Once the exclusive purview of enterprises, terabyte
drives with advanced capabilities are fast becoming an affordable option for consumers in need of massive amounts of memory to preserve and transport multimedia content.
This week, Apple rolled out a new two-terabyte Time Capsule for $499 that doubles the capacity of its consumer storage lineup. Moreover, the company slashed the cost of its older 1TB model from $499 to just $299.
Both models, which integrate wireless Airport Extreme base station capabilities, are designed to run seamlessly on Mac computers using Apple's Mac OS X Leopard. However, computing devices running the Windows and Mac OS X Tiger operating systems also can access either Time Capsule directly from the wireless network, Apple said.
1TB Over the Internet
Apple's Time Capsules integrate dual-band wireless routers with network attached storage (NAS) capabilities for delivering file-based data storage services to devices running on a home network. The two machines' 802.11n capability delivers the fastest possible wireless data transfers, while the addition of the 802.11g flavor of Wi-Fi means that the Time Capsule can be accessed by devices such as the iPhone and iPod touch.
Time Capsules sport three gigabit Ethernet ports as well as a USB port for connecting additional storage or adding a shared printer to the network. Both devices operate in the 2.4-GHz and five-GHz bands simultaneously to ensure the best possible performance and range for all Wi-Fi-enabled devices running on a home network, Apple said.
MobileMe members using a Mac running Leopard can even access their home Time Capsules remotely over the Internet. All users need to do is register their drives with their MobileMe accounts, Apple said, and the device will appear in each user's Finder sidebar on the Mac, just like any other attached drive.
On the other hand, 1TB drives are now available for laptops at affordable prices. Earlier this week, Western Digital rolled out the Scorpio Blue -- a 2.5-inch mobile drive that offers quiet operation, low power consumption, and cool operation, which the company said makes them ideal for use in notebooks and other portable devices. The 1TB model is priced at $249.99, while the 750GB version costs $189.99.
Converting to NAS
Western Digital also offers both 1TB and 750GB portable USB Drives priced at $299 and $199, respectively. Tipping the scales at 6.4 ounces and measuring just 0.6x3.1x5.0 inches, the company's My Passport Essential SE storage devices are both lightweight and compact enough to carry anywhere.
"Our new WD Scorpio Blue drives enable people to take even more of their digital collections with them wherever they go," said Western Digital Senior Vice President Jim Morris. "And realizing the value of their data," they can "back up their notebooks on their My Passport drives."
What's more, Mac, PC and Linux users who already own a USB drive and an existing router can now share the drive over a home network by using a new device unveiled earlier this month by Hitachi GST. Called the SimpleNet, the USB adapter is capable of transforming any traditional USB drive into a NAS-capable machine for $79.
Once SimpleNet has been installed between the USB drive and the Ethernet network, the storage device will appear as a drive on the network for everyone's shared use. Moreover, up to two USB drives can be connected to the adapter at the same time to further expand the amount of storage available.