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Seagate unveils 'tiny to terabyte' hard drives

From 5GB 1in units to 0.5TB enterprise jobs

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Hard drive maker Seagate launched a platter of products today, including what it claims is the world's first 5GB 1in drive, more capacious notebook-oriented offerings, a 400GB unit for high-end PCs and an 0.5TB enterprise drive.

Seagate will be pitching the 1in ST1 drive family at the MP3 player market when it ships them this summer as a low-cost, high-capacity and fast alternative to Flash memory. The company reckons the rugged part will "withstand the abuse that hand-held devices take".

The company uses the same internals to provide 2.5GB or 5GB of storage in its CompactFlash Photo Hard Drive, this time aimed at digital camera owners, and in its USB 2 Pocket Drive, a compact circular unit that's strangely reminiscent of Apple's old 'puck' mouse.

The Pocket Hard Drive is expected to be available to buy in the Autumn, along with Seagate's 100GB Portable External Hard Drive, which, like its smaller companion, is bus-powered.

Seagate's new 2.5in Momentus line, meanwhile, comprises two notebook-oriented units, a 7200rpm model and a 5400rpm job, that also offer up to 100GB of storage, the ability to cope with up to 80Gs of non-operating shock, and the inclusion of up to 8MB of cache. They too will ship in the Autumn.

Seagate claims the 3.5in 400GB Barracuda 7200.8 is "the industry's first native SATA interface with native command queuing". NCQ was designed for asynchronous I/O. And it "increases drive reliability in heavy workloads by eliminating much of the mechanical wear and tear that a non-NCQ drive must endure to transfer the same amount of data", Seagate said. There's an Ultra ATA version of the product on its way too.

The 7200.8 spins at 7200rpm, contains up to 16MB of cache and yields an average seek time of 8ms.

For enterprise applications, Seagate announced two additions to its Cheetah line-up: the 15K.4 and the 10K.7. The former will ship in capacities up to 147GB, and is the industry's first 15,000rpm drive to feature a Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) rating of 1.4 million hours, the company claimed. The 10K.7 offers the same MTBF, also a first, said Seagate, this time for 10,000rpm 3.5in drive. The 10K.7 will ship in 73, 147 and 300GB versions.

The 15K7 uses a Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interface, which provides a point-to-point, full duplex architecture and 3.0Gbps transfer speed.

Seagate's NL35 series offers up to 500GB of storage and includes a Fibre Channel interface - or a Serial ATA link, if you prefer. The NL35 will begin shipping in Q4, the 10K.7 in Q3. The 15K.4 will ship in Q3 with a Fibre Channel and Ultra320 SCSI interface. SAS-equipped 15K.4 drives will begin shipping in Q4.

Today's launch comes less than two weeks after the company announced plans to axe 3000 jobs. The move should cut annual operating costs by close to $150m but cost the companyt $50m in its current fiscal quarter. ®

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