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All posts tagged "hard drive"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

StarTech Opens The Hard Drive Docking Port

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 12:30 PM

" specializes in gadgets performing niche, yet handy functions. We reviewed their portable SATA duplicator last year, and this time around we have another interesting gadget from their stables. SATA and IDE hard drive docks / enclosures are a dime a dozen. However, the combination of features provided by the USB 3.0 SATA/IDE HDD docking station persuaded us to get a unit in-house for evaluation."

I know of more than one techie who has a closet full of hard drives. Salvaged from old computers, or as backups, or for archiving data, it is hard to beat the cost per gigabyte that hard drives offer. All that lovely data, but accessing it can be problematic. Docking bays are handy, however, having carts for them, or accessing your case may be convenient. There are USB to Sata adapters, but they pose some risks, leaving your hard drive open on a desk. The docking station solution, like the one StarTech offers, is a good compromise between archiving lots of hard drives, and accessing them when y ou need it. At USB 3.0 speeds, it looks very tempting.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Installing an SSD Without Re-Installing Windows

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 06:30 AM

"Installing a solid-state drive is one of the best upgrades you can make to your computer, but migrating your Windows installation to a small drive can be tricky, because your data won't necessarily all fit on the drive. Here's how to install an SSD without reinstalling Windows from scratch."

I for one am very happy installing a new hard drive (or SSD) doesn't require a re-installation of Windows. There are a lot of ways to do a drive swap, but this Lifehacker article is by far the most detailed I've seen. If you're pondering moving to an SSD, it's worth a read!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Seagate Unveils the World's First 4 TB External Desktop Drive

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:32 AM

"Seagate (NASDAQ:STX) today announced it is shipping a new 4TBGoFlex® Desk external hard drive - the highest capacity hard drive in the industry. This latest addition to the GoFlex Family of external hard drives showcases Seagate's new desktop design. The streamlined industrial design delivers a smaller footprint and better reflects the aesthetic of today's modern offices while still providing all of the benefits of previous generations of the GoFlex drives. The new 4TB GoFlex Desk is now available from and will be available from select online retailers next month for a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $249.99 USD. The entire line of GoFlex Desk products will also adopt the new industrial design in the coming weeks. The GoFlex Desk for Mac featuring both Firewire 800 and USB 2.0 will be available in Apple stores by the end of the month."

And the march toward larger and larger storage goes on. It's impressive to see a 4 TB hard drive, though the number of end users that need that kind of storage can't be very big. I'm personally looking forward to 4 TB hard drives because I've been ripping my DVDs and Blu-ray discs to ISO format and space vanishes quickly when you've got 8 GB (DVD) and 50 GB (Blu-ray) ISO files. 99.999% of people aren't going to do that though, so how many of you need/want a 4 TB storage drive?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Is Upgrading Your Old Computer With an SSD Worth It?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 10:00 AM

"It's a foregone conclusion that SSDs are must-haves in performance-oriented PCs, but our testing reveals that solid-state drives are reasonable upgrades in older mainstream machines, too. We build three old boxes to gauge the impact of an SSD on each."

There are only a few Web sites out there that I trust to tackle thorny questions with the scientific rigour that would make a molecular biologist proud, and Tom's Hardware is one of those sites. They post a fascinating question: is it worth it to put an SSD in an old computer? They reach all the way back to a typical system from 2005, equipped with a 300 GB Samsung hard drive that benchmarked at 54 Mbps, and move forward from there to several newer generations. Their conclusions? SSDs rock performance, even on an older system. The catch though is the price tag; if you need a lot of storage, it starts to make less sense to put an expensive SSD in an older system. One option is to use a smaller, less expensive SSD for the boot drive, then use a large hard drive for mass storage.

Personally, after years of multi-drive, multi-partition setups, I've enjoyed the simplified approach of a single partition, single drive setup on most of my PCs and have resisted going to an SSD until the price on 200+ GB drives comes down. I might re-evaluate that on my next build...we'll see.

Have you installed an SSD in an older computer? Was the performance increase noticeable?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Seagate Delivers Unmatched Price-Performance Storage For World's First Tablet's Featuring Hard Drives

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 09:45 AM

"Seagate (NASDAQ: STX) is delivering hard disk drive storage for the world's first handheld tablet computers with hard drives. The ARCHOS G9 8- and 10-inch tablets, announced today in Paris, feature the Seagate Momentus® Thin hard drive, a speedy notebook drive with a super-slim 7mm profile. The performance and capacity of the Momentus Thin drive are the perfect complement for the cutting-edge speed of the ARCHOS G9 family of tablets that features the industry's fastest dual-core 1.5 GHz processor and, on the strength of the Momentus Thin drive, gives users 250GB of capacity, eight times more than a standard 32GB tablet but at the same cost, making the ARCHOS G9 one of the tablet industry's best cost-performance values."

