it requires a password to access data stored on the device; and it's supposedly impervious to all (not some) auto-run malware attacks.
You have third-party chip makers to thank for your USB 3.0 ports, a handful of which stepped up to the plate while AMD and Intel work on baking SuperSpeed USB 3.0 support into their chipsets. VIA Labs is one of those companies, and its 4-port VL800 and 2-port VL801 SuperSpeed USB Host controllers are now officially certified by the USB Implementators Forum (USB-IF), the non-profit organization whose mission is to maintain the USB spec and run a compliance program.
We're less concerned than ever about the lack of native SuperSpeed USB 3.0 support on motherboards, in part because it's coming, but also because third-party USB 3.0 chips are getting the job done without jacking up consumer costs. It's getting tough to buy a modern motherboard or computer system without USB 3.0 ports anymore -- not that you'd want to -- and it's time for device makers to step up to the plate. Coming up to bat is Corsair, which hit a solid triple by announcing the availability of USB 3.0 versions of its Flash Voyager GT, Flash Voyager, and Flash Survivor product lines.
Seagate on Wednesday started shipping the highest capacity external hard drive in the world. The company’s FreeAgent GoFlex Desk family now boasts a 4TB drive, which is a first for the industry. Even though this particular capacity might be a first, but the company is no stranger to having the distinction of selling the world’s highest capacity hard drive. It had raised the HDD capacity bar last September as well when it became the first company to begin shipping a 3TB drive. Hit the jump for details.
We don't know if Transcend is dabbling in voodoo these days or what's going, but somehow the company figured out a way to cram 2TB of storage into a container that's about the length of a USB thumb drive and only slightly thicker than a penny. Some of the credit also goes to Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), which co-developed the 'Thin Card' device.
We've given up badgering AMD and Intel to implement native USB 3.0 into their chipsets, in part because both have plans to support the SuperSpeed spec, and also because third party chips from the likes of NEC and VIA work so well without driving up the cost of motherboards. That's the hardware side. On the software side, Microsoft is creating a brand new USB software stack to better support the USB 3.0 ecosystem.
If you're looking solely at transfer rates, the USB 3.0 specification – with its 5Gbps speeds – may be plenty fast, but it already can't push the same amount of raw data as, say, Thunderbolt. New specifications coming down the pipeline, like SATA Express and external PCIe, are promising speeds that flat-out blow USB 3.0 out of the water. The USB Promoter Group's aiming to stay in the race with an innovative tactic; rather than compete solely with transfer rates, they're also turning the familiar USB connection into the equivalent of a 100W power cord.
Even with the lack of native USB 3.0 support in current chipsets, the SuperSpeed spec is thriving all the same thanks to third party chips from NEC, VIA, and others. That means whether you own a recently purchased or self-built PC, or plan on upgrading in the near future, it's time to retire your USB 2.0 thumb drives and replace them with USB 3.0 equivalents. Add Super Talent's new USB 3.0 Express ST2 f.ash drive to your list of possible candidates.