Category: Storage

SSDs can lose data in seven days

SSD+320+angle+right+1to1Solid State Drives (SSD) can start to lose their data and become corrupted if they are left without power for as little as a week, according to a new Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) report.

Seagate’s Alvin Cox, who is also chairman of the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC), wrote that the time that data will be retained on an SSD is halved for every 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in temperature in the area where the SSD is stored.

Consumer class SSDs can store data for up to two years before the standard drops, but when it comes to SSDs used by enterprises, the drives are only expected to retain data for a period of three months.

This could mean that all those people using SSDs in both consumer and enterprise applications could be in grave trouble if data storage is important and might be needed for longer than three months.

On the back of the report, security companies are warning that SSD users need to make sure to regularly back up their data and create drive images, or they will risk losing their data, which can have disastrous consequences.

The long term stability of SSDs has been questioned for a long time and had been the reason that ordinary hard drives have not disappeared overnight. But a three month turn around month corruption figure had not been widely known.

TechEye looks at Hitachi's Deskstar 7K3000 3TB drive

Western Digital took all the plaudits last year when it launched the first 3TB hard drive for internal use, the WD30EZRSDTL, and while Samsung can lay claim to the first 3TB drive of any type, it was an external drive so it doesn’t really count. Unless you want to break it out of its shiny box and bung it into your PC, which a few people have done.

Coming in late to this party has been Hitachi, but now it too has a 3TB desktop drive and it’s been well worth the wait. In performance terms, it kicks sand in the face of both its competitors.

The Deskstar 7K3000 3TB (HDS723030ALA640) comes with a 7,200prm spindle speed – a world first – and if that wasn’t enough to sort out WD’s drive, Hitachi has given it a SATA 6Gb/s interface, the first Hitachi drive to have it, and a whopping 64MB of cache which admittedly is the same size as WD’s drive.

Benchmarks

For a bit of real life testing we backed up a 13GB folder of mixed file types on to the Hitachi drive, which took just 190.14 secs thanks to its SATA 6Gb/s

Unlike WD’s neat way to get around the problems of using mega capacity disks by bundling a controller card with the drive, Hitachi leaves it up to you to sort out the complexities to get the drive up and running as it’s not quite as simple as opening up the PC and slapping in the new drive. Well, it is if you are a Mac OS X or Linux user, but if you are using an OS supplied by that nice Mr. Gates then you are faced by a few more hurdles to overcome – nothing new there then.

To make this drive bootable, it basically requires you to have a very up-to-date motherboard and a 64 bit version of Vista or Windows 7. If you are an XP user then please move along, there’s nothing to see here, quite literally, as the OS doesn’t support drives of this capacity.

The reason for the need of a very modern motherboard is that you need one that has a UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) BIOS. They are rare but improving all the time, and Hitachi has got a guide on its website to give you an idea of the board you need.

The need for a 64 bit Windows OS is because you require something that creates and uses GUID partition tables (GPT) and not the old familiar master boot record (MBR) tables. The same goes for using it as a data drive if you want to see its full 2.79TB formatted capacity.

3TB Western Digital Caviar Green reviewed

The news that shocked everyone on Tuesday was Western Digital’s formal announcement of the WD Caviar Green three terabytes (TB) spindle hard drive.  For many months rumours had been flying about that Seagate had one ready in the pipeline, but Western Digital was nearing launch. This announcement caught many analysts unaware.

Everyone wants  bigger and faster. Putting four platters of 750GB is quite an engineering feat.  It’s entirely feasible that WD labs are working on a one terabyte platter already.

These new three terabyte drives come with the usual array of Western Digital technology supporting reduced power consumption, perfect for external drives boxes, IntelliPower, IntelliSeek, NoTouch ramp load technology and last but not least Advanced Format (AF) which will make life much easier for many end users.

A lot of end-users are running with some form of Intel X48/X58 platform or the AMD equivalent. 

We know also that many storage units are also built around the X58/Tylersberg platform. Storage servers take on either dual or single socket Xeon’s/Opterons more often than not over Xeons.   So we settled upon a Uni-Processor solution from Supermicro, the X8SAX which is extremely flexible in upgrade paths and, supports Intel Core i7 / i7 Extreme Edition, and Intel Xeon 5600/5500/3600/3500 series processors (QPI up to 6.4 GT/s). 

Installation of the drive was a complete breeze with Western Digital supplying a RocketRaid PCI Express card just in case your mainboard bios does not support UEFI, kudos here for thinking on a long term solution for those who might  yelp “it doesn’t work” .  

