For a while, it has seemed impossible to design anything new or innovative when it comes to portable hard drives other than to increase their storage space or add minor features, like an e-label, in the case of the WD My Passport Studio. As it turns out, however, Seagate has been working on another major evolution.
The company announced Tuesday an entirely new line of storage solutions called FreeAgent GoFlex that emphasizes flexibility. The new storage family includes both portable and desktop external drives. Each comes with an array of cable adapters that allow it to quickly switch to difference interfaces. With this new family, the concept of an external hard drive has changed significantly.
Traditionally, an external hard drive has circuit boards with selective built-in ports for different interfaces. These interfaces includes USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, and eSATA. Low-end or ultraportable drives generally support USB 2.0 only, whereas higher-end and desktop drives tend to support more interfaces. However, all of them share one common shortcoming: they are stuck with whatever ports they come with.
With Seagate's new FreeAgent GoFlex design, an external hard drive is now divided into two parts, the storage and the cable adapter. The storage part is just the hard drive itself with no circuit board. Essentially, it's like any internal SATA hard drive with a protective case. The second part is a small adapter that can be snapped-in tight on the first part to make it a complete external storage solution. The two connect via the standard SATA interface.
An adapter contains the circuit board that determines the functionality of the drive and can be designed to support different interfaces and features. Each FreeAgent GoFlex drive will come with a USB 2.0 adapter of its own and have the capability of working with any other adapters. This way, your new external hard drive can be quickly changed to support any interface or have any added features that Seagate offers.
The best thing about the new snap-in adapter design is that the adapters also work with any internal hard drives.… Read more