A hard drive that's only 7mm thin? Now that's impressive. 250 GB of storage on a tablet really changes the game when it comes to storage; if you're a movie, photo or music enthusiast, being able to carry all your media content on your tablet would be fantastic. Myself, I'd need 60 GB for all my photos (with some videos thrown in the mix), and another 99 GB to carry all my music. It will be 2016 until I'm able to get anywhere near that with Flash storage. On the flip side, even with as good as hard drives have become with shock tolerance, I'd feel like I'd have to treat the tablet in a more gentle fashion knowing that it had a spinning hard drive in it. It's a trade off to be sure. These two Archos tablets sound pretty interesting though - an 8 inch tablet with a dual-core 1.5 Ghz CPU for $279? Hmm. The remainder of the press release is after the break. Read more...

Friday, June 17, 2011

WD Nomad Provides Rugged Protection For My Passport Hard Drives

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 05:30 PM

"Some risks are worth taking; losing your files is not one of them. WD Nomad rugged case cradles your My Passport portable drive in its polycarbonate case and shock-absorbing cushion lining, protecting your drive from drops, spills, dirt, dust, and scratches as you work and play."

If you own a WD portable hard drive and use it in rugged conditions, then this new product will be of interest. WD has released the WD Nomad, a durable case designed to protect My Passport® portable hard drives from drops as high as seven feet, moisture and spills and other mishaps associated with active, on-the-go lifestyles, such as those of outdoor photographers, adventurers and other road warriors. The case features a polycarbonate exterior and shock-absorbing elastomer cushion inside. It conforms to strict military standards (MIL-STD-810G) for ruggedness. The heavy-duty latch and silicon liner seal out dirt, dust, and moisture. Our Read link has all the information you will need to evaluate the new case.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Seagate Releases The GoFlex Slim Portable Hard Drive

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:05 PM

If you're looking for the most portable hard drive on the planet, look no further: Seagate has released the GoFlex Slim. It's a 320 GB, 7200 RPM hard drive that even inside the enclosure is only 9 mm thick. I'll be writing a brief review about this product in the coming weeks, but let me say this: it's crazy thin, and crazy fast - the USB 3.0 connection slurps down big files at over 150 MB/s based on a test I just did. Pricing is reasonable at $99 USD, and the drive has a really nice anodized finish. Mac compatibility right out of the box as well of course!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Can SSDs Compete With HDDs High Capacity and Falling Prices?

Posted by Danny Simmons in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:00 PM

"Two-figure pricing like that for laptop hard drives makes solid-state drives look like a luxury purchase by comparison. "HDD and NAND (flash memory) cost per gigabyte are destined to remain an order of magnitude apart for the foreseeable future. SSDs will remain from 10 to 20 times as expensive as HDDs of the same capacity," said Jim Handy, principal analyst at Objective Analysis, a firm that does semiconductor-related market research."

Solid state drives can give you great performance, if that is a high priority for you. But it won't come cheap, and you won't enjoy the larger capacity that hard drives can give you. Hard drive prices are expected to continue to drop. Let's hope that solid state drives can follow this trend as well. But for now, which is most important to you, the speed of solid state drives or the capacity and affordability of hard drives?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Toshiba Release 1.8 Inch Hard Drives With Low Insertion Force (LIF) Connector

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:00 PM

"The MKxx39GSL family is designed for applications requiring not only the smaller, lighter footprint of 1.8" drives, but also the highest possible storage capacities. Both feature a 16MB buffer for improved performance. The drives are capable of withstanding the demands of mobility usage, tolerating up to 1,500Gs of non-operational shock and 600Gs of operational shock, compared to 900G of non-operational shock and 400G of operational shock for the most robust 2.5-inch HDDs currently available. The drives are also exceptionally quiet, operating at 14dB at idle and 15dB at seek, and require only 0.35 Watts of power at low power idle, the smallest power consumption levels for any SATA drive. All of this performance is delivered in a form factor of just 48g/5x54x71mm."

