Porsche Design may not be directly involved in building German supercars, but there are certain expectations to be met, aren’t there? LaCie is rolling out a new version of its Porsche Design hard drive skewed towards Mac owners that should offer more of the performance you’d associate with the automotive brand. The P’9223 Slim SSD is a third thinner than its ancestor but carries the option of a 120GB SSD that makes the most of the USB 3.0 port. If all runs well, nearly any Mac launched in 2012 can shuttle data along at a brisk 400MB per second. Demanding Mac fans will need to pay $150 for the flash-based edition to have the P’9223 feel truly Porsche-like; others only have to spend $100 if they’re content with the Volkswagen pace of a 500GB spinning drive.
When it comes to your device being the “world’s thinnest” or not can be decided by a single millimeter. Just days after Toshiba unveiled its 9mm-thick 500GB external hard drive, ADATA has knocked a little more off its own enclosure and declared victory. It’s releasing the DashDrive Elite HE720, a stainless steel USB 3.0 drive that measures in at 8.9mm-thick, and size is not the only department where it’s making an end-run around ol’ Tosh — it’s also $25 dollars cheaper, costing $90. In more mundane news, users who pick up the unit are entitled to snag a 60-day trial of Norton Internet Security and it’ll be available shortly.
LaCie has been sprucing up its smaller drives to handle a new crop of Macs that support USB 3.0. It’s now turn for the big boys to play. Updated versions of the 2big Quadra and 4big Quadra (not yet shown here) use the faster port to reach the potential of their high-capacity RAID arrays, peaking at either 210MB/s for the dual-drive 2big and 245MB/s for its quad-drive cousin. We’re not seeing a fundamental shakeup of the design apart from the higher speeds, although that’s not necessarily a problem given the FireWire 800 to catch legacy users and hot-swappable bays for future upgrades. Video editors and other storage mavens should just prepare themselves to pony up. The upgraded Quadra models will start at respective $499 (4TB) and $1,099 (8TB) prices when they ship in October, and they’re only poised to get more expensive when LaCie sets the costs for the higher-end 6TB and 12TB models.
When we set out to get hands-on with a hard drive, of all things, you can bet we’re going to do more than just pick it up and marvel at how lightweight it is. Here at a gdgt event in New York City, we spotted G-Technology’s new Mac-friendly USB 3.0 drives on display and immediately got to work running some speed tests on the thinnest of the bunch, the G-Drive slim. Though transfer rates varied, both download and upload speeds tended to hover around 95 MB/s, and that was after ten or so runs in the Blackmagic benchmark. (Next time we’ll bring a USB 2.0 cable to test a backward-compatible setup.)
According to a company rep staffing the event, the other drives in the lineup, the G-Drive mini, mobile and mobile USB 3.0, should deliver similar performance. Really, the differences here are in the specs: the G-Drive mobile and mini have FireWire ports, and all three offer more storage (750GB to 1TB, as opposed to 500GB for the slim). Design-wise, all the drives on display here seemed fairly impervious to scratches, and that rubberized band around the edges also makes the devices feel a little less delicate. On that point, you can check out the hands-on photos to see what we’re talking about, though you’ll just have to take our word on the speed testing.
j5create has updated its range of foolproof cross-device sharing accessories (prior model shown above) that bridge the gap between Mac, PC and even Android tablets through USB. The Wormhole Keyboard/MouseSwitch JUC 200 ($30) does what it says it will, sharing peripherals between devices, with the extra ability of drag-and-drop file transfer between PCs and Android devices. Meanwhile, the JUC 400 model ($40) allows your PC and Mac to hold hands in the same way, as well as link your PC to iPads for file storage and transfer. Finally, there’s the Wormhole Station JUH 320v2 ($130), which is somehow already winning plaudits from the future. The CES 2012 Innovations Award honoree is a docking extension with Ethernet, audio and USB 3.0 connections and PC to Mac compatibility. Take a jump through the PR button to get the full explanation.
No points for calling this one, but Microsoft confirmed today that Windows 8 will indeed boast support for the USB 3.0 specification, and “robust” support at that. That includes not just the higher transfer speeds you’d expect, but the promise of better battery life thanks to the improved power management measures the specification allows. Naturally, Microsoft will also continue to support all of your less speedy USB devices, and says that it’s actually created a brand new Microsoft USB Test Tool (or MUTT) to ensure everything works without a hitch — it’s described as “1,000 devices on a USB thumb drive.” Head on past the break for a quick demo video.
