Hard drive maker Western Digital is branching out into the realm of wireless home networking products with the launch of its My Net family of dual-band routers. It's a logical extension for WD, which makes and sells a series of WD TV media player devices capable of tapping into home networks, though the router market is perhaps an even more crowded segment. WD's focus is on ease-of-use, and the company is also debuting its FasTrack technology that instantly sniffs out and detects entertainment traffic, which it then fast forwards to game consoles, media players, smart TVs, and other Internet connected devices.
Western Digital releases a new Raptor drive every couple of years, and each time the performance and capacity increase while the price for the highest-capacity model stays around $300. This year’s iteration finally breaks 1TB, but the VelociRaptor remains caught between increasingly fast 7,200rpm drives and increasingly capacious SSDs. Is it the best of both worlds, or the worst?
Like the previous two generations of VelociRaptor, the WD1000DHTZ is a 2.5-inch drive spinning at 10,000rpm, mounted on an “IcePak” cooler/3.5-inch drive adapter. The latest version has 64MB of cache (up from 32MB) and up to 1TB of storage (up from a maximum of 600GB). Despite its 2.5-inch form factor, it won’t fit in a laptop—the drive is far too thick and power hungry. So far, so unsurprising.
Back in the day (as in, before solid state drives), Western Digital's VelociRaptor line was the cat's meow in terms of high speed storage. Fast and expensive, VelociRaptors were the tool of choice by power users willing to drop a bit of extra coin for better performance. Flash forward to today and you'll find SSDs are the popular option among power users, but just like billionaire InGen CEO John Hammond brought back dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, Western Digital has injected new DNA into its VelociRaptor line and is now shipping its most capacious mutation to date.
Western Digital has begun shipping its new WD Scorpio Blue 7mm hard drive line, the newest edition to its mobile HDD family and the one with the lowest power consumption. These 2.5-inch drives are fully compatible with industry-standard 9.5mm slots found in mainstream notebooks and slimmer laptops, but they're really designed to shine in Ultrabooks as an alternative to costly solid state drives that fall short on storage space.
Western Digital would like nothing more than to finalize its proposed takeover of Hitachi's hard drive business, and to facilitate the process, WD agreed to transfer an asset package to rival Toshiba to ease concerns of regulatory agencies. The package includes equipment and intellectual property (IP) that will enable Toshiba to build and sell 3.5-inch hard drives for desktops, consumer electronics (things like DVRs), and near-line (business critical) applications.
Western Digital's hard drive operations in Thailand spent part of the company's second fiscal quarter ended December 30, 2011 waterlogged after severe flooding ravaged the area, but if it was time to sink or swim, WD chose the latter. Remarkably, the hard drive maker still managed to ship 28.5 million HDD units during its second fiscal quarter, pulling in $2 billion in revenue and profiting $145 million.
If someone asked us what the most important aspect of computing was, we’d answer: back up your data! But unless you have an automated system, backing up your data is likely one of the first things to get dropped by the wayside when your schedule fills up. Western Digital’s got your back: its newly announced My Book Live Duo NAS features dual hard drives that can be placed in RAID 1 for redundancy, so your precious data lives on if one of the drives goes kaput.
Western Digital's WD TV media player family just got a little bit better with the addition of streaming movie service Vudu. That's in addition to several new sports and entertainment services WD rolled out to the WD TB Live and WD TV Live Hub media players, both of which are already content rich with support for Netflix, Hulu Plus, Blockbuster, CinimaNow, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Facebook, and a bunch of others.
Western Digital and Seagate are leaders in mechanical hard drives to be sure, but I think we can all agree this time they are leading the industry in a very negative direction. Back in 2008 Seagate lowered the standard HDD warranty from 5 years to 3, and as expected, just about everyone followed suit shortly after. Now they are dropping the coverage period on some products to as little as one year depending on the model.
It seems like every time we touch on the topic of hard drives lately, it's always bad news related to the recent flooding in Thailand. Ready for a change of pace? Good, because that's what you're getting today. Instead of news of more shortages and rising prices, we've now learned that hard drive volumes in the first quarter of 2012 will increase by several million units, decreasing the supply gap "significantly."