There's still some life left in tiny hard drives, though their time on this earth is coming to a close: available in 160 GB, 200 GB, and 220 GB capacities, these new drives from Toshiba are aimed at portable media player market. Although the industry is clearly zoned in on flash-based memory, there's something to be said for a small device that has 220 GB of storage. The impressive 600G of shock that it can absorb without damage is impressive, though I still feel like anything with a hard drive would have to be treated more gently than something based on flash memory. I wonder what sorts of device we'll see these in?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CES 2011: Seagate's "Data "Lunchbox" Prototype Hard Drive

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 02:48 PM

While at CES 2011, one of the more interesting things I saw was a Seagate product that's in the prototype phase - it's affectionately called the "Data Lunchbox" product. In short, it's two 7mm Seagate Momentus hard drives (320 GB or 500 GB capacity) in a single external USB 3.0 drive chassis, along with a RAID controller chip. When configured in RAID 0 for speed, the product - remember it's still in the prototype stage - can hit 235 MB/s read and 228 MB/s write speeds. That out-guns the Intel SSD they were benchmarking it against, which hit 203 MB/s read and 154 MB/s write speeds. If you've ever needed to move big files in a hurry, you'd appreciate that level of speed. Alternatively, the product can be configured for RAID 1, which would mean as you put data onto it, you'll have a duplicate of every file.

What's particularly exciting to me about this product is that it's exactly what I've wanted for quite a while - when I travel and I shoot photos and HD video, hard drive space runs out quick...especially when I only have a 128 GB SSD in my laptop. The ability to put that media content on an external drive, and have it backed up to a second disk, would be fantastic. Add in Seagate's GoFlex technology - which allows you to swap out different cables for connectivity - and you have a solution that I think a lot of photographers and videographers would be excited to purchase.

Want to see this product come to market? Send a message to @seagate on Twitter and tell them that you want to see the Data Lunchbox product get released. Let's make this happen!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hitachi LifeStudio Plus 500 GB Reviewed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:46 AM

"Ever heard the phrase, "Do one thing, and do it well?" Hitachi surely has. The company took that advice, considered it, threw it out the window, and released an external backup drive bundled with a media suite that does many things-some of them potentially interesting, but none of them particularly well. The Hitachi LifeStudio Plus is an external backup drive with an interesting dock, a cool companion USB key, and a clunky, awkward integrated software suite."

Hitachi's concept seems like a solid one, but they dropped the ball with the software - and, let's face it, this isn't the first time we've seen this. Hardware companies tend to be good at hardware, and when it comes to software, they go looking for partners that have what they think they need...but it rarely ends up being a best-of-breed solution. Sorry Hitachi, maybe next time.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

1.5 Terabytes That You Can Slip Into Your Pocket? Seagate Says "Yes, Here You Go!"

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:00 AM

"SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. - September 21, 2010 - Designed to address the explosive worldwide demand for digital storage, Seagate (NASDAQ: STX) today launched the world's first 1.5 terabyte (TB) 2.5-inch portable external drive. Available immediately, the new 1.5TB FreeAgent® GoFlexTM ultra-portable drive delivers an all-in-one, technically advanced solution to help jump-start, build, store and enjoy libraries of digital content in one's preferred medium-whether on a Mac or PC, or a television, at home or on the go. With 1.5TB of capacity people can now store and carry up to 60 HD movies, 750 video games, thousands of photos or tens of thousands hours of digital music."

There's not a lot you can do to make hard drives exciting beyond offering them with more storage, or faster speeds - but Seagate is giving it their best shot with the FreeAgent GoFlex drive, which offers both. First we have the 1.5 terabytes of storage - that's an amazing amount of storage for a drive that you can fit in your pocket! They've added speed as well with the USB 3.0 connection; I don't have a single computer with USB 3.0 yet - and realistically, USB 3.0 won't be common until Intel and AMD support it at the core chipset level - but it's important for accessory makers like Seagate to bring products like this to the market to drive adoption. The nice thing about USB 3.0 is that it's backwards compatible with USB 2.0, so you're not losing anything by purchasing products with it - and when you to get a computer with USB 3.0, products like this one will become even faster. Nice!

Like all Seagate GoFlex drives, it comes with an OS X NTFS driver, so it will work on both your Mac and PC without re-formatting. And you can swap the cable for Firewire 800 (it's an additional accessory) if you're so inclined to get a boost in speed over USB 2.0 on your Mac.