Terabyte drive

tb2

In most instances end-users will have to remove the half height I/O bracket and slot it into place, for the server market this will be readily worked around.  Therefore our final system build for the this beast is:

tb3

tb4

tb5

tb6

tb7

We now turn to some real time back up results that unequivocally show the speed at which the Western Digital 3 Terabyte drive can read data.

tb8

 

It has to be said that this drive surpassed its predecessor with flying colours.   The results shown above prove it. If we take the 2TB Caviar Green results shown last year using Sandra 2009 within the File System test we saw 88.2MB/s versus today’s 145.36 MB/s on the 3TB Caviar Green and within the Physical Disc test 83.08MB/s versus today’s 102.49MB/s on the 3TB Caviar Green.   That’s a substantial improvement. 

OEMs, Sis and VARs will already be looking at their storage boxes – both external and rackmounts for data centres and the like.  Costs within these enterprise arenas are rising steeply and this is one area many will be looking to cut back upon but at the same time increasing their storage capabilities.  With the reduction in power with much larger storage capacities and faster read/writes this is an attractive spindle disc backed by Western Digital’s standard warranty. 
  
WD’s PR says you can store around 600,000 digital photos, 750,000 MP3 songs or 230 hours of Digital Video or, 360 hours of HD Video.   That’s a whole load of movie and MP3 storage.  

On going to print, these monstrous drives are already hitting e-tailers and suppliers. High demand is expected.  MRSP for the Western Digital Caviar Green 2.5 TB hard drive is £155.00 and the  three terabyte  hard drive swings in at £195.00 (all prices before shipping and taxes).

Fusion IO solid state drive has a whole lot to give

Getting the fastest out of each system we review is at the front of our mind. In each review I’ve written for TechEye I have demonstrated CPU and GPU constant leaps in performance. In the hard drive world, these leaps forward have come in many different varieties – whether spindle-based or SSD, and drives like OCZ’s PCI Express Z drive, or the Seagate Hybrid. 

The uptake of specialist solid state storage has been phenomenal and like all high-end peripherals, end users are constantly looking to enhance their systems to be more robust and; within mission critical systems absolutely robust. With the marketplace embracing this technology, there is now a growing trend by many end users to use the kind of drives made by Fusion.

A typical SSD consists of a collection of NAND flash chips combined with a controller and SATA interface. The lack of moving parts has meant that typical access times are a fraction of those obtained from traditional spindle-based hard drives. However, SSDs are still limited to SATA’s bandwidth of 300MB/s, and dependent on the drive controller built in to the motherboard.

Enter today’s exceptional piece of equipment from the specialist SSD manufacturers Fusion-io. Instead of taking the traditional SATA route, Fusion-io have developed an SSD that uses a PCI Express connector as their interface – allowing them to be their own controller and plug into the heart of the system.

To give you an idea of the kinds of numbers we’re talking about, below are our ever faithful synthetic tests demonstrating potential read/write figures, input/output operations per second (IOPs) and bandwidth.

ioDrive Duo Capacity

320GB

640GB

1.28TB

NAND Type

SLC (Single Level Cell)

MLC (Multi Level Cell)

MLC (Multi Level Cell)

Read Bandwidth (64kB)

1.5 GB/s

1.0 GB/s

1.1 GB/s

Write Bandwidth (64kB)

1.5 GB/s

1.5 GB/s

1.5 GB/s

Read IOPS (512 Byte)

261,000

196,000

185,000

Write IOPS (512 Byte)

262,000

285,000

278,000

Mixed IOPS (75/25 r/w)

238,000

138,000

150,000

Read Latency (512 Byte)

26 µs

29 µs

30 µs

Write Latency (512 Byte)

2 µs

2 µs

2 µs

Bus Interface

PCI-Express x4/x8 or PCI Express 2.0 x4

PCI-Express x4/x8 or PCI Express 2.0 x4

PCI-Express x4/x8 or PCI Express 2.0 x4

Operating Systems

64-Bit Microsoft Server 2003/2008, 64-Bit Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/Win7, RHEL 4/5, SLES 10/11, OEL v4/v5,

System Set-Up and Software Used

As this article is aimed at the professional looking for the most secure stable working platform we used our mainstay workstation. This has been seen on numerous recent outings supported by Intel’s new Westmere Xeon CPU, Supermicro’s X8DAi mainboard supported with Crucial’s memory. This is a typical workstation that can be found in most high-end studios and enthusiast workstation dens. This mission critical workstation platform has plenty of scope for upgrading.