Wow. Those rockstars at the USB 3.0 promoter group haven’t taken the threat of Thunderbolt lying down. They’ve been working long into the night (we imagine) screaming “More Power!” and “Liiiiive, damn you, liiiive!”. In a press release, the group announces a new power delivery specification which will push USB 3.0′s limit from 4.5 watts all the way up to 100. You all of course remember that Thunderbolt’s maximum is a mere-by-comparison 10 watts. Brad Saunders, the promotion group’s chairman, believes that the new standard could enable USB 3.0 to supply a laptop with energy at the same time as it delivers data between your devices. (After all that time sponging off your laptop’s meager battery it’s about time your USB-powered foot warmer started returning the favor.) At the moment it’s only a specification and won’t be implemented until 2012 at the earliest, but this could just turn into an arms race of electrifyingproportions.
It seems too much to hope for, but Super Talent insists it has the benchmarks to prove it: a USB 3.0 stick that achieves 270MB/s reads and 240MB/s writes under optimal conditions. Unlike your average joe flash drive, the RC8 boasts a fully-fledged (albeit previous-generation) SandForce SSD controller that permits the simultaneous use of eight channels of NAND memory. In other words, this zippy little thing actually is an SSD, enclosed in an aluminum case that measures 1-inch wide, 4-inches long and 0.3-inches thick. No definitive word on pricing yet, but it was reported at Computex that a 50GB variant would go for around $110, while 25GB and 100GB capacities will also be available. Now, could someone please hurry up and build a Thunderbolt version?
Here’s a new option for those seeking a desktop replacement with adequate processing power: announced at Computex 2011 today is Gigabyte’s P2532, a 15.6-inch laptop sporting Intel’s Core i7-2630QM (2GHz to 2.9GHz), along with NVIDIA’s GeForce GT550M with 2GB of VRAM, up to 8GB of DDR3 system RAM, 500GB or 750GB hard drive at 7200rpm, and a tray-loading DVD burner. In fact, there’ll be two versions available: the P2532N that comes with NVIDIA Optimus for extra battery life, and the P2532V with NVIDIA 3D Vision but on a 1,366 x 768 LCD, as opposed to the 1080p counterpart on the former model. Otherwise, the remaining specs are identical on these 2.6kg (5.7lbs) laptops: two USB 3.0 ports, one eSATA / USB 2.0 combo port, HDMI, SD card slot, four 1.5 watt speakers with one woofer, Bluetooth 3.0, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, and a 1.3 megapixel webcam. Keep an eye out for this beast in June, but be prepared to shell out from around $1,500 if our hands-on pics below got your attention.
We’re here at Computex’s pre-show event to get some hands-on time with a few new products. As expected many tablets are present, and one such device is Gigabyte’s S1080 Windows 7 tablet, which we almost mistook as Viewsonic’s Viewpad 7. Here you have a 14.94mm-thick chassis housing a 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreen LCD, along with an Intel Atom N570, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 320GB hard drive (2.5 inches, 5400rpm, SATA). Other tidbits include a USB 2.0 port, USB 3.0 port, SD card reader, RJ-45 jack, 1.3 megapixel webcam, 4,000mAh battery, Bluetooth 3.0, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, and 3.5G modem. All of this boil down to an 895g (32oz) package.
If the S1080 doesn’t interested you, then maybe its accompanying multimedia dock will. Like similar offerings from competitors, Gigabyte’s version adds stereo speakers, VGA output, three USB 2.0 ports, and audio line-in to the tablet. But the real zinger here is the front-loading optical drive, which is a rare sight on docking stations these days. Oh, and if the built-in 4,000mAh battery isn’t enough for you, there’s also an optional 2.700mAh battery bar that hooks onto the bottom of the tablet. Expect the S1080 to hit US markets in June for around $700, with the yet-to-be-priced dock to follow later on in the summer (or you could just fly to Taiwan in July to pick one up).
For professional photographers, every second counts when downloading images on a deadline — especially when you throw enormous HD video files into the mix. With the $50 Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader, photogs now have a fast transfer option to compliment their pricey high-capacity CF and UHS-I SDXC cards, theoretically enabling downloads at up to 500MB per second (though current cards max out at one-fifth of that). You’ll need to have a USB 3.0 port and high-speed flash to take advantage of faster transfers, though the reader is backwards-compatible with USB 2.0 and older cards — you’ll even be able to use that 32MB CF that came bundled with your DSLR. And what about appearance? Lexar Director of Marketing Jeff Cable sums it up: “It looks similar to our older card reader, the USB 2.0 reader, except that it says USB 3.0 right here on the front.” Bam!
