Posts Tagged ‘drive’

LG Manual Details Piracy…

February 8, 2010

LG may well find itself in some trouble with studios after its user manuals were found to contain details of how to watch illegally downloaded material on LG’s hardware.

Seems like a bit of a misstep...

The whole kafuffle stems from the release of a line of HDTV’s from LG that boast USB ports, allowing users to plug external storage directly into their displays and watch any content that they’ve got stored on those drives directly on their LG TV. Of course, the assumption might be that such content has been legally obtained, but LG’s own manual doesn’t seem too fussy, showing pirated content in its diagrams of the functionality.

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Corsair to Launch New Desktop SSDs

February 3, 2010

It seems that Corsair is to take a move further into the burgeoning solid-state storage market, by offering a line of new solid-state drives (SSDs), some of which will be particularly pleasing to the desktop bound among us.

Corsair's 2.5-inch SSDs are genuinely lovely to look at...

While most SSDs tend to weigh in at the notebook friendly 2.5” mark, it seems that Corsair is following OCZ’s lead by making some of its heavier-duty SSDs more accessible for those who want to use them to bulk up their desktop. Indeed, the new offering from corsair is a 3.5” drive (so there shouldn’t be any more fussing around with brackets to get it to fit into a desktop case) that boasts fully 512GB of storage and a 128MB cache, with read and write speeds of to 200MB/s and 240MB/s respectively.

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Special Offers – Week of February 1st

February 1, 2010

Good afternoon all, hopefully the return to work from the weekend hasn’t been too hard on you. Things are going quite well here, even the weather seems to have cheered up a little. Anyway, every Monday afternoon we post a list of our special offers for the week. It means you guys have as long as possible to check things out before deciding if you’d like to pick them up while they’re at a reduced price.

Anyway, this week we’ve got a few really nice bits and pieces on offer, including Intel’s X25 SSD, Belkin’s Gigabit Powerline HD starter kit, a Radeon 5670 and a Pioneer surround setup.

Intel X25:

For a very long time indeed, the SSD was a very expensive option indeed, but Intel has attempted to remedy that, offering solid-state storage on a wider scale for less-than-bankrupting sums… which is always nice.

Click through to see our page for Intel's X25 80GB SSD 🙂

Intel’s X25 is, in case anyone missed it, a solid-state drive. As with the vast majority of SSDs, it’s a 2.5-inch drive, so it should fit into a laptop without any real bother. Moreover, because it’s solid-state you’ll see faster read and write speeds than most standard hard-drives, which should mean a quicker boot… which is always nice. Your data will also be that bit more secure when it comes to the drive being knocked around a little in transit, thanks to the fact that the drive has no moving parts.

All in all, it’s a solid drive, and one that we’re genuinely pleased to be able to have on offer, because it’s attracted an awful lot of attention over the last couple of months.

Intel’s X25 80GB SSD is down to €199 this week, which isn’t bad at all when you consider the upsides of a nice SSD.

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YouTube Announces Spring Clean

January 13, 2010

YouTube has announced that it’s to run an early “Spring cleaning” project to help ensure that users have a more robust on-site experience with the video service.

According to a posting on the YouTube blog, the by no practically ubiquitous video service’s staff will be setting aside a significant proportion of if time to help tighten up the site’s design and overall user experience. Of course, there’s not too much to tell us just what we can expect to see out of YouTube’s upcoming shift, but it there are some hints to be had.

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Win7 Download Tool Released

December 11, 2009

Microsoft has finally released its Windows 7 download tool for those who’ve decided that they’d like to get their copies of Microsoft’s latest operating system via digital distribution, rather than physically.

According to TechNet Microsoft has finally solved the issue that caused the application to be pulled in the first place. The complaint that had been raised was that the original Windows 7 download tool was seen as a bit bloated and cumbersome; on closer inspection, it turned out that there was a significant amount of code appropriated from an open source project…

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Seagate Moving into SSDs

December 8, 2009

Seagate has announced that it’s moving into the solid-state storage market, showing off a 2.5” drive that’s only seven millimetres thick, which makes it that bit thinner than the vast majority of SSDs.