A little bit of extra icing on the cake: you'll get a free digital copy of the most recent Star Trek movie, and the option to purchase unlock codes for 20 other Paramount movies. I wonder if it's an HD copy of the movie? I suspect not. Still, not a bad little bonus!

Full press release after the break.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultraportable Family of Products

Posted by Chris Baxter in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Product Category: Portable storage device
Manufacturer: Seagate
Where to Buy: (affiliate)
Price: $90 to $170 USD depending on storage size of hard drive, $99 for the Net Media device, $130 for the GoFlex TV HD, and $20 to $40 for the different cable options
System Requirements: Windows® 7, Windows Vista®, Windows® XP (32-bit & 64-bit) operating system or Mac® OS X operating system 10.4.9 or higher and a USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FireWire 800, or eSATA port.
Specifications: The GoFlex Ultraportable drive: Height - 111mm (4.39 in), width - 83mm (3.19 in), length - 14mm (.57 in), and weight - 150g (.33 lb).


  • Wide variety of attachments and accessories that actually extend the capabilites of the drive;
  • The GoFlex Net Media Sharing Device is an easy and fun way to share your files on the network;
  • Using the optional cable attachments can greatly increase the performance of the drive.


  • User Interface for the GoFlex TV HD Media Player needs work;
  • Taking advantage of all the accessories the product has to offer can get expensive.

Summary: Seagate has a family of portable storage devices and accessories that are aimed at keeping up with technology, making networking your storage devices easy, and delivering the media content on that storage to the place it is most useful, your TV. I got the chance to test and review these products to see if they can deliver what they promise. Was I disappointed or did they succeed at what they were designed for? Read on to find out. Read more...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Limited Edition Designs from Western Digital

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

"The world's leader in external storage solutions, today introduced its new 500 GB My Passport® Essential™ limited edition designs (photo) portable hard drives, available exclusively at Best Buy® and the WD Store. Consumers can choose from several unique designs that appeal to a wide variety of personal styles, ranging from outdoor enthusiasts to urban trendsetters. Designed by students at California State University, Long Beach's Industrial Design program, the drives are available in the following styles: Boom Box, Black Hole, Cityscape, Fuchsia Leaf and Wave. The decorative patterns are especially geared for students who want to express their individual style while choosing a reliable, ultra-portable place to store their media and back up their valuable work."

I personally don't find any of these designs more appealing than a basic solid color, but it doesn't appear that they are demanding any sort of premium for these on the MSRP. Of course, being limited edition designs only available directly through WD and from Best Buy, don't expect to see them discounted initially either.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Cramped Hard Drive is a Sad Hard Drive

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 04:00 PM

"To upgrade your hard drive without reinstalling everything, you'll need to use a utility to make an exact copy, or clone, from the old hard drive to the new one. A number of commercial tools will do this for you, and even some free Windows utilities can make a copy of your drive while your PC is running."

There comes a time when that trusty hard drive just cannot cut it anymore. Sure, it has seen you through many years of faithful service. It was there for you when you wanted to save a copy of your vacation at Sealand. It was there for you when you completed your dissertation on the Dread Tomato Addiction. But now, even hard drives have limits, and you must say goodbye. When it comes up upgarding your hard drive, cloning it is probably the fastest and easiest way to do it. However, I would like to propose one other solution that is not mentioned. If you do not need all the files on your computer at any time, a NAS may be a better solution. With a NAS, you can offload all those files that are really there just for archival purposes and just keep what you need on your hard drive. It can also help keep your folders much cleaner!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Toshiba Announces New 2.5-inch Hard Disk Drives

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 PM

"Toshiba moved notebook storage a significant step forward on Wednesday night by launching the MK7559GSXP. The 2.5-inch drive is the first to hold 750GB but reach the same 9.5mm (0.37in) height as most slimmer notebook hard drives.... In tandem with the thin drive, Toshiba is rolling out the MKxx59GSM line, which brings 750GB and 1TB drives but in a taller three-platter, 12.5mm (0.49in) profile...."

Toshiba lists over 20 "PC & Notebook" hard drive series on their web site, with as many as 6 drives in a series, although only a handful appear to be available to the general public. The Electronista article picks up on two (out of six) recently announced series that emphasize storage capacity and power efficiency, with delivery dates to system builders beginning sometime in April 2010. My first notebook had a hard drive measured in MBs, and our largest current portable has an 120GB internal drive, so it is hard to imagine needing a portable with over 500GB. However, if your notebook is your primary system, a larger drive might make sense. Would you be tempted by a 750GB or larger drive in a notebook? Beyond capacity, hard drive makers are touting ecological selling points, such as power efficiency and environmentally friendly manufacturing techniques. Do you factor these into your HD purchase decisions? Are you willing to give up a bit of performance - or pay a higher price - to be "green?"

