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Seagate’s Big 10

Drive maker announces a raft of new products, including 750 GB units

Just over a week after closing its acquisition of Maxtor, Seagate Technologies has announced one of the largest parade of new or improved products in its history.

Ten new products, including a line of 1.8-inch, 60 GB drives for handheld devices, highlighted the announcement, which also includes several hard drives with up to 750 GB capacity that should appeal to system builders.

“It’s about bringing new technology, not just capacity,” Marc Jourlait, Seagate’s vice-president of marketing, said of the announcements. Most of the products are available now, although some won’t be out for a few weeks.

“Storage is going through insane growth,” said Jourlait, thanks to a combination of factors, from regulatory requirements for enterprises to consumer demand for video and music. As a hard drive manufacturer “it’s a beautiful thing for us.”

In the past 12 months Seagate moved to cover virtually every market of storage, from consumer devices such as portable media storage to drives for high-end archiving.

System builders will be interested in two new lines for enterprise multi-drive storage. The Barracuda ES 3.5-inch line of drives are toughened versions of the Barracuda desktop drives and come with SATA capacities of up to 750 GB. For those needing to squeeze in more drives into an array, the new Savvio 2.5-inch drives offer space- and power-saving capability. Offered in capacities of up to 146 GB and with SAS or Fibre Channel connectivity, Seagate suggests they can be used in blade servers.

Three new Momentus 2.5-inch notebook drives were announced that raise capacities to 160 GB. They include the 5400 PSD, a hybrid drive that includes a flash memory cache that, when used with the upcoming Windows Vista operating system, promise greater power efficiency and faster boot-ups; the 5400.2 FDE, which has built-in 128-bitAES encryption; and the 7200.2, a 7200-revolutions per minute drive for high performance laptops.

Capacities of the LD25 Series of drives for game consoles, home entertainment devices and media PCs now include 60 GB and 80 GB, while the DB35 series, aimed at those building video storage devices, will have a 750 GB drive in the third quarter.

The channel may not immediately take advantage of the new ST18 line of 1.8-inch drives for handheld media players and GPS systems, which hold 60 GB, but Jourlait is hopeful that some system builders will examine their potential for building unique solutions for customers with space or power constraints. They’ll first be seen in OEM-made palm-held devices and digital video recorders.

Among branded consumer products, the Mirra Sync and Share Personal Server now has Macintosh connectivity as well as PC, meaning a home user can share and back up files across two major operating systems. They will retail for US$499 for 320 GB and US$599 for 500 GB.

Finally, Seagate’s round Pocket Drive – which Jourlait called “our hockey puck” – a USB portable hard drive that competes against flash drives, has grown to 8 GB. The new units, which will retail for US$149, will begin shipping next month.

With the Maxtor acquisition finalized, Seagate will now turn to migrating and combining the two companies’ technologies “where it makes sense,” Jourlait said. For the time being all Maxtor lines will remain, but he wouldn’t comment on the possibility some will be dropped.