Innovation rarely comes as an entirely new product category. Most often, it puts a new and interesting spin on something that already exists.
That evolutionary form of innovation applies nicely to these four products. Each adds to our computing experience in useful and unexpected ways.
Four terabytes of hard-drive storage to go
The problem: A 1TB external drive has choked on an accumulation of backup files, photos, videos, music, and personal documents.
The solution: Until recently, 1TB drives have been remarkably cheap. But 4TB models? Not so much — especially compact, portable drives. Seagate’s 4TB Backup Plus Fast (site) takes a novel approach to give you excellent capacity, speed, and portability — though at U.S. $270, it’s still not cheap.
The Seagate drive is about double the thickness of the typical USB-powered portable drive — for a reason. To keep power consumption down, the Backup Plus Fast is actually two 2TB drives, one stacked on top of the other, in one case. Using an internal RAID 0 configuration, the two drives appear as a single volume. (RAID was originally intended for data and drive redundancy. But these days, it’s almost never seen on consumer drives.)
Using RAID 0 (more info) helps increase drive speed, but it does nothing for data integrity. In fact — because data is typically striped across two or more drives — if one drive fails, you might lose the data stored on the other drive, too.
For that reason, I’d be uncomfortable using the Backup Plus Fast as my primary backup file-storage device — despite the extremely low failure rates of today’s drives. It’s best used for files you access frequently. You could, for example, use it as mobile storage for your entire collection of videos, photos, and music. But you’d still want those files backed up elsewhere. (RAID 0 is fixed; you can’t change the drive’s configuration to RAID 1, which would allow the two drives to operate separately.)