Sick and tired of the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0′s slow-as-molasses 80MB/sec read speeds? Good news, the flash drive has been souped up for a second generation, offering up 100MB/sec read and 70 MB/sec write speeds when plugged into a USB 3.0 port — plugging into a 2.0 port should give you in the neighborhood of 30MB/s for both read and write. That speed ain’t cheap, however — the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB drives will run you $77, $116, and $213, respectively. The drives are available now and the press release is after the break — if you can catch it.
If you’ve somehow not heard of the ThinkPad X1 yet, you join us at a good time. The well leaked laptop has shown up at an X Series comparison site, put together by Lenovo itself, where yet more specs have been made known. The 13.3-inch display is dubbed a SuperBright HD inifinity panel, which to you and us simply means it’s built using IPS technology. There’s also an integrated fingerprint reader, a buttonless touchpad, USB 3.0 connectivity, and a promised 10-hour battery life with a slice battery. Weighing in at 1.36kg (3lbs) and measuring about 16mm (0.625 inches) in thickness, it’s described as Lenovo’s thinnest ThinkPad yet. Last time we heard, we were told to expect it on May 17th, guess those webmasters are getting the show started a little early. One more glamor shot of the X1 can be found after the break.
The last time we saw Samsung’s Central Station in person it wasn’t so much of a hands-on moment as a drive-by peep show. Nearly four months later, it’s about to go on sale, and Samsung finally let us play with a final unit. For those of you who missed it in Vegas, the Central Station is a 1080p monitor that doubles as a docking station, replete with HDMI and VGA output, a speaker port, four USB ports (two of ‘em USB 3.0), plus an additional USB port just for wired connections (more on that in a bit). The best part, of course, is that all of this docking happens wirelessly with the help of a small dongle that plugs into your laptop’s USB port — even if it’s of the 2.0 variety. The promise is that all you need to do is walk within range of the monitor to be able to mirror (or extend) your desktop, stream 1080p video, and access USB peripherals, such as external hard drives. So is this display as simple to use as advertised? Mosey on past the break and check out our hands-on video to see for yourself.
Plextor PL-LB950UE Blu-ray burner lands in the US with heady mix of USB 3.0 speed and double-layer storage
Europeans have been able to bag this speedy external writer for a few months now, but it’s only just received its Green Card — turning up in the US with a suitcase full of dreams and a price tag of $239.99. A quick check of its CV resume reveals a choice of either USB 3.0 or eSATA connectivity, 12x write speed, and the ability to burn up to 50GB of data on a dual-layer disc. The drive is being pitched as an “all-in-one Blu-ray device” because it also handles 3D playback and has a low vibration system for quieter operation. Admittedly, it only offers half as much storage as BDXL writers, but those burn slower and onto judderingly expensive media. Closer competition comes from Buffalo, which arrived early to the USB 3.0 table, but whose current MediaStation model omits the eSATA option.
We got a dose of details on Dell’s new Precision M4600 and M6600 workstations yesterday, and though impressed by their specs, we were left without answers to two very important questions: when can we get them, and how much will they cost? There must be some mind readers in Round Rock, because today Dell revealed that the machines will make their debut on May 10 with prices starting at $1,678 for the M4600 and $2,158 for its 17-inch big brother, though prices surely escalate quickly from there. Turns out, the laptops also have optional IPS and four-finger multi-touch displays for your viewing pleasure and RAID support for your (and your employer’s) peace of mind. That’s some stellar hardware for some serious coin, so interested parties should start brown-nosing the bossman immediately — or maybe just get a second job. PR’s after the break.
We were just pondering this very thing yesterday — would Intel dedicate itself to Thunderbolt and give USB 3.0 the cold shoulder — and now we have our answer from the Santa Clara crew, albeit delivered from Beijing. The Chinese capital is the site of Intel’s currently ongoing developer conference, which is where Kirk Skaugen, VP of the company’s Architecture Group, assured the world that the promise for native USB 3.0 support in Intel chipsets will be fulfilled. Not this year, mind you, but it’ll be with us in 2012 as part of the Ivy Bridge CPU refresh. That matches AMD’s plans to support USB 3.0 in Fusion APUs, and was augmented with a strong word of endorsement from Skaugen about the connector’s future. He urged developers to embrace USB 3.0 on an equal footing with Intel’s proprietary Thunderbolt interconnect, describing the two technologies as “complementary.” If you say so, captain.