Hard drive market comes to life

The usually quiet hard drive market has been enlivened by a succession of announcements from the industry's leading lights.

The normally low-profile hard drive market has come to life.

First Quantum came to Auckland with its new product announcements. A week later Iomega launched its portable Jaz drives and last week Seagate Technology announced a slew of new and updated disk products.

Seagate's additions include two new Medalist 3.5in disk drives as well as the Barracuda model 9Gb Scsi drive and the Elite model 23Gb Scsi drive.

The Medalist 3240 and 4340 drives offer 3.2Gb and 4.3Gb capacities with the fast ATA-2 interface in a low profile design and will ship with DiskWizard installation and partitioning software to overcome Windows 95's inability to handle drive partitions larger than 2.1Gb.

Paul Kruss, Seagate's country manager for Australia and New Zealand, believes the home user is "potentially more sophisticated than people realise and they need 1.7b or 2Gb. For example, Mech Warrior II requires 130Mb to work effectively--I love this software--and that's just for one game! And that's not counting your 250Mb for Windows 95 and Office 95."

Specifications for the Medalist models include a 4500rpm rotational speed, 12ms average seek time and an internal data transfer rate of 88Mbit/s.

Paul Kruss says the 9Gb Barracuda model is shipping now and is "targeted for the very high-end server market and workstations. We have a low-profile version of that which is a 1in high drive, which is exactly the same drive with very high performance and applications are for RAID, servers, video editing--what we call non-linear editing."

Seagate has also announced SeaShield, a cover for its drives to protect them from electrostatic discharges and reduce electromagnetic interference. In the past, says Kruss, "the PCB has been exposed and has been subject to electrostatic discharge. With SeaShield the user can't get in contact with electrostatic sensitive devices."

Local pricing is not confirmed but the 4.3Gb Medalist will be around $1200; the 3.2Gb around $970. The 9Gb Barracuda retails at $4250 and the 23Gb Elite is around $7000. All prices include GST.

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