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Thursday, January 08, 2009, 07:00 pm PT (10:00 pm ET)

New storage options playing big role at Macworld

Checking out the latest in Mac-friendly gear is a big part of Macworld, and this year was no exception. Here's our roundup of new storage options, ranging from external to networked from names like HP, Iomega, LaCie, Verbatim, and more.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has launched a new home server that can work with both Mac and Windows computers.  Based on the Microsoft Windows Home Server platform, the HP MediaSmart Server ex485/ex487 is a "central repository for automatically backing up and accessing digital music, videos, photos and documents from multiple computers on a home network."  It automatically organizes files from all PCs, streams media across a home network and the Internet, and publishes photos to social networking and photo sharing sites.  Also included is a feature that centralizes iTunes music libraries for playback to any networked Mac or PC running iTunes.  

Mac, PC, Server, and online (through Amazon S3) backup is also supported.  Smart power management settings schedule times for the server to "sleep" and "wake up".  Additional drives can be added for capacity up to 9TB in a unit with an Intel Celeron 2.0GHz 64-bit processor and 2GB of 800-MHz DDR2 DRAM standard.  With 750GB of space, the server costs $599.  For 1.5TB, it's $749.  You can pre-order the device from Amazon.com for an expected February ship date.  

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Macworld


Docks for iPhones, docks for iPods, docks for ... hard drives?  That's exactly what NewerTech is offering with is new Voyager Q Hard Drive Docking Solution.  It turns any 2.5" or 3.5" SATA hard drive into a bootable and hot-swappable external drive with your choice of interfaces; choose from FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0, and eSATA.  It has an eject level and an LED display to indicate power on (blue) and when the disk is being accessed (flashing red).  Speed transfers up to 300MB/s are yours for $100 from Other World Computing.  

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G-Technology is releasing a new family of external drives based on 2.5" SSD technology: the G-DRIVE mini SSD (120GB for $599 and 250GB for $1,299) and the RAID 0/1 G-RAID mini SSD (250GB for $999 and 500GB for $2,199).  Touted as the most rugged and durable external drives in the market, the new lineup provides higher data transfer rates, lower seek times and less power consumption in a cooler, quieter package.  They're targeted at "extreme users" who "capture, offload and edit digital content in challenging remote environments".  If you're an extreme user, or just want a mini SSD, you can choose between the G-DRIVE, which features a triple interface of FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0, and the G-RAID, which uses eSATA, FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0.  More information at G-Technology's site.

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New on the market is the Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive.  In three simple steps, users can configure up to 1TB of network storage for backing up all their files, streaming music, photos, video and other multimedia files between computers, networked televisions, popular game consoles and other digital home entertainment devices.  Game consoles compatible are Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3.  Iomega claims even a novice can be backing up multiple computers and streaming media in less than five minutes.  The units run on a custom Linux operating system.  Naturally, iTunes is supported, and it's possible to configure automatic backups.  You get 2GB of free online storage for backing up selected folders to a data center, unlimited storage for $4.95 a month if you need it.  The 500GB drive is available for $159.99, while the 1TB will run you $229.99.  Visit Iomega for more.  

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The LaCie Hard Disk MAX is for users who want advanced RAID features with consumer-level ease of use and style.  Designed by award winning industrial designer Neil Poulton, the drive boasts of 2TB of storage.  Two large-capacity drives inside can be configured in either RAID 0 or RAID 1.  It ships with the LaCie Setup Assistant and Intego Backup Assistant for Mac.  It has a front USB 2.0 expansion port to connect another external drive for backups.  The blue LED stripe gives out ambient light and changes to red when potential problems are detected.  For $269.99, you can order one with unlimited online backup for one full year.  Visit www.lacie.com to order.

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Verbatim has announced its new family of Store 'n' Go Micro USB drives for Macs and Windows.  Virtually weightless at .05 ounces, the brightly colored drives will be available later this month with 2GB (orange, $19.99), 4GB (green, $29.99), and 8GB (purple, $49.99) options.  Verbatim says it can achieve this small size through what it calls system-in-package (SIP) technology, which encapsulates all the electronic components into a single miniaturized and sealed unit.

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Also from Verbatim are new 500GB and 1TB Quad Interface Desktop Hard Drives.  Compatible with Mac and PC, Verbatim promises support for all four interfaces (USB 2.0, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, eSATA II) currently leading the market.  The HDDs weight 3.3 lbs and are easy to transport from one desk to another, where they take up minimal space compared to a desktop system.  Housed in sleek and durable black aluminum cases, the drives are rated at 7200rpm spindle speed and 32MB of cache memory.  The cooling fan is silent.  Backed by a three-year limited warranty and available immediately, you can buy the 500GB version for $179.99 or the 1TB drive for $249.99.  You'll get an AC power cord, USB 2.0 A-B cable, FireWire 1394a, 1394b bilingual and 1394b Beta cables, an eSATA cable, Nero backup software and a user guide with your purchase.

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DriveSavers, regarded as the best option to recover data from damaged drives, launched its first Data Recovery Portal for Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASP) and Self-Servicing Accounts (SSA).  The product streamlines many parts of the task by doing automatically what used to be done manually.  The portal enables AASPs and SSAs to initiate the data recovery process, track existing data recovery projects, find answers to FAQs, and reorder DriveSavers supplies.  For access, DriveSavers requests you register or log in at their website.

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