Marketing research firm iSuppli has reported on the status of the hard drive industry, and from the sounds of it, we just can’t get enough storage.In the first quarter of 2008, hard drive vendors shipped over 137 million units in a seemingly futile attempt to satiate consumer’s appetites for inexpensive storage. Despite the 21 percent increase in sales over the same period last year, many HDD vendors such as Seagate continue to struggle. iSuppli speculates that lower prices and a disproportionate demand for lower margin desktop drives are to blame. This is a trend that is likely to continue as SSD’s continue to plummet in price and become the storage medium of choice for mobile devices mainly due to its durability. Despite the challenges conventional hard drive makers face in the mobile market, iSuppli is forecasting strong demand in the second quarter with shipments estimated to be up by as much as 16 percent over 2007. Seagate continues to lead the pack with profits of $363 million, followed by Western Digital at $298 million, and Hitachi at $65 million. This is excellent news specifically for Hitachi who has been struggling to pull itself out of the red. So has our insatiable appetite for digital media made mass storage devices recession proof?
While the rest of the computing world inexplicably refuses to see a market for performance hard drives spinning faster than 7,200RPM, Western Digital is finding new segments for its flagship 10,000RPM Velociraptor. The company announced today it's shrinking the stupid-fast drive down to a 2.5-inch form factor for use in blade servers and 1U and 2U servers.
"WD is bringing to enterprise customers what PC enthusiasts already appreciate about the WD Velociraptor: a combination of high performance and high capacity for hard drive storage," said John Rydning, IDC's research director for hard disk drives.
Because server environments tend to be more mission critical than the average desktop, Western Digital claims its new enterprise model will be up to the job with the "highest available reliability rating of any SATA drive at 1.4 million hours MTBF."
The shrunken Velociraptor will come in both 300GB and 150GB capacities. Will anyone else join them?
Steady vibrations can spell doom for the delicate moving parts inside a hard drive, and for this reason HDD manufacturers employ several technologies aimed at reducing these menacing motions. One such technology involves "Shaping Command Inputs to Minimize Unwanted Dynamics," for which engineering company Convolve holds the patent. The technology can be used to limit vibrations of a hard drive's actuator arm, and according to a recent court complaint, Convolve believes Dell, Western Digital, and Hitachi are all infringing on its patent. Going for the legal hat trick, Convolve is suing for monetary damages, attorney fees, and compensatory damages.
Storage always makes for a curious world. Western Digital's newest entry into the terabyte contest--it's second, if you count the company's Caviar Green drive--is geared for enthusiast performance. One look at the insides of this Caviar Black drive tells the entire tale. This is Western Digital's first three-platter terabyte drive, mimicking a move towards increased access speeds and areal densities that Samsung made some four months ago with its HD103UJ terabyte drive.
Here we go again: Western Digital has launched yet another line of portable USB hard drives. The four drives in the My Passport Elite series don’t vary by size, just color. You’re free to select a capacity of 250GB or 320GB in gunmetal gray, old-shoe brown, a soft blue finish, or a sandy red. And as far as we can tell, that’s one of the few differences between this line of devices and Western Digital’s “normal” My Passport Essential drives—the latter having 11 different colors and four different capacity points to choose from.
Ok, so technically a Dilophosaurus hocked the venom loogie all over Nedry's face. But in marketplace of consumer hard drives, there is no question that Western Digital's Velociraptor is the beast to be feared. The new 300GB, 10,000-RPM device comes as a much-needed bolster to Western Digital's high-performance storage line. After all, it's been two years since the launch of the 150GB Raptor X, and other drive manufacturers have been quick to take note.
Pink is our new obsession, and we have Western Digital to blame. Its pink, portable Passport hard drive (try saying that fast) is small enough to fit in Steven Tyler’s mouth, yet it comes with two of our most favorite features in the world: sweet speeds and snazzy backup software. And to top it off, you have to carry only a single USB cable alongside the little sweetheart, as there’s no accompanying power brick or annoying connector.
Western Digital has pulled off a significant coup with its 250GB Scorpio notebook hard drive; the device is the current capacity champion. (Fujitsu has also announced a 250GB drive but has not shipped it yet.) Packing 250GB into two platters, the areal density of the Scorpio easily outstrips that of the other hard drive reviewed here—Seagate’s two-platter 160GB Momentus drive.
If we were dating the Western Digital My Book Home Edition, the sordid, brief affair would quickly end with one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” conversations. This 1TB enclosure is like the girl (or guy) who keeps calling and texting and e-mailing and IMing and calling and texting again—every time you connect the device to your PC, you get the same annoying application installation window over and over and over.