Component

Test  System

Mainboard

Supermicro X8DAi Rev 2

CPU

2 X 3.33GHz Intel® Xeon® X5680 Nehalem EP®, 12MB Shared Cache, 6.4GB/s QPI

HSF Coolers

2 X Noctua NH-U9DX 1366

Memory

12 X 2GB Crucial DDR3 (24GB Total) 1333MHz
Unbuffered ECC DIMMS  Memory Modules

Hard Drive

256GB Crucial C300 RealSSD

 

640GB Fusion-io Duo Drive

PCI Ex Video Card

NVIDIA® Quadro® 6000

Benchmarks and Software Used 64-bit Mode

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
ATTO Benchmark
Everest Ultimate Ver 5 with latest build
HD Tune Pro Ver 4.50
Sisoftware Sandra 2010 with latest build
CrystalMark Disk Benchmark with latest build
PCMark 2005 with latest patches
PCMark Vantage with latest patches
SPECviewperf® 11.0 64-bit.   Tests ran at 1920 X 1080 Resolution

Each set of tests has been applied on the clean system hard drives shown above to ensure that no residue drivers were left installed with all updates/patches applied.   A test/render has been completed many times over different periods of the system uptime. Whilst maintaining the fair play rules of SPEC®  HyperThreading and Turbo Boost have been enabled, with the memory being left in its default status of Auto. Tests have been conducted in accordance with the resolutions  detailed above @ 59Hz in 32 bit colour. Results that have been shown within this article are from the application/benchmark’s first run in accordance with the SPECviewperf fair play rules. Not an average of 3 runs, as some seem prudent to think that this is correct.

 

 

File Transfer Test

We always use this type of test to assess any form of new storage, whether spindle or SSD and today is no different. Taking an array of common files constructed from Word, Excel, Access, an Outlook PST file, Photoshop, Max, Maya the list is endless. However it’s what can be found on any common workstation today. Using the Fusion-io drive as the source to back-up these files we find the following results:

Process

Time to Complete

Drive C – 1.12GB file (containing 2137 Files and 279 folders) to Fusion-io Duo Drive (Drive E)

3 Seconds

Drive C – 2.25GB file (containing 4274 Files and 559 folders) to Fusion-io Duo Drive (Drive E)

6.2 Seconds

Drive C – 3.38GB file (containing 6411 Files and 839 folders) to Fusion-io Duo Drive (Drive E)

7.35 Seconds

Drive C – 4.5GB file (containing 8548 Files and 1119 folders) to Fusion-io Duo Drive (Drive E)

10 Seconds

Drive C Windows 7 Backup (67.5GB ISO Image) to Fusion-io Duo (Drive E)

1 Minute
and
23 Seconds

Fusion-io Duo (Drive E) extraction of a compressed 1.45GB WinRAR 3DS Max file containing 6 Files and 2 folders to Drive C

21 Seconds

Our final process of the file copy test was to see just how long a backed up file on the Fusion-io drive would take to copy within itself. In this instance we took a complete section of files, applications and programmes (2315 files within 272 folders) weighing in at 4.88GB on the drive. Copying this package within the drive took a mere 12 seconds to complete. Never have we witnessed anything so fast. To check the data was correct we took the same file and placed it onto one of the fastest 256GB MLC SSD’s on the market and it took 21 seconds to complete the same copy within test.

Conclusions

In our opinion these drives from Fusion-io and their successors are the future within the Workstation place and in mission critical applications and final render outputs. Initial outlays might be perceived as being costly but the return of investment will be phenomenal. Take one standard movie of approximately 100 minutes – converting it from 2D to a 3D output only takes a mere three hours. Using disks in a raid array could take up to 12 – 14 hours to complete.

Fusion-io from its foundation four years ago has gone from strength to strength and almost all the first tier companies as well as the second tiers have embraced and adopted the technology. Downtime to disk failure, disk fragmentation and free space problems are now a thing of the past.

The adoption path tests we have shown on how fast the drive can be are just the tip of the iceberg, but they also show without unequivocal doubt their reliability and stability while under load. Leaving the system undertaking a heavy read/writing session for a 36 hour period we saw the following performance sequential statistics before and after from CrystalMark

There’s no performance drop at all. Normally in most cases a drop would be seen from even the most advanced of SSDs. The drive itself functions much better the more memory you place into the system, the better the performance across the whole I/O. One benchmark that showed this clearly was SPECviewperf 11 and the viewsets of Lightwave, Maya and Solidworks that use the whole system I/O. Within these three viewsets we see increases in scores not normally obtained from spindle disks or SSDs.

