Removable HD from HP

On Monday, Hewlett-Packard will introduce a “Media Drive”, an external hard drive that can be easily inserted and removed from an HP computer to provide additional storage.

Users will be able to insert and remove the $219, 160-Gbyte Media Drive into a special storage bay designed into the a new PhotoSmart m1000 PC that HP will introduce on Monday. However, the cartridge-shaped removable drive will also serve as a standalone hard drive and can be connected to other PCs via its integrated USB2 interface.

Although the hard drive can store documents and other files, an HP spokeswoman said the drive was being designed to address the growing concern that today’s sealed PVRs quickly run out of space to store video files recorded from TV. In April, Seagate Technology said that it had begun talking to PVR manufacturers about drives that could be used for external storage, to improve their capacity.

“Media Center PCs can record TV and video,” Hewlett-Packard spokeswoman Ann Finnie said. “The one complaint people have, however, is that the hard drives are filling up too fast.”

Although the drive is being released in 2004, the concept is similar to the Device Bay concept Compaq, Intel and Microsoft proposed in 1997. Then, the three companies envisioned a slot that could be used as an interface for both storage and communications, with hard drives targeted as the first Device Bay products. However, the consortium neglected to invite hard drive vendors, who had no interest in reducing their margins even further to design ruggedized external drives. Now, lured by digital video, practically every drive vendor on the market has shipped external drives.

Currently, HP has built in the Media Drive Bay into its four new PhotoSmart PC models, including a new configure-to-order model available on the web site beginning Wednesday for $899, after rebate. Three other PhotoSmart models — the $2199.99 m1090n, the $1399.99 m1080n, and the $1,049.99 m1070n — are based on Intel’s new Intel 915 or “Grantsdale” chipset and begin shipping in retail July 18.

The Media Drive will be sold as a separate accessory and also includes backup software for backing up a user’s data.

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News source: ExtremeTech


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