The insatiable demand for storage, reliability, and portability is prompting disk drive manufacturers to beef up their portable products, increasing capacity while using faster versions of popular interfaces. Leading storage vendors recently boosted capacity and performance for portable drives used in mobile applications and to back up critical files.
Iomega Corp. of San Diego, CA, has unveiled a family that offers a variety of interfaces. The basic model has USB 2.0 compatibility while other versions add FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 compatibility
Western Digital Corp. of Lake Forest, CA is focusing on software that
automates backup, letting users protect data on demand or automatically. The
system's safe shutdown feature ascertains complete backup before the drive is
Automated Backup: Drive-makers like
WD have simplified backup while increasing capacity and reducing time
requirements. Backup is automatic and happens before system
Milpitas, CA-based Maxtor Corp. is also focusing on simplicity. Its OneTouch
II is a redesigned graphical user interface that simplifies setup. The OneTouch
II has both USB and FireWire 400 interfaces.
Drives from all three manufacturers now offer drives
that store from 80 up to 250 Gbytes of data, large enough to back up most
systems. With larger drives, users can store data for notebooks, desktops and
office systems on a single drive. Users can store more than one mirror image of
data files, making it possible to recall older software that has since been
revised. The drives can also be used to transport many engineering CAD or MP3
files, as well as videos.
The USB 2.0 interface provides a maximum transfer rate of 480 Mbits/sec,
substantially reducing transfer times of USB 1.1 drives. The FireWire versions
run at 400 and 800 Mbits/sec. Speed of all models is enhanced by a 7,200 rpm
platter rotation speed.
Another widely available feature is data security, using passwords to prevent others from accessing data. The drives also claim low noise levels, which is an important factor since the drives are often active whenever the main computer is operating.