We’ve never seen better benchmarks for a drive from PCMark 2005 and PCMark. For the old guard, an overall HD score of 71083 from the PCMark 2005 took us by surprise. On several reruns the result remained the same. With the newer PCMark Vantage, the HD test really took us by surprise with a tremendous overall HD score of 58416.

Gaming studios would be wise to look carefully at these results. The usage of this important piece of kit can and will be used in many important phases of production. Remember this is a PCI Express X4/X8 card that can be readily switched quickly between systems.

Some analysts will be sceptical at the cost, however for the speed you do get bang for your buck. For those after a workstation packing high speed productivity, reliability and stability, look no further. The negative Nellies will be sitting back aghast.

We stipulated that this is without a doubt the future of drives to come which got us thinking. Could this drive be embedded onto a mainboard directly to cut down on future hardware installs, or have an upgrade slot for adding in more modules to increase the drives capabilities? There will need to be cost cuts. Time will tell, though it could be a viable probability.

Ultimately, the clever boffins at Fusion-io have taken us aback at their product’s complete adaptability. This drive and the others from within the range can be found all over the shop supporting tons of operating systems and huge SQL databases as well as film and art studios. The kit can and will increase productivity output – quadrupled in some cases as in this one recent case study. The beneficial list is endless and this is one piece of equipment that has to be seen to be believed for anyone thinking of outlaying on a huge 15K array.

Final thoughts: if you fear a dropped drive or raid controller going down in your raid arrays – think Fusion-io. If you fear severe disk fragmentation downtime – think Fusion-io.

We’re just wondering, what could possibly be next for the Fusion-io?

We take a dekko at the myDitto network attached storage

You may be thinking about moving your files to ‘The Cloud’ so you can access your data just about anywhere – it seems like a great idea. But do you really want to trust your private data to the corporate world?

French techies Dane-Elec have a possible alternative. It’s catchily called the myDitto Network Attached Storage (NAS).

Promising easy setup and secure access, Dane-Elec may be onto a winner. However, it’s not the only option in this section of the market with some established competition. We put it through its paces to see if it can live up to the marketing blurb.

The myDitto sells itself as a centralised place for all your digital content, which you can connect to anywhere, anytime, from almost any computer. It holds two hard drives – ours came with 2×500 GB.

These can be expanded up to 2x2TB through easy-access trays at the back. As far as NAS storage goes, its appearance is friendly on the eye with a slimline white case and blue glow coming from the LEDs on the front. In addition to the myDitto, you get a stand, power cable, network cable, quick-start instructions and two USB access keys.

myDitto hard drive access

These keys are myDitto’s unique feature as each one is pre-configured to your particularstorage server. They allow access from computers on the network or over the web. Once thehardware is plugged into your router there is no additional setup. The software and configurationare all stored on the myDitto key, meaning that all you need to do to access your files is plug thekey in and run the included software.

myDitto key

One of the main reasons for hosting your own data is security, and the myDitto has thiscovered. Its access keys and software provide a few layers of protection – these include serverauthentication of the keys, user password protection and AES 128 encryption. The softwarealso takes advantage of peer-to-peer tech to make sure that you can access your files anywhereover the web.

myDitto softwareThe keys themselves come in two varieties: master and user. The user key lets you accessfiles in your area and the public space on the drive, and the master key gives you full access toall files, as well as admin rights to play with settings.

You can order new keys or turn existing USB sticks into additional keys using the copy button located at the front of the server. Up to 30 keys are supported by a single myDitto with six being able to access at any one time.

You would expect any storage server aimed at the home market to have loads of streamingoptions for your music, videos and the like. Unfortunately, the options on the myDitto are limited,although it does have streaming support for music with the included software as well as aniTunes Server.

If you want to do more than this then you’ll need to set up a DLNA client such as an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. There were some additional noticeably absent features, such as software streaming, torrent and FTP support. Why?

 

myDitto streaming options

We tested the myDitto over our network and transfer speeds were reasonable, a 1.4 GB movie took just over 15 minutes to copy. We also tried over the internet, where the speed difference was noticeable, although this was most likely limited by the up speed of our internet connection. It was still quick enough to stream music files. We’re not sure how much luck we would have had streaming films though – since it took 47 minutes to transfer the same 1.4 GB movie.

