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Photos: Demo-lition of ioSafe's Solo external hard drive

Backing up data to an external hard drive won't help in case of fire or flood--unless the drive is one that can withstand disasters.

CNET Reviews staff

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Demo hard drive

ioSafe claims its disaster-proof Solo external hard drive can survive both water submersion and intense heat. At CES, the company set out to prove that.

This is the demo unit. The external hard drive is significantly larger and heavier than most external hard drives that house a single 3.5-inch internal hard drive. The Solo, nonetheless, looks good.

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Back of the Solo

This is the back of the Solo. The drive supports only USB 2.0 connection.
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Inside of Solo

This is the inside of a Solo. Here we can see the internal hard drive being housed inside a casket of fire- and water-proof materials. This is not the inside of the actual demo unit.
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Photos copied onto Solo

This is the beginning of the demo, when photos that ioSafe CEO Robb Moor took of us on the way to the demo site were being copied onto the Solo. This is to see if the photos would still be there at the end of the demo.
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Ready to go into pool

Robb is about to throw the Solo into the pool. The Solo is designed to withstand water submersion down to 10 feet for up to 24 hours. This pool is much less shallow than 10 feet.
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Splash in pool

Splash!
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Solo under water

Now the Solo is under the water. It was left there for a few minutes.
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Soaked drive

When taken out, the drive is soaked with water. According to Robb, by now, the drive might not work if plugged in as water might have destroyed its outer circuit board. But the purpose of the demo is to show the data is still safe. However, the demo is far from over.
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Solo undergoing heat test

The Solo will now have to go through the heat test. Here, it's put inside a burner. For comparison and regular SATA hard drive is also put inside the burner.
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Burner lit

And the burner is lit up!
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Unit on fire

And very quickly the unit was engulfed in flames.
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Temperature increases

The temperature increased very fast...
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Outside melts

A few minutes later, the outside of the unit started to melt.
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More time in fire

After a few minutes more, the temperature got to more than 1600 degrees. The Solo was left inside for about five more minutes.
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Fire put out

When the fire was put out, the Solo no longer looked like I remembered.
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Hosed with water

The solo is now hosed with water to cool it down and to simulate what would be done to it by firefighters if it was in a burning house.
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Ready for recovery

The drive is all clean and ready to for the data recovery process to start. The process involves opening up the drive to get to the internal hard drive.
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Opening the box

Robb is opening the box.
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Hard drive inside

When opened, the hard drive inside is found to be wrapped inside another layer of protective material.
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Like new

Inside that layer, the Seagate drive seems like brand new.
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Next to another drive

And it looks very different from its unlucky friend which had the same inferno experience. It's still relatively hot.
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Cooled by fan

The drive is now being cooled down by a fan.
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Plugged into reader

Once cooled down, it's plugged into an external hard drive reader that's connected to the notebook via a USB connection.
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Photos intact

And all photos are still there...
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Dong photo

...including the one of me.

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