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Seagate dips toe in notebook HDD market

Plus new 'disposable' Canon BubbleJets

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Hard Drive

Seagate has begun shipping its Momentus notebook hard drive family to PC manufacturers, the company said today, signing up both HP and Acer as customers if they're gushing praise for the product is anything to go by.

Momentus drives spin at 5400rpm but consume only as much power as a 4200rpm drive would, Seagate says.

"Up until now, a faster drive wasn't practical in notebook computers because it consumed the battery too quickly," says Seagate. Depends what you mean by 'quickly', we suppose, since Hitachi has already launched 7200rpm notebook drives that consume as much power as a 5400rpm unit.

Tricks Seagate has used to keep the power consumption down include employing a one-platter design. The downside is that Momentus drives are available only in 20GB and 40GB capacities. However, that should mean fewer components are required in the drives' construction, allowing Seagate to compete on price. The company didn't say how much it was selling the drives for, but it is focusing on sales to OEMs and not end-users.

Seagate's SoftSonic FDB motor and QuietStep ramp load technology - which parks and un-parks the read/write heads when the drive goes into or exits power-saving standby mode - contribute to the Momentus family's low noise levels. The drives have 225G operational shock tolerance, claims Seagate.

Printers

Canon has added to new models to its BubbleJet line of inkjet printers, the i250 and i350, in the US.

And if UK prices are anything to go by, the new printers are barely twice the price of ink refills: $49.99 and $59.99, respectively - proving that printer vendors are indeed pursuing the razor model: giving away the handles while making money on the blades.

The i350 offers a colour print resolution of up to 4800 x 1200dpi, and can churn out 11 colour pages per minute. Black-only pages come out at 16ppm. A long series of technologies with capital letters which essentially boil down to finer nozzles and more accurately spat ink droplets lead to "excellent photo quality" prints, Canon claims.

The i250 also offers 4800 x 1200dpi printing, and the same clever nozzle and droplet stuff as the i350, but is slower: 12ppm in black and white mode, 9ppm in colour mode. But what the heck, it's only 50 bucks.

Both printers are bundled with plenty of picture manipulation software, all designed to make printing photos just a matter of a few mouse clicks. All the usual varieties of Windows are supported, along with Mac OS X 10.2.1 and up, and Mac OS 8.6 to 9.x.

Canon is offering to extend the printers' one-year warranty to two for $25, but at the rate printer prices are falling, new ones will cost less than that by then. ®

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