Thailand, the beautiful South Asian country known for its tourist attractions, has been devastated by a series of floods that have lasted more than three months. More than four hundred lives have been lost, and 2.3 million people have been affected. The financial impact is estimated to be in excess of 5.1 billion USD. Last month, some of Thailand’s biggest industrial estates including Nava Nakorn, Bang-Pa-in, Hi-Tech, Factory Land, Rojana, and Saha Rattana Nakorn were flooded. Among the companies impacted were Western Digital, Toshiba, and Seagate. So far, Seagate’s factories haven’t been directly affected; however, the Dublin based storage giant is suffering from component shortages.
Thailand is the world’s largest manufacturer of hard drives, and accounts for a quarter of the total worldwide production. After years of plummeting prices, the shortage of supply is already sending hard drive prices skywards. The prices of several of the hard drive models have already increased by more than 200%, and the situation will only get worse as we approach the holiday season.
The road to recovery is likely to be a slow and painful one. Digitimes expects hard drive shortages to reach 19 million units in Q4. Western Digital has temporarily suspended operations in Thailand, and will not be supplying hard drives to Taiwan channels in November. Samsung, another major vendor to be impacted, will also do the same, and instead ship shipments for manufacturing its own devices. The prices might start dropping within one or two quarters, but industry experts estimate that it will take nearly a year for normalcy to return.
DriveSmart is a free tool that checks the health of your hard drive. In case your drive health is deteriorating, the application will alert you about the damage so that you have a chance to backup valuable data on the disk before the disk crashes. The application uses S.M.A.R.T (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) to track the health of your hard disk.
Why do you need it ?
S.M.A.R.T (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) is a technology that can be found in almost all modern hard disks. This resides inside your hard disk and keeps track of some parameters like temperature, disk heads, surface state, electronics, etc. Once it senses any danger it pings the user about the problem. The error report takes time to show up as the disk tries to recover on its own. This is where DriveSmart comes into play. It accesses the S.M.A.R.T data and lets you know about the condition, so you have enough time to get your backup.
The tool is available for Windows (XP Home and Professional, 2K Professional and Server, Me, NT 4.0 Workstation & Server, 98, 95b, 2003 Server) and Mac (OS X 10.2 and 10.3). Unfortunately, the tool is not available yet for Windows 7 and Vista. I recommend this tool to everyone who has any of the supported OS installed.
Techie-Buzz Rating: 3.5/5 (Very Good)
Seagate has tried to merge a SSD and a traditional hard disk into one with the Seagate Momentus XT. The Seagate Momentus XT has a 2.5-inch form factor, and will feature 32Mb of DRAM cache. Seagate calls the Momentus XT a Solid State Hybrid Drive. The hybrid hard disk will be available in storage capacities of 250GB, 320GB and 500GB, along with 4 GB of NAND storage. The spindle speed of the drive is 7200RPM. Sadly, the hybrid hard disk uses the older SATA I interface.
For notebook PC users looking forward to faster PC performance without sacrificing storage capacity or affordability, now there’s an option. Seagate’s new Momentus ® XT drive is the first storage device for notebook PCs that raises the bar for affordable capacity and performance,said John Rydning, IDC’s research director for hard disk drives.
The Momentus XT uses the new Adaptive Memory technology from Seagate, to improve the hard disk performance. According to Seagate, the Adaptive Memory technology will move the frequently accessed file to the faster NAND storage. Asus will use the Seagate Momentus XT hybrid hard disk in their Republic Of Gamers G73JH laptop.
This hybrid hard drive from Seagate will hit the retail market within the next two weeks.
Seagate one of the world’s most popular Hard disk manufacturer has confirmed that they are working on a 3 TB drive. According to Seagate, they will be “announcing a 3TB drive later this year.” As of now, 2TB is the highest storage capacity available in a single hard disk drive. The launch of 3TB drives will push the prices of the 2TB drives down, which will help increase their sale.
The shift to 3TB drives will not be smooth though. LBA or Logical Block Addressing standard is not capable of addressing capacities in excess of 2.1 TB. Seagate says that users need to upgrade their system’s BIOS, update the drivers in order to use the 3TB drives. Seagate also said that Windows XP will fail to see the 3 TB drive, and if it does manage to identify the drive, it will not see the full 3TB of space. Users need to use the 64-bit version of Windows Vista or Windows 7 to make full use of the 3 TB of space. In addition, modifiedversion of Linux will be able to see the full 3TB of space.
Seagate’s Senior Product Manager Barbara Craig also said, There’s also a GUID partition table (GPT) that needs to be implemented, for the master boot record.
Seagate did not mention anything about the prices of these upcoming 3TB drives.
Apparently, it looks like Intel will be launching a 600GB 25 nm Solid State Disk(s) by the end of this year. This year, users have already seen the price of the SSDs dwindling to a record low. SSDs are now available for a mere 100$. SSDs have a higher read/write speed compared to traditional Hard Disk drives. They also consume less power, and are smaller in size. Their only downside is their longevity. Traditional Hard Disks have a longer life-span compared to SSDs.
Users can argue that traditional Hard Disks are comparatively cheaper than SSDs, but that is just a matter of time. SSDs prices have been falling down, and soon they will reach a price-point where they are reasonable for general masses to buy them. Intel is one of the most renowned SSDs manufacturer. According to Fudzilla, Intel has big plansfor the holiday season with the launch of new 25 nm MLC NAND Flash memory based SSDs. The company plans to launch the SSD in capacities of 160GB, 300GB and 600GB.
Soon after, Intel will launch 1.8 inch SSDs with their capacities reaching up to 300GB. The launch of these new 25nm 1.8 inch SSDs will mark the end-of-life of the existing 34nm and 50nm 1.8 inch SSDs from Intel. These 1.8 inch SSDs will be primarily used in Camcorders, Blu-Ray players and other similar devices.
Seagate – a popular hard disk manufacturer just launched the FreeAgent GoFlex series of external hard drives. The FreeAgent GoFlex series of external hard disks can connect to various ports like USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Firewire 400, Firewire 800, and eSATA. The FreeAgent GoFlex external hard disk(s) comes with interchangeable cables and desktop adapters that give these drives such a high level of flexibility.
The FreeAgent GoFlex hard disks also come with a special NTFS driver for Mac, which allows users to use a NTFS drive on a Mac. By default, Mac Snow Leopard (OSX) does not support read/write to NTFS partitions.
GoFlexâ„¢ interface cables are about providing the speed, performance and connectivity people need to support their interaction with their digital content. The explosive growth of video capture and multimedia collecting is expanding personal digital libraries to terabytes worth of content within the home,said Dave Mosley, executive vice president, Sales, Marketing and Product Line Management at Seagate. These trends are driving demand for high-capacity, high-performance storage. The GoFlexâ„¢ family of storage products meets this need by delivering simple, USB 2.0 storage and backup devices, with the flexibility to adapt as interface technology advances by using the various GoFlexâ„¢ cables and accessories to access content stored on the same drive.
The 5400 RPM 2.5 inch 320Gb FreeAgent GoFlex has a MSRP of $99.99, while the 5400 RPM 1TB GoFlex costs $199.99. The 7200RPM 500GB hard disk costs $159.99, and the 750GB 7500RPM hard disk costs $199.99.