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hard Drive Giveaway #6: I've Got 3350 GB of Storage to Give Away

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 11:00 AM

OK, here we go with contest #6! If you haven't already read up on why I'm giving these hard drives away, please check out the first contest giveaway.

All you have to do is post a message telling me how you'd use the hard drive. Will you replace the hard drive in a current computer? What size is your current drive? Or add it to a current system as a backup drive? Or will you put the drive in an enclosure? Post one message in the discussion thread (it can be the same text from the first content).

I'll select the winner at random. Once you win one of the contests, you're out of the running for the next contests in this series. Each winner will be contacted via private forum message and they'll have 72 hours to respond to claim their prize - so be sure email notifications are turned on for your forum account. The last contest I ran someone missed out on winning a prize because they didn't reply to my message for two weeks!

The drive I'm giving away in this sixth contest is a Western Digital Caviar 500 GB (SATA). This contest will close on Friday October the 9th 12 noon GMT -7. Enter now!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hard Drive Giveaway #5: I've Got 3350 GB of Storage to Give Away

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 11:30 AM

OK, here we go with contest #5! If you haven't already read up on why I'm giving these hard drives away, please check out the first contest giveaway.

In honour of the particular hard drive I'm giving away - a slightly older 300 GB parallel ATA drive - to enter this contest post a message telling me what the first hard drive you remember buying is, and how much it cost you. If you got it as part of a computer, post the specs if you can remember them. Let's take a trip down tech-memory lane...

I'll select the winner at random. Once you win one of the contests, you're out of the running for the next contests in this series. Each winner will be contacted via private forum message and they'll have 72 hours to respond to claim their prize - so be sure email notifications are turned on for your forum account. The last contest I ran someone missed out on winning a prize because they didn't reply to my message for two weeks!

The drive I'm giving away in this fifth contest is a Maxtor DiamondMax 300 GB (PATA). This contest will close on Thursday October the 1st 12 noon GMT -7. Enter now!

UPDATE: The contest is now closed. And the winner is...Bob Christensen! Thanks to everyone that entered. It was fun reading about some really old technology.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It is Time to Say Goodbye to that Old Hard Drive

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 12:30 PM,2377.html

"It is safe to say that each and every hard drive selling today is far superior to older-generation drives, as improving recording technologies keep pushing forward capacities and performance. Other modifications, such as the interface transition from parallel ATA to Serial ATA 150 (and then 300 MB/s), also make a difference. But no individual feature—even Native Command Queuing or a larger cache—can make as much of a difference as simply stepping up from one drive generation to the next."

Hard drives have steadily growing in size, and most people only look to upgrade when their current hard drive starts choking under all the photos, videos and music that we stuff onto them. However, performance can also be another compelling reason to upgrade. Tom's Hardware does a test to see just how much of a difference changing to a newer hard drive can make and the results are impressive. While a new CPU or more RAM will probably see the biggest jump, ff you are looking for a speed boost, a new hard drive should be on your list. What should you do with your old hard drives? You could always repurpose an old PC and make your own NAS, or consider something like a giveaway to those who need just a bit more space.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

How I Learned to Stop Deleting And Love A 10TB RAID Array

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 11:00 AM,2344.html

"Need more capacity? Want more hard drive performance? Knowing that hard drive prices are about to drop below $80 for a 1 TB drive, we decided to create the ultimate RAID array, one that should be able store all of your data for years to come while providing much faster performance than any individual drive could. Twelve Samsung 1 TB hard drives helped us to reach speed records and an impressive 10 TB net capacity."

Storage is cheap. 2TB hard drives have started becoming available while prices on smaller sized drives are dropping ever further. Tom's Hardware decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to see what one could do with a wad of cash and the dream of a massive storage array. I do worry about using a RAID 0 array that involves 12 drives and think that their exploration into a RAID 5 setup to be much more appropriate. Their comparison against SSDs also suggests that for performance, hard drives definitely have passed their prime. Hard drives are for economy and storage capacity now, that is clear. I've never reached 10TB myself, though I did once reach about 5TB of storage, spread across three computers, several years ago and it cost me a lot more than $1000. Anyone have bragging rights to the largest storage "facility" in their home?

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