Engadget is reporting that Seagate’s Momentus will likely top out at around the 320GB mark, which isn’t too bad for an SSD at all, and is likely what keeps it so thin. It’s already been pointed out, at some length, by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, that netbooks might well be the bee’s knees when it comes to portable computing for now, but that times are likely to change relatively soon. Ballmer seems to be of the opinion that netbooks will be succeeded by what he terms, “ultra-thin” notebooks.

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Microsoft Pulls Win7 Download Option

November 11, 2009

Microsoft has pulled its Windows 7 download tool from the Microsoft online shop due to legal issues with the software.

microsoft logo

It’s ironic to see Microsoft in trouble because of copyright infringement so soon after the launch of Windows 7, which it has said aims to decrease the number of pirated copies of Windows in circulation. Word comes from Rafael Rivera’s Within Windows blog that there seemed to be seriously amiss with Microsoft’s Windows 7 Download Tool. Rivera said of the download tool,

“While poking through the UDF-related internals of the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool, I had a weird feeling there was just wayyyyy too much code in there for such a simple tool. A simple search of some method names and properties, gleaned from Reflector’s output, revealed the source code was obviously lifted from the CodePles-hosted (yikes) GPLv2-licensed ImageMaster project. (The author of the code was not contacted by Microsoft.)”

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Special Offers – Halloween Week

October 27, 2009

Good afternoon all, hopefully the long weekend was kind to you (though not so kind that it’s making the return to work too hard on you). Normally we run our Special Offers for the week on a Monday afternoon, but given the week that’s in it we’re going to have to run with it today instead 😉

This week we’re offering a 1TB extneral hard drive, an AMD processor and an OCZ power supply. Without any more delay, we’ll get to the products themselves.

Packard Bell Carbon 1TB:

Whenever people ask about a low-cost 1TB external drive, we tend to direct them towards the Western Digital Elements, which weighs in at €76. For this week though, Packard Bell’s Carbon is down to €73, which pretty much makes it the cheapest 1TB external drive on offer.

Click through to see our product page for the Packard Bell Carbon 1TB :)

By contrast to the Western Digital Elements, the Carbon is relatively simple aesthetically, lacking the rubberised chunks at either end that keep the Elements raised. This means that the Carbon is a bit easier to store, either in a backpack or just around the house.

Because of its power saving features, it’ll automatically drop itself to low power mode when your machine is turned off but the drive is still connected. That means it’s an excellent drive for those who’ll be happy to just plug it in and leave it on a shelf or desk and use it to store an archive of their media or even something as simple as a backup of a particularly important system.

When you consider the euro per GB cost, you’re getting around 13.6GB for €1, which isn’t a bad deal by any stretch of the imagination (unless my maths is out by miles). If you’re at all interested, you can check out our product page for the Packard Bell Carbon 1TB external to see more details and a few more pictures of the device itself.

At €73 it’s down 18% for this week.

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Build Your Own RAID Array

July 29, 2009

We’ve touched on RAID arrays in our last two articles and received a fair few questions about how difficult it is to set up a RAID and just what it entails for the user. The fact is, RAID isn’t the big bad wolf the name and capitals make it out to be.

hard_drives1

First things first, RAID stands for “redundant array of inexpensive disks” which should give some impression of just how this whole affair should run. Ideally we’d like to keep the whole thing nice and cheap, but offer some more options with your storage.

You’ll also need to determine where you want to keep all your data. If you’re looking to set up a RAID array inside your current desktop then it’s likely doable, but you could well run into some trouble with RAID support. It’s far easier to set up a RAID somewhere else in the house on a machine running FreeNAS and make sure you keep a regular backup. Ideally, you’d use something that will automate your backups for this kind of setup, along the lines of Norton Ghost or Acronis TrueImage.

