Storage disk drive maker Iomega Aug. 27 introduced a new line of home- or small business-network hard drives that includes a 500GB option with a price tag of $199.
The new line of Iomega Home Network Hard Drives are also available in 320GB ($149) and 360GB (also $149, but not available until late Sept.).
The relatively low pricing makes it possible for users to share a substantial amount of storage at home for little more than the cost of a standard desktop external hard drive, Iomega President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Kampfer said in San Diego, Calif.
The new Iomega drives add to the trend of bigger, faster, less-expensive hard drives, which has been in full swing for about 18 months.
For example, competing drive maker Seagate Technology on June 25 introduced what it called "the first second-generation" 1TB storage hard drives—the Barracuda line—for a variety of enterprise and desktop uses. Those will begin shipping in volume this month with pricing set at $399.99.
Iomega, Seagate, IBM and Hitachi all have been focusing their work in improving areal density, or the number of bits of data that can be recorded onto the surface of a disk or platter using PMR (perpendicular magnetic recording). PMR greatly increases the overall capacity of a disk.
According to research firm IDC, Seagate-made drives using PMR comprised more than half of total PMR shipments as of the first quarter of this year (29 million of 50 million total shipped). That number continues to move steadily upward, according to the research firm.
PMR is a newly implemented technology for data recording on hard disks that was first demonstrated in Japan in 1976. The technique is believed to be capable of delivering up to 10 times the storage density of conventional longitudinal recording—on the same media.
All three new Iomega models include a USB 2.0 port for use with a single computer, allowing the drives to be used as incremental storage.
The market for NAS (network-attached storage) devices for SMBs and home offices is continually increasing as data storage needs to continue to grow, Kampfer told eWEEK.
"There are an estimated 30 million homes in the United States with multiple computers. Iomegas new drives are designed for these families," Kampfer said. "Many computer users want the basics at a fair price; they dont need complicated features and they dont want to pay for capabilities they may not use."
All three models feature 7200 RPM SATA-II with an 8MB cache. Once a drive is set up and the network is operating, the device can save files from up to four networked PC or Mac computers, Kampfer said.
Click here to read about Seagates low-energy 1TB hard drive.
The Iomega drives can run on Windows 2000 Professional; XP Home/XP Professional/XP Professional x64; Windows Vista Home Basic/Home Premium/Business/Ultimate; Mac OS X 10.2.7 or higher; and Linux distributions, including Red Hat 9, Mandrake 10, Debian 3.0, Gentoo and FedoraCore 3.
Network-drive operation requires an available 10/100 Ethernet port; a network hub, switch or router is recommended. A DHCP-configured network is also recommended.
The 320GB and 500GB drives are available now. The 360GB version is expected to be available in late Sept. for $149, a spokesperson said.
The 500GB model (as well as the 360GB model in Sept.) is available from VARs, resellers, distributors and select retailers. The 320GB Iomega Home Network Hard Drive is available only at Iomegas online store.
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