These new products, most of which use the industrys hot new perpendicular recording technology, include 1.8-inch, 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch hard drives with up to 750GB of capacity, and are made for use with consumer electronics, notebook and desktop PCs, and enterprise applications.
Perpendicular recording is a newly implemented technology for data recording on hard disk, first demonstrated in Japan in 1976.
The technique is believed to be capable of delivering up to 10 times the storage density of longitudinal recording—on the same recording media.
There were some attempts to use the system in floppy disks in the 1980s, but the system was never reliable. Today there is renewed interest in using it for hard drives, which are rapidly reaching their fundamental limits.
Based in Scotts Valley, Calif., Seagate, which completed a takeover of rival Maxtor on May 22, also introduced a notebook drive that combines a spinning disc with flash memory. Finally, Seagate added Macintosh support to its next-generation Mirra personal server—making it the first device to synchronize, share and secure data between Macs and PCs, a company spokesperson said.
The Mirra server is unique in that it allows a user to initiate automatic replication of audio and video files to remote PCs in the network by simply dropping the original file into a folder on the server.
"There are three main themes going on here," Rob Pait, Seagates director of global marketing, told eWEEK. "Perpendicular recording, which is allowing all this additional storage capacity, is No. 1. Second is what we call the multiple effect, the fact that companies and individuals are constantly making multiple copies of their data for backups and archiving. Theres the key reason for the insatiable need for storage."
The last theme, Pait said, is Seagates self-styled "platform approach" to handling the other two factors.
"Storage is in the center of all the content creation going on everywhere," Pait said. "Television networks, movie studios, companies—those are all the obvious heavy-duty creators. But consumers themselves are creating more and more content—home video, audio recordings, movies, documents—so the demand for more storage goes all across the board."
Popular movies such as the "Harry Potter" and "Lord of the Rings" series have been rendered using Seagate drives, Pait said. "Photos alone are huge in storage. Someone estimated that there are 450,000 petabytes of photos being stored on computers all around the world right now," he said.
Pait said that at this time, Seagate has decided upon the 750GB figure as a kind of "middle ground" point of storage for its enterprise and consumer disks. "Were building our platform around that configuration," Pait said.
"Seagate is well past the [financial and production] issues it had in the 90s," said Brian Babineau of Enterprise Strategy Group, in Milford, Mass. "They are a growing company that has strategically expanded its addressable markets by taking its core competency (disk drives) and find ways to leverage the technology in unique ways. For example, disk drives are essential for PVRs."
These devices require drive qualities that are similar to enterprise storage systems (fast read/write capabilities and ability to store large capacities of data), Babineau told eWEEK via e-mail.
The biggest difference is that the consumer market is more price-sensitive, requiring Seagate to alter its components and cost structure to bring the drive to the consumer market at the right cost, he said.
"Perpendicular recording is evolutionary, as it allows random read/write access in three dimensions," Babineau said. "Seagates competitors should be wary of the companys broad market approach and revenue diversification."
If one market slows, Seagate has enough sources of revenue to maintain growth and investment in R&D, Babineau said. "Competitors with less diversification may suffer when certain segments slow, thus limiting future opportunities for R&D investment," he said.
Here is a roundup of the new Seagate offerings:
- Barracuda ES drives are optimized for a variety of storage requirements for the enterprise, Pait said. The new Barracuda ES packs SATA (Serial ATA) capacities of up to 750GB, powers RAID systems and other multi-drive solutions and can support 50 percent more capacity within the same system form factor, he said.
- Seagates second-generation 2.5-inch enterprise class disk drive, the Savvio 10K.2, delivers high I/O transaction performance—1.6 million-hour MTBF (mean time between failtures) reliability—and up to 146GB capacity. It features ultra-low power consumption (an average of 15 percent lower than the previous generation of the Savvio, Pait said) and is 70 percent smaller than conventional 3.5-inch drives.
- The ST18 Series drives feature 60GB storage on single 1.8-inch platters for handheld devices.
- LD25 Series drives are built specifically for game consoles, home entertainment devices and small-footprint media PCs and are currently available in 20GB, 30GB and 40GB capacities; the new LD25 Series drives will add 60GB and 80GB capacities.
- DB35 Series hard drives, available in up to 750GB capacities, are designed for high-definition video capacities and other DVR environments.
- The Mirra Sync and Share Personal Server is now available with Mac connectivity in 320GB and 500GB capacities. The server allows remote access to digital content from anywhere via the Internet and can be used to synchronize, share and protect data between PC and Mac computers in SOHO (small office/home office) businesses and networked home environments.
- The 8.0GB Pocket Drive gives users large storage capacity in a pocket-size mobile package.
Seagate also announced that two of its previously announced branded solution products, the 500GB and 300GB eSATA Pushbutton Back-up Hard Drives and the 750GB Pushbutton Back-up Hard Drive, are now available via retail outlets.
- Three of Seagates Momentus family of 2.5-inch notebook PC hard drives are now available with perpendicular recording technology and 160GB capacities. The drives include the Momentus 5400 PSD, a 2.5-inch notebook hybrid hard drive that combines rotating disc storage with flash memory; the Momentus 5400.2 FDE, the industrys only 2.5-inch encrypting drive, which delivers the highest levels of protection for data on lost, stolen or retired notebook PCs; and the Momentus 7200.2, a 7200-rpm drive for high-performance laptops.
Pricing and availability
The 320GB and 500GB Mirra Sync and Share Personal Servers will start shipping in June 2006 and will retail for $499 and $599, respectively. The 8.0GB Pocket Drive will begin shipping in July 2006 and will retail for $149. The 750GB Pushbutton Backup Hard Drive is currently shipping and retails for $559. The 300GB and 500GB eSATA Pushbutton Back-up Hard Drives are currently shipping and retail for $269 and $399, respectively.