We tested power consumption and this ranged between 14 Watts and 20 Watts. A couple of Google searches revealed that this works out at around £15 a year. Comparing this to an onlinestorage account such as drop box, which offers a 100 GB account for $19, the myDitto appearsto offer good value for money.

The myDitto does give off an audible hum and bright blue glow at all times which isdistracting. If your router is in a living room or shared area this might cause problems, as theincluded network cable is quite short. Both the power consumption and noise will still easilyoutperform NAS alternatives such as running a dedicated PC.

The myDitto was extremely easy to set up and use making it a good option for newbies and luddites – undoubtedly its strongest feature. We didn’t come across any access problems, and were able to reach our files just by plugging in the key. There are other similar products in this price range that do have richer streaming options, however, if the myDitto’s features meet your needs then we have no hesitation recommending it.

The Good

  • Easy access anywhere
  • No fuss setup
  • Unobtrusive looks
  • Easily expandable

The Bad

  • Limited streaming and access options
  • A little noisy and bright

The Ugly

We take a dekko at Transcend's rugged USB 3.0 portable hard drive

Much to the disappointment of peripheral manufacturers, USB 3.0 hasn’t exploded onto the market as expected. It’s not hard to see why though, with Intel and AMD  still dragging their feet when it comes to updating chip-sets. 

However, some support is starting to creep through, as most high-end motherboards and systems now include at least a couple of ports.

For most this comes thanks to the addition of a separate USB controller chip from NEC. We’re lucky enough to have an Asus Crosshair IV motherboard with USB 3.0 support and we’re using it to take a look at a rugged external USB 3.0 external hard drive from Transcend – the 25M3.

In the package you get the hard drive, a USB 3.0 cable and some documentation. The first thing we looked at when unpacking the drive was the USB cable. This comes with a standard A connection and a micro B connection, which doesn’t look that micro to us being about twice the size of the old micro USB connector.

The included quick start guide is reasonably unnecessary as it doesn’t go far beyond “plug drive in”, however it does give a little overview of the StoreJet Elite software that’s pre-loaded.

 

 

 Transcend whats in the box

Looking at the drive itself, the majority of it is covered in a soft-touch rubber-like material, which gives it a nice matt finish. This might be part of the drive’s rugged design, meeting US military standards for dropping stuff. A bit more research shows this drop test actually involves dropping the drive from 1.2 meters, 26 times on all its faces – so no need to worry about taking it to the pub then. We didn’t, however, bash it about too much since they want it back. Cheapsters.

The box advertises this drive as a 2.5” portable hard drive, but we guess they’re talking about the actual physical hard drive, as the 25M3 is 126mm x 80.08mm or 4.96” x 3.2”. Size-wise this isn’t too bad though.  It would fit into most pockets and is a lot more portable than hard drives of the past.

 

 Transcend drive

One of the main features of the drive is the one touch backup button, which works in conjunction with the included software and doubles as the status indicator light. Once pressed, the button automatically syncs all of the data that you have set up in the StoreJet elite software. The syncing feature of the software is excellent but we’re not sure there is the need for a physical button on the drive, since you can do the same exercise with one click in the included software.

After giving the drive a little shake there was a slightly audible rattle and this was down to the loose fitting of the one-touch button.

 Transcend blue button

Moving on to the StoreJet Elite software, this gives you options to back up your emails, favorites and pretty much anything else you would like. We tried out a few of the features, selecting a couple of folders to keep synchronised, and it all seemed to work as expected. 

When we deleted a file from one it was copied to the other with the press of the button. It also has some options for the security minded with the ability to store your files on the drive within an encrypted zip. The software did the job, although it had an annoying habit of closing all open Internet browsers whenever any setting was changed.

Transcend Elite

We don’t want to focus too much on transfer rates as we’ve never had much trouble with USB 2.0, let alone 3.0, which is considerably quicker. But to give you an idea, we ran through a couple of tests and this drive, which has been certified as USB 3.0, is certainly quick enough for anything we could imagine.

Data Size Number of files/folders Time Taken
22.3GB 9141 6m 27s
2GB 1 26s

 
The StoreJet 25M3 provides a small, quick, high-capacity drive that can be used on the move without fear of accidents. The drive was well built with a nice look and feel due to the soft-touch coating, and the software was relatively unobtrusive. We found it online for £77, which is about average for a drive of this size and storage capacity. 

