Seagate ships hard drives with encryption

ASI will be the first to sell a laptop with Seagate's hard drive with built-in encryption technology.

Seagate Technology on Monday plans to announce the first manufacturer to sell laptop PCs with Seagate's new hard drive that has built-in encryption technology.

Fremont, Calif.-based ASI Computer Technologies will start selling computers equipped with Seagate's Momentus 5400 FDE.2 drive next month, Seagate said in a statement. The computers, called ASI C8015, will be sold through a number of ASI's partners, including, and, an ASI representative said.

In addition to an 80GB Seagate drive, the ASI machine will feature a fingerprint reader, 15.4-inch display, Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile 2.0GHz processor, Nvidia graphics with 256MB memory, 1GB RAM and a DVD rewritable drive, according to ASI. The price is expected to be about $2,150.

The Seagate drives are equipped with the company's new "DriveTrust" technology, which the company promotes as a simpler way to safeguard data stored on laptops. The encryption technology is designed to make life tougher for computer thieves and to prevent embarrassing breaches.

ASI is a small player among notebook makers. It ships "whitebook" computers that don't carry a name brand and are sold by resellers who sometimes put their own names on the hardware.

Seagate is also in discussions with major, brand name laptop makers and expects to announce more deals for its new hard drive midyear.

"We will obviously be selling this to worldwide resellers," said Michael Hall, a Seagate spokesman.

Seagate pitches its encrypting hard disk as an alternative to full-disk encryption software, such as products sold by PGP and PointSec Mobile Technologies. Additionally, high-end editions of Microsoft's upcoming Windows Vista operating system include an encryption feature called BitLocker.

The Momentus 5400 FDE.2 offers up to 160GB of capacity, a Serial ATA interface, and hardware-based Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption, according to Seagate. ASI will ship its laptop with Wave Systems' management software to simplify enterprise use of the computers, it said.
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