Seagate and Western Digital both detailed changes in their external hard-drive lineups Monday. Customers can choose capacities from 250GB to 1TB, with software add-ons and color options. Smaller, faster and cheaper are the buzzwords.
Seagate revamped its 2.5-inch FreeAgent portable and external drives for PCs and Macs. The drives are preformatted for the Macintosh or PC, come in an array of colors, and include utilities to make external storage easier to use.
The FreeAgent Go is the first portable drive with a docking station, according to Seagate. With docking stations hooked up on multiple computers, users can easily connect for file, video, music and photo sharing. The FreeAgent Go is available in capacities up to 500GB in silver, black, red or blue. An imitation leather carrying pouch and a USB cable are included, but the docking station is sold separately for $29.95.
The PC Go drives are $119.99 for 250GB, $149.99 for 320GB, and $239.99 for 500 GB. The Mac FreeAgent Go sells for $159.99 for 250GB and $189.99 for 320GB. There was no word on whether Seagate will offer a 500GB version for the Mac, but the Mac FreeAgent Desk drives designed for desktop use have a retail price of $169.99 for 500GB, $269.99 for 1TB and $349.99 for 1.5TB, which will be available in October.
The PC versions of the FreeAgent Desk drives are slightly cheaper at $129.99 for 500GB, $149.99 for 640GB, $229.99 for 1TB and $279.99 for 1.5TB. Mac drives come with both FireWire and USB connections.
On the high end, Seagate also announced the FreeAgent Xtreme Drive with a purported 3GB per second transfer time. The company is positioning it as an ideal storage medium for video and complex graphics. The drive uses an enhanced SATA interface and comes in capacities ranging from 500GB ($159.00) to 1.5TB ($299.00). All but the 1.5TB drives are available now.
Western Digital Passport
Western Digital's announcement focused on a new 500GB drive in two flavors -- the Passport Elite and the Passport Essential. According to Western Digital, the Essential drives come in 11 colors and weighs in at seven ounces. The Elite drives come in four soft-touch finishes and include software to facilitate secure file sharing and transport on MioNet-enabled PCs.
The drive also includes a software capacity gauge, so users can easily determine how full the drive is.
While the 500GB drives were announced Monday, the Passport line also includes 160GB, 250GB, 320GB and 400GB drives. The Elite and Essential 400GB and 500GB drives retail for $179 to $219, depending on the model. All are USB 2.0-powered and are available now on the Western Digital Web site.
LaCie and Iomega also released new portable drives in early summer, but with lower capacities than the Seagate and Western Digital drives.