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Storage

Seagate drives, both big and small

Company's new drives are designed for PCs, servers and consumer electronics devices.

Hard drive maker Seagate plans to boost the capacity of its PC and server drives and deliver a 1-inch drive for consumer electronics, the company said Monday.

The company plans to release a range of new products, including a 400GB, 3.5-inch drive for desktops; a 100GB, 2.5-inch drive for notebook PCs; and a 5GB, 1-inch drive for consumer electronics.

The revised lineup, which also includes several server drives that can hold up to 500GB, will hit the market at various times this fall, boosting Seagate's presence in PCs and servers and in the consumer electronics segment of the global hard drive market.

Despite the popularity of PCs and consumer electronics devices and the relatively large capacities that hard drives can now deliver, disk makers have been going through tough times as of late.

Intense competition and cutthroat pricing make prospects for turning a profit fairly grim, according to analyst reports and the drive makers themselves. Seagate, for one, said earlier this month that pricing in the mobile market has become more aggressive than expected. The statement accompanied a cost-cutting plan that includes plans to lay off 2,900 workers, or 7 percent of the company's work force.

Seagate's new product lineup will include a wide range of options for manufacturers of PCs and consumer electronics, as well as for consumers shopping at retail outlets.

Seagate's Barracuda 7200.8 for desktop PCs and some servers will offer up to 400GB of storage capacity, for example, giving the drive maker an answer to rival Hitachi Global Storage's 400GB desktop drive. The Barracuda 7200.8 will come in a variety of configurations, with sizes ranging from 250GB to 400GB and data buffers of between 8MB and 16MB. It will rotate at 7,200 revolutions per minute, Seagate said.

The new Barracuda drive will also offer the option of a serial ATA interface, a newer standard that can transfer more data per second than standard parallel ATA interfaces.

A drive's overall performance is dictated by a combination of a its rotational speed--which dictates how fast the platters that store data inside the drive rotate--its buffer size and its interface--which allows it to send and receive data.

Seagate's Momentus 7200.1 notebook drive will offer up to 100GB of storage capacity and spin at 7,200rpm. It will also offer a choice between serial ATA and ultra ATA interfaces. The Momentus 5400.2 will be available in similar capacities but will rotate at 5,400rpm and offer only an ultra ATA interface, Seagate said.

Also this fall, the company will also release a new pocket drive based on its 1-inch ST1 Series hard drive. The pocket hard drive will come in a round case and use a USB (Universal Serial Bus) connection to attach to a PC. This summer, the drive maker will also deliver a Compact Flash Photo Hard Drive that uses flash memory and fits into the Compact Flash slot of a camera. Both drives offer either 2.5GB or 5GB of storage capacity, Seagate said.

The company will also offer the ST1 Series 1-inch drive to consumer electronics makers for use in devices such as music players. It is slated to begin shipping this summer, the drive maker said.

In addition, Seagate will release several new external hard drives based on its newest products. They will include one for mobile users that offers up to 100GB and another for augmenting desktops or notebooks or backing up files that offers up to 400GB of data capacity.

Finally, Seagate will update its family of hard drives for computer servers with a number of new models. One, the Seagate NL35 Series, will feature up to 500GB of storage capacity. Another, the Cheetah 15K.4, will rotate at 15,000rpm and come in capacities of 36GB, 73GB and 147GB. These new server drives have various ship dates in the third and fourth quarters, Seagate said.

The company did not release prices for any of the drives.