<font size="3">Next-Generation Hard Drives</font>
It's a hard-drive industry mantra: Each succeeding generation must be faster and fit more data into less space. But while performance gains have been modest recently, areal density (gigabytes per square inch) continues to grow. The result: roomy desktop drives, tiny portable hard drives that hold truly useful amounts of data, and other new products such as easy-to-install network-attached drives for homes and small businesses. And you can expect to see new functions and greater capacities in 2004.
A couple of years ago, adding an external drive meant choosing between easily portable low-capacity models and bulky high-capacity units. But that has gradually changed as hard-drive makers squeeze additional storage into ever-shrinking forms. Consider the smaller-than-a-floppy Archos 20GB ARCDisk ($250; no other capacity currently available). Based on Hitachi's 1.8-inch DK14F1-20 mechanism and weighing only 2.7 ounces, this highly portable USB 2.0 drive sips power so parsimoniously that you usually don't need its AC adapter: It can run off of USB power alone. LaCie uses Toshiba's similar 20GB drive in its nearly-as-small Data Bank ($299), and the company plans to use Toshiba's 40GB model in future Data Banks.
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News source: PCWorld