It was only about two years ago that deploying a 250GB portable storage drive the size of a standard hardback novel was pretty much the state of the art in the personal desktop storage sector.
Even though those machines generally served their purposes, their time has come and gone. The form factors and the ever-increasing demand for capacity have continued to change this business in remarkable fashion.
On Oct. 18, Seagate jumped ahead to introduce what it described as "the world's slimmest 1TB portable storage drive," the FreeAgent 1TB GoFlex. It can easily slide into a shirt or coat pocket and is compatible with Seagate's new GoFlex HDTV media player.
This latest GoFlex features an all-new 2.5-inch drive with two 500GB disks. It has the same dimensions as Seagate's previous 640GB-and-less capacity GoFlexes.
Continued areal density advancements in disk drives, due largely to the perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technique, and other improved engineering methods are to thank for these continued storage capacity improvements.
Areal density, also sometimes called bit density, refers to the amount of data that can be stored in a given amount of hard disk platter "real estate." Since disk surfaces are two-dimensional, areal density is a measure of the number of bits that can be stored in a unit of area. PMR creates additional space on the disk to add more bits.
At the retail price of $170, users get a USB 3.0 cable for faster transfers. The drive also is upgradable to FireWire 800 or eSATA by using the appropriate GoFlex upgrade cable. It also features preloaded backup and encryption software.
The same drive with USB 2.0 and without the other cables is available for about $100 on other retail sites.
As do most GoFlex drives, this one comes preloaded with a list of popular movies. "Star Trek," however, is the only one available for no additional cost. The other 20 must be purchased and viewed separately.
There are several new choices on the market when it comes to high-capacity, low-cost personal or small-business storage drives.
Seagate launched a 1.5TB portable GoFlex (not pocket-sized) with USB 3.0 in September. Iomega recently came out with its own 1TB portable drive, the eGO 1TB, which is only slightly larger than an iPhone. Both retail for $250 or less.