We told you last year about LaCie’s LaCinema – a rugged, portable multimedia hard-drive designed to host all of your multimedia content. Well, as the name suggests, this is the HD upgrade to that device.
As well as playing all the formats you’d expect of a multimedia player – it now plays all of the popular HD variations too, such as H.264, MKV, WMV9 and MPEG-4.
It’s got 500GB of storage and offers full HD, 1080p resolution via HDMI. It’s designed to be carried around – it has a unique varnished, scratch-protected aluminium shell and shock-resistant rubber sleeve that make it resistant to a bit of rough and tumble.
It’s £289.99 and it’s available now direct from LaCie.
Industry analysts are suggesting that Microsoft will soon be offering a huge terabyte hard-drive to support its forthcoming games on demand service.
Rumours suggest the 1TB Xbox 360 will be released at the same time as Project Natal – Microsoft’s camera based motion-sensor.
The games on demand service will allow gamers to download full versions of Xbox 360 titles directly to their hard-drive after purchasing them with a credit card. This means users will need a lot more storage – hence the 1TB rumours.
The largest Xbox 360 hard-drive currently on the market is the 120GB premium Xbox 360 Elite.
This guide outlines the main differences between solid state drives (SSDs) and hard disk drives (HDDs).
There are two major types of SSD in current production — NAND and DRAM. This guide focuses on the more common one: NAND.
It’s worth noting that advances are being made all the time on both types of drive and that these differences are generalisations. Individual performance will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Most solid state drives, except ones made using cheaper components, are significantly faster at reading data than a hard drive.
This is because there are no moving mechanical parts on a SSD and so the “seek time” is significantly reduced. Incidentally, DRAM drives are faster still.
Writing large files is also generally quicker on a SSD, though at present there are often performance problems when trying to write a lot of small files to a SSD. It’s possible to overcome this through improved system design.
In general, though, SSDs are faster than HDDs.
(PS: SSDs are generally quieter than HDDs because they don’t have any moving parts and are usually fanless)
Although solid state drives deliver incredible performance compared to their creaky, mechanical brethren, one area that SSDs have difficulty competing on is price. Opting for an SSD on a laptop, rather than a normal drive, can add hundreds of pounds to its cost, and you’ll likely end up with a smaller capacity too.
Flash marketing manager for Samsung, Brian Beard, says: “Flash memory in the last five years has come down 40, 50, 60 percent per year. Flash on a dollar-per-gigabyte basis will reach price parity, at some point, with hard disk drives in the next few years.”
The cost gap exists, Beard explains, because the two drives are built differently. In a traditional hard drive, the spindle, motors, PCB and cables all have a fixed price. Upgrading one of them – the motor, for example, so it spins faster – doesn’t add a massive incremental cost to the unit.
An SSD on the other hand, has a very small fixed cost – just the PCB and the enclosure. If you upgrade the memory units, increasing the speed or the capacity, the price increases linearly. A doubling of capacity will nearly double the price.
There’s plenty of pressure on SSD manufacturers to make their drives conform to the industry standard set up HDDs, but the flash memory market is notoriously unpredictable, so it could be some time things settle down. For the consumer, 256GB solid state drives are only now rolling out into mass production.
I’m not sure why I get excited about external storage solutions. I think it’s the computer equivalent of shelving and anyone out there can understand people getting pleasure out of talking about that, right?
So, that given, you can basically double my levels of manly excitement when I see that these things look as good as the latest range of external drives from Toshiba. If you like them gloss, then go for the Toshiba Store Art which come in 1.8″, 2.5″ and 3.5″ depending upon how large your collection of illegal downloads is – 160GB, 500GB or a whole fat 1TB.
Over Christmas I ate a lot of turkey, drank a lot of wine, and fiddled endlessly with this – the Emtec S800 movie cube. I’ll break it to you now – it’s not a cube – but it is a great little home entertainment set-top-box that lets you stream video over a network and record television.
Not one for the technophobic amongst you, but if you like tinkering with your AV setup then it comes highly recommended. It costs £230 and the company claims it’s available now from Dixons, but I certainly can’t see it on the site, or anywhere else for that matter. If you know where you can buy it in the UK, drop us a line in the comments.
Hard drives crash from time to time, that’s a fact, but it seems that one particular type of Seagate drive is failing en masse, according to online accounts from annoyed customers.
The Barracuda 7200.11 1TB drive fails at boot time with a firmware error that locks the drive and makes in inoperable. Laughably, when the unit is returned, Seagate replaces it with the same model. The Register also suggests that you could pay Seagate twice by using its i365 company to recover the data before replacing the unit.
It would be an understatement to say that I wasn’t a big fan of Which?’s suggestion that you safeguard your personal data by hitting it with a big hammer, and it turns out that Computer Aid agrees. Computer Aid is a charity which refurbishes old and unwanted computer equipment for the third world.
Instead, the charity wants you to opt for safe, environmentally-friendly alternatives when disposing of IT equipment. They also recommend a data erasing program over total destruction, though it’s the paid-for Blancco.
Of course, what they really want you to do is give the old equipment to them, promising that any data you leave will be wiped clean before it’s reused. A much better solution than a claw hammer, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Most people, when selling on a computer second-hand, wipe the data by just deleting it. That’s not quite enough. A simple delete just removes the references to the data on the disk – rather than wiping it clean. Software available free on the net can recover it relatively easily, as long as it hasn’t been overwritten.
Which? bought eight computers on eBay and recovered 22,000 ‘deleted’ files from them in this way. Some of those files contained personal data, which could be used by identity thieves to steal your… etc etc. Yawn. You know all this.
Of course, there’s programs that’ll hard-delete data, too, but Which? prefers another solution. A big hammer. They recommend pulling it out of the PC and whacking it very very hard, until the thing’s in pieces. While I don’t doubt the effectiveness of that method, it’s a lot easier to use a program like SuperShredder to accomplish the same thing. Plus you won’t get bits of disk platter in your eye. Bonus.
If you needed any more evidence that solid-state-drives (SSDs) will be taking over from traditional hard drives pretty damn soon, then here it is. Toshiba’s developed an SSD that’s 512GB – twice the size of their recently launched 256GB model.
SSDs use fast flash memory for storage, rather than the traditional mechanical magnetic platter which is slower and more prone to failure. This particular drive uses 43-nanometer Multi-Level Cell (MLC) NAND flash technology to cram those gigabytes into a 2.5″ enclosure.
Tosh will also be offering 256GB, 128GB and 64GB drives, each in a choice of 1.8″ or 2.5″ enclosures.They’ll be available sometime between April and June, but they’ll be shown off at CES in January. No pricing info yet.