For now though, we’ll assume you want to go internal 🙂

Setting it up:

Ideally before you get into this you should pick up at least two identical drives. You may want them to be identical for some RAID setups, but it does depend on how you want to run with the whole thing, there are RAIDs that’ll be perfectly happy with odd sized discs and others that will see you losing out if you’ve got some discs bigger than others. It’s a lot easier if they’re all the same size.

hdd

If you’re interested, we do a Samsung Spinpoint F1 at 1TB for €79, here.

Alright, once you’ve got your disks physically installed in your machine, you’re already through most of the awkwardness. What you’ll want to do from there is power up and jump straight into your BIOS settings (which will vary depending on your machine, but you’ll have to press a key during startup to get the whole thing going). Once you’re in there you’ll want to make sure that any SATA ports you’re not using are disabled, because they might be picked up as unreadable discs later. While you’re there, enable RAID if it’s not already on.

On your next boot you should have an option to open up your RAID configuration and have a look around at what’s inside. Depending on your RAID controller you’ll be given a few options. The most likely ones for us to use are RAID 1, RAID 0 and RAID 5. Remember that setting this up is going to wipe your disks, so we’d recommend you don’t do this with your existing system disk as a just-in-case.

RAID 1

RAID 1 is probably the simplest to explain, so we’ll go from there and work into more complicated things. Fundamentally, RAID 1 is just a straight mirroring across drives. Everything you write is written to both of your drives. There’s nothing more complex to it, but it does mean you always have a 100% current backup if either of your disks fails. It’s the mother of all backups and offers some pretty foolproof data recovery. Unfortunately, if you end up with a software issue or deleted documents, RAID 1’s mirroring isn’t much help, so you might want to keep a separate backup as well.

Attaching diagrams makes sure people don’t get lost in word soup.

RAID 1

RAID 0

RAID 0 does pretty much the polar opposite of RAID 1. It allows for the distribution of data across multiple disks in the array. The pleasant thing abut it is that you get the speed of having two drives writing whenever you’re writing and reading from two at once, so you’ll experience a general performance boost in those respects. The down side is that you’ll lose out on reliability. The big issue with RAID 0 is that it not only offers no protection from failure, but if any one drive fails the whole array is rendered useless… so tinker with care.

The diagram below is clearer than I can ever be.

RAID 0

RAID 5

RAID 5 is going to require one more disk, for those interested. While it does need three discs, it also combines favourable elements from both RAID 0 and RAID 1. Basically, you gain some failure insurance at the cost of one disc. The nice thing about RAID 5 is that if you throw in a heap of equally sized discs you’ll find our total storage capacity is reduced by the size of one disc. It has the benefit of adding space and reliability without a massive increase in cost (as long as you’re just picking up relatively cheap 1TB drives).

Check out the diagram if this is incomprehensible jibberish 🙂

RAID 5

Closing

Once you’ve pushed through all of the above and selected what kind of RAID you’d like to run you’re pretty much home free. Just remember that depending on your choice of array you’ll either be much better or far worse off when it comes to hard drive failures. In that respect we really do recommend either RAID 1 or RAID 5.

The knowledge that a failure could have been avoided with relative ease at the cost of some space generally compounds the sinking feeling that goes with a drive failure. Far better not to use RAID 0 unless you’ve got mountains of data about that you don’t mind losing.

IronKey Presents Self-Destructing USB Stick

July 14, 2009

IronKey is by now quite famous for the production of high security USB thumb-drives. However, it’s new device, the S200, takes things above and beyond, with a James Bond style self-destruct feature.

open_drive

One of the most touted features of the upcoming S200 is that it’s the first drive to ever achieve the FIPS 140-2, Security Level 3. The hardware based 256-bit encryption can be found on many security conscious sticks now, but the S200 does go above and beyond, boasting “trusted network restrictions” that prevent the key from being unlocked on “uncontrolled” machines. Indeed, the whole feature list describes a decidedly paranoid piece of hardware that really should make a difference in a world where most professionals simply carry unprotected data.

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