However, its super-fast USB 3.0 credentials lift it above the competition in our opinion, if you’ve got the hardware to take advantage of it, that is.

*EyeSee Some readers have asked us about this word “dekko” which we seem to use whenever we take a look at hardware. To look in Hindi is dekhna – dekko is an informal way of suggesting you take a gander. Or a butcher’s hook. Ha nai?

We take a dekko at two external HDs

In the name of science, or in actual fact solely for our own amusement, we’ve paired up two unlikely suspects in the world of external hard drives. IOSafe’s latest effort, which is a mammoth beast and claims to be indestructible, and Freecom’s Hard Drive XS, which claims to be one of the world’s smallest USB 3.0 drives.

We wanted to take them out and put them in fun and kooky situations, since they are an unlikely pair and thus excellent candidates for a sitcom pilot. However, the IOSafe is just too bloody fat and heavy to carry around so we had to leave him at home and just take the Hard Drive XS to the park to go on the swings instead.

Read our reviews here:

Here is a photo of the IOSafe on the left, the XS on the right and a quaint British 50 pence piece for comparison, and lens flare.

IOSafe Solo 500GB Review

In the name of science, or in actual fact solely for our own amusement, we’ve paired up two unlikely suspects in the world of external hard drives. IOSafe’s latest effort, which is a mammoth beast and claims to be indestructible, and Freecom’s Hard Drive XS, which claims to be one of the world’s smallest USB 3.0 drives.

We wanted to take them out and put them in fun and kooky situations, since they are an unlikely pair and thus excellent candidates for a sitcom pilot. However, the IOSafe is just too bloody fat and heavy to carry around so we had to leave him at home and just take the Hard Drive XS to the park to go on the swings instead.

Try as we might to stop the IOSafe from working, we couldn’t manage it. It’s basically a house, but you can’t keep bedrooms and kitchens in it, you can only keep 500GB of space in it. We pushed it down stairs, tried to drown it, set fire to the bugger, heck, we even tried to smother it with a pillow in its sleep but it would just keep on working. Very frustrating. It’s the Rasputin of hard drives. We treated it like a conman would treat his elderly bride on the brink of the beyond, we treated it like a resented red-headed stepchild and we even treated it like it was a Middle Eastern country with oil and we were America. Nothing would stop this beast from ticking along fine.

Considering its hefty size we’d have thought it would fit more than 500GB of space in it – that’s how these things work, right? To be fair, models start at 500GB and go up to a massive two terabytes. Other than the novelty of its indestructible build, it performed well and we had no problems with installing or using it, aside from lifting it onto a desk. Luckily we have a forklift loaned out as a review sample that we’ll probably never get around to, crisis averted. 

We’re surely not the target market for the IOSafe, though. Rarely in the London suburbs do we have earthquakes or natural disasters, so our hard drives are likely quite safe as they are. 

Here is a photo of the IOSafe on the left, the XS on the right and a quaint British 50 pence piece for comparison, and lens flare.

Freecom Hard Drive XS 3.0 Review

In the name of science, or in actual fact solely for our own amusement, we’ve paired up two unlikely suspects in the world of external hard drives. IOSafe’s latest effort, which is a mammoth beast and claims to be indestructible, and Freecom’s Hard Drive XS, which claims to be one of the world’s smallest USB 3.0 drives.

We wanted to take them out and put them in fun and kooky situations, since they are an unlikely pair and thus excellent candidates for a sitcom pilot. However, the IOSafe is just too bloody fat and heavy to carry around so we had to leave him at home and just take the Hard Drive XS to the park to go on the swings instead.

The Hard Drive XS 3.0 is a cool little number, dressed in sleek, sexy black rubber and giving you an alluring gaze that is impossible to resist if you are some kind of technosexual weirdy beardy. It is fast, bloody fast, when it’s hooked up to a USB 3.0 port. It boasts it can manage 5gbs / second transfer and it generally performed at that level or just under. It also has a whopping 1.5 Terabytes of space on it, making it small in stature but with a big heart.

It’s a quiet little number too, rarely making so much as a whirr, which in our experience has always been an annoyance with external hard drives. It only weighs 860 grams so is highly portable. The 3.5″ SATA drive is low on power, too, making it a worthy purchase if you’re always eager for mammoth amounts of space to work with. It goes for £130.00 here.

Here is a photo of the IOSafe on the left, the XS on the right and a quaint British 50 pence piece for comparison, and lens flare.