CES Day Four: Seagate’s 500 Gigabyte SATA External Hard Drive, Are External Hard Drives Finally Ready for Prime Time?

500 Gig Seagate SATA External Drive

One of the things that has frustrated me to no end as those who read this blog know is the horrible trouble I’ve had with all of my external USB drives that hold my digital media collection. It really doesn’t matter who manufactures the drives, Seagate, Maxtor, Cobra, LaCie (well LaCie is actually the worst of them all), I’ve had trouble with all of them. Drives fail, drives aren’t recognized, and perhaps most frustrating of all is an inability to do large batch copy jobs for backup purposes (in case you’re reading this RIAA) of my mp3 library. I quite literally cannot back up a 250 gig drive by copying all of the files from one USB drive to another without getting Windows Explorer’s dreaded O/I Device Error. And I am not alone in having these problems. A Microsoft manager that I spoke with this weekend said he experiences the exact same thing and a Seagate rep that I spoke with today also said he has similar copy error problems when trying to do large batch copy jobs.

The conspiracy theorist in me of course believes that like the Sony root kit, the RIAA has placed hidden tripwire features in my library when I’ve ripped CDs in the past designed to prevent large copy jobs of music files. Of course I don’t really believe this but it is quite frustrating nonetheless.

Ed Bott in the past has suggested that my problems perhaps are related to the whole concept of trying to move that much digital data around on USB drives. Ed has suggested that were I to use SATA drives that my experience could be better. Well I may soon have the opportunity to find out. One of the products that I was very excited to see at CES this year was the Seagate 500 GB SATA external drive. The drive boasts speeds five times faster than normal external hard drives and I’m cautiously optimistic that my backup problems will go away when I try out these new drives.

The Seagate rep that I spoke with was not aware of the price of the drive but said that they were available on a very limited basis but that Seagate hopes to manufacture more and that the product would be more widely available in the coming months. He thought that it might be priced somewhere around $500. I could not find one for sale online today. The drive also ships with a SATA card that you can install in your PC in case you don’t already have a SATA connection. The drives will work for both the PC and the Mac and have Seagate’s push button back up feature (although I’ve never gotten push button backups to ever work with either Maxtor or Seagate products).

500 Gig Seagate SATA External Drive, SATA Connection

I’m really hoping that a SATA drive might once and for all fix my copy problems. Of course if these work out I’m not quite sure what to do with my 8 USB drives that I currently own — but I’m sure I’ll figure something out. As they say in Narnia, share the magic.


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