Seagate Technology is announcing two inexpensive PC hard drive lines that support the new UltraATA/66 interface and should offer high durability.
The Medalist 17242 series, designed for the mainstream desktop market, comes in capacities of 4.3GB, 8.4GB, 13GB, and 17GB with expected prices ranging from $US128 to $292. The U4 series, designed for the sub-$1000 PC market, comes in capacities of 4GB, 6GB, and 8GB, with prices ranging from $122 to $149. All drives are expected to ship in April.
Both the Medalist and U4 series feature the UltraATA/66 interface, which allows data transfer rates of up to 66MB per second. Although no currently available PCs use the UltraATA/66 interface, it's expected to be standard in PCs shipped this summer. Meanwhile, the drives are fully backward-compatible with the UltraATA/33 interface found in most current PCs, as well as with earlier PCs that don't support UltraATA.
The 5400 rpm Medalist 17242 drives include a 512KB cache buffer and have an average seek time of 9.0 milliseconds. The U4 drives, also 5400 rpm, have a 256KB cache buffer and an average access speed of 10.5 milliseconds.
In addition, the company's SeaShield System has been redesigned for the new drives. SeaShield provides a cover to protect the drives' sensitive circuit boards from static and physical damage, and the drives' settings and installation instructions are printed on it. Seagate is the only drive manufacturer to provide a circuit board cover.
Both Medalist 17242 and U4 lines incorporate Drive Self Test (DST), a built-in hardware technology that performs extensive diagnostics every time the drives are powered on.
They also come with Smart Monitoring, Analysis, and Repair Technology - or SMART - which continually monitors drive health. Also featured is Safe Sparing, which automatically moves data from bad sectors, and - according to Seagate - can recover without losing data even if the drive is powered off during the operation.
All Seagate hard disk drives ship with DiscWizard, a Windows utility that analyses your current PC and provides step-by-step instructions for installing the new drive. Local pricing and availability are not yet known.
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