Seagate's shrinks GoFlex drive
Slips 5th generation PMR drive inside the casing
Seagate has struck another blow in the areal density wars. The company has revved up its 1TB FreeAgent portable drive, shrinking it internally from three platters to two, making it cheaper to manufacture.
The original 1TB FreeAgent GoFlex - the SSTAA1000100 - had a 3-platter, 2.5-inch hard drive inside with a 334GB/platter areal density. The replacement model, the STAA1000103, has just two, meaning a 500GB/platter areal density. That would mean it has a fifth generation PMR (perpendicular magnetic recording) drive inside the casing.
We suspect it is Momentus drive inside, an unannounced model, and to be called a 5400.8 when it is announced. It will be, we think, a 5400rpm unit with a 3Gbit/s SATA interface and an 8 or 16MB cache, that will fit into a standard laptop 2.5-inch drive bay. If it is, then we might expect an upgraded Momentus thin shortly.
This is currently a 250GB, single platter 2.5-inch drive - half a mainstream Momentus in other words - and we could expect a 500GB version. More generally we could expect a fifth generation PMR refresh across Seagate's entire product line between now and the end of 2011 with consequent capacity upgrades, making a 3TB Barracuda XT a near-certainty.
WD has a 3-platter Scorpio Blue 2.5-inch drive offering 1TB but not a 2-platter model. Toshiba has a 1TB, 3-platter, MK1059GSM 2.5-inch drive. Neither Hitachi GST nor Samsung have 1TB, 2.5-inch drives. For now Seagate has a clear lead in the 2.5-inch areal density stakes, while Western Digital has one in the 3.5-inch drive stakes. It's all neck-and-neck stuff.
The slimmer 1TB GoFlex can slot into Seagate's GoFlex TV HD media player and have its video content streamed to a TV. It comes with a Star Trek movie on it to encourage you to do just that. You can also choose from 20 other Paramount movies.
The 2-platter, 1TB FreeAgent Go drive costs $179.99 at Amazon. ®
... so why can't somebody shove one of these things ion an MP3 player for those of us who love FLAC and need the space.
My 60GIG Creative Vision M has finally [after five solid years] given up the ghost.
There is nothing on the market that comes anywhere near.
The MP3 market has taken several massive retrograde steps in the last few years, offering pointless touch screens and less space.... really!
I think it is all about sales...
PCs have changed - they are now disposable home electrics, like a toaster or a coffee maker. The way the economics look, most people simply don't build their own machines any more, even hobbyists. Sure, SOME of us will put in new storage, but overall the sales from that market are minuscule to the sales Seagate makes to systems builders like Dell, Acer, etc.
Most people that buy storage now want something they can plug in - and THAT means, 90% of the time, USB. Most mobos in circulation don't support eSATA, as do very few laptops. I recently helped a friend increase his storage for VIDEO editing on his aging PC, and he would not even countenance any internal storage, insisted that he was going to buy a USB drive...even when I explained how much slower it would be. That's a market reality - most users today care about convenience more than speed.
Manufacturers putting their latest model drives into USB casings are probably NOT "beta testing", but most likely putting them where they have the second highest volume sales (after system builders).
Not backup quality?
There seems to be a developing trend for manufacturers to sell their latest drives in consumer USB disk packages before shipping them as internal drives. Might this be a sort of post-beta testing, on people who are much less likely to sue if the bleeding-edge tech proves less than perfectly reliable?
Anyway, my warning is that "random" USB drives are not a good choice for backing up important data. Build your own using a marketed internal SATA drive with a 3 or 5 year warranty and a USB enclosure. Better still don't risk your data through a cheap "random" SATA to USB chip. Use E-SATA, or a SATA drive in a swappable caddy.