Seagate Technology Inc. entered the external hard drive market last week, announcing 160-GB and 200-GB models that have already begun to ship to retailers. The drives come with button for automatic backup.
Seagate follows both Maxtor and Western Digital into the external drive market, which consumers are beginning to use as a convenient means of backing up data, replacing CD-RWs or even tape drives. Seagates entry, known simply as the External Hard Drive, will be the most rugged drive on the market, the company said.
"This is a good time to be part of the external hard drive market—external drives are a significant and growing piece of the total retail hard drive market," said John Paulsen, a spokesman for Seagate.
Both the 160-Gbyte and 200-Gbyte drives, priced at around $269 and $299, respectively, are currently available in the U.S. at Best Buy, CompUSA, DataVision and J&R stores, and online at PC Connection, Multiple Zones, MicroWarehouse and 4sure.com. Currently, Seagate is only shipping the drives to American customers; the company will add worldwide distribution in 2004, the company said.
Seagates drives contain a special chassis that not only protects the drive from vibration and shock, but allows the drive to be mounted vertically or stacked, one External Drive over another. Seagates drive is also engineered to dissipate heat in either configuration. The drive is hot-pluggable, and features both an IEEE 1394 "FireWire" interface as well as a USB 2.0 connector.
Seagate designed its drive to allow consumers to back up their data with the push of a button, a feature also found on competing drives. Seagates drive uses BounceBack Express software, based on the ABSplus backup software from CMS Peripherals, the company said.
Users can schedule backups and do basic restores of data. Seagates backup button lights up when first used, then fades out when the backup is completed. By default, the drive backs up all of the data on the drive then first used, then updates the backup with new files or changes that are made to the stored data.
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