Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2012 - 02:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: western digital, Seagate, Lawsuit
A court settlement against Western Digital has been partly overturned, which means that they won't have to pay the $630 million fine to Seagate for misuse of confidential information. They are not totally off the hook however as the judge only overturned 5 of the 8 charges, leaving 3 still outstanding. Those three could well cost more than the amount they were just let off the hook for and even a storage giant like WD is going to notice a half billion dollar fine. The Register is keeping an eye on this story, we will find out more in 2 weeks when the hearings resume.
"Western Digital is off the hook for a cool $630m in an arbitration case it initially lost over the alleged misuse of Seagate's confidential information, including trade secrets.
Back last year, Seagate complained about the activities of WD and a former Seagate employee who had joined WD, alleging that WD was using Seagate trade secrets and other confidential information in its activities. The dispute went to an arbitration court, which awarded Seagate $525m in damages in November 2011."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- You can skateboard on a Microsoft Surface @ The Inquirer
- Intel inches above Wall Street's earnings expectations @ The Register
- TomTom Hands Free car kit for the iPhone @ Rbmods
Subject: General Tech | August 5, 2012 - 10:23 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ssd, Seagate, LaCie, Hard Drive, controlling interest
Earlier this year, it was revealed that hard drive manufacturer was interested in acquiring a controlling interest in LaCie. LaCie is a manufacturer of high-end desktop drive and NAS enclosures. The company announced that it planned to purchase shares from LaCie CEO and Chairman Philippe Spruch and an unnamed partner. Doing so would give Seagate 64.5% of outstanding shares. It is further offering shareholders as much as $5.09 USD for their shares should Seagate acquire 95% of outstanding shares and voting rights within six months of the deal closing.
After getting the necessary go ahead from various governmental anti-trust bodies, Seagate is ready to move forward with the acquisition. Both Seagate Technology PLC (public limited company) and LaCie S.A. (annonymous society) have announced the buyout is official. Seagate has indeed purchased all shares owned by Philippe Spruch and his partner for €4.05 (approximately $5.01) per share, giving Seagate 64.5% of outstanding shares and a majority interest in the company and more votes than the remaining investors combined. Should Seagate acquire 95% of shares within six months, the check made out to the LaCie chairman and his unnamed affiliate would increase 3% due to the price per share paid increasing to €4.17/share (approximately $5.16).
The merging of Seagate and LaCie logos (hehe).
Beyond that, Seagate wants to completely buy out all outstanding shares of the company. It will offer an all cash offer to the remaining shareholders. While Ricol Lasteyrie & Associes is still the independent expert that was announced previously, Seagate has increased the price per share that they are willing to offer shareholders. Should the independent experts okay the offer (by making sure that LaCie shareholders would be getting an appropriate amount of money per share based on an independent valuation), Seagate is prepared to pay up to €4.50 per share, or approximately $5.57. With the new offer, there is no contingency offer like the 3% increase to Spruch should Seagate get 95% of shares. The €4.50 is as much as Seagate is looking to pay.
With all the talk lately of Seagate acquiring an SSD manufacturer, the official acquisition of LaCie is interesting. Seagate may well still be looking for an SSD manufacturer, because although LaCie does have some flash USB key storage experience and products, they do not have SSD experience. Also, the intention to buy LaCie has been known for much longer than the rumor that Seagate would acquire OCZ has been making the rounds on the web. As far as the combination of Seagate and LaCie goes, Seagate is getting a high-end enclosure product lineup that the company can then integrate its own drives into.
While not the announcement that people were hoping for, it is likely a positive move to Seagate to acquire LaCie. Is it OCZ or Fusion IO’s turn next?
Here, you can find more information on the deal.
Subject: General Tech | August 4, 2012 - 12:54 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: VR, ssd, Seagate, quakecon, podcast, ocz, oculus rift, nvidia, Intel, carmack, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #212 - 08/03/2012
In this special live edition of the PC Perspective Podcast, we discuss QuakeCon 2012 and other news of the week!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout Josh Walrath, Allyn Malvantano and Steve Grever
This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
Program length: 49:04
In this special live edition of the PC Perspective Podcast, we discuss QuakeCon 2012 and other news of the week!
Subject: Storage | July 30, 2012 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Seagate, repair, DIY, bricked
While this trick will not work on all bricked HDDs, if you have a Seagate 7200.11 HDD that is failing because it is convinced it is always in a busy state then you should check out this story on Hack a Day. While the initial step of detaching the circuit board and blocking some connections with piece of cardstock can be handled with easy, it will take some expertise to use an Arduino or serial-TTL converter to issue commands to the HDD controller. It is a good thing that there is a tutorial to walk you through the steps to unbrick your HDD, besides in the worst case scenario your HDD will still be a brick so it is worth a shot.
"Hard drive firmware is about the last place you want to find a bug. But that turned out to be the problem with the Seagate HDD which he was using in a RAID array. It stopped working completely, and he later found out the firmware has a bug that makes the drive think it’s permanently in a busy state. There’s a firmware upgrade available, but you have to apply it before the problem shows its face, otherwise you’re out of luck. Some searching led him to a hardware fix for the problem."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Western Digital VelociRaptor (WD1000DHTZ) 1 TB @ TechARP
- Hitachi Deskstar 5K4000 4TB @ Tweaktown
- HGST Ultrastar 7K4000 4TB SATA III HDD Review @ NikKTech
- Buffalo TeraStation 5200: a fast NAS with a few business features @ Hardware.info
- QNAP TurboNAS TS-119P II NAS Server Review @ NikKTech
- Intel 910 800GB PCI Express Solid State Drive Enterprise RAID @ Tweaktown
- OCZ Agility 4 256GB @ SSD Review
- OCZ Vertex 4 128GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Plextor M3 Pro SSD @ XSReviews
- OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G @ SSD Review
- Kingston DataTraveler Elite 3.0 USB 3.0 @ TechARP
- Kingston 16GB DataTraveler Locker+ G2 USB Drive Review @ Legit Reviews
A selection of parts
AMD is without a doubt going through some very tough times with massive personnel issues as well as some problems with products and profitability. But that doesn’t mean the current product line from AMD is without merit and that you can’t build a great system for various environments, including those users looking for a mainstream and small form factor gaming and home theater PC.
While preparing for Quakecon 2012 we needed to build a system to take on the road for some minor editing and presentation control purposes. We wanted the PC to be small and compact, yet still powerful enough to take on some basic computing and gaming tasks. I happen to have some AMD Llano APUs in the office and thought they would fit perfectly.
If you are on the hunt for a small PC that can do some modest gaming and serve as an HTPC, then you might find our build here interesting. And while it isn't nearly as exciting as building a Llano PC while blindfolded - it's pretty close.
Case: Lian-Li PC-Q08B
Subject: General Tech | June 15, 2012 - 01:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Hard Disk, Seagate, western digital, fud, hdd
There are quite a few things in the industry to speculate on, from Microsoft's intimating a 'big new thing' next Monday to AMD and the HSA's plans for the future of the industry, but if you want to go for the big one then it is the hard drive industry you should be following. The most recent sign that something big is going on would be the change in warranty length on consumer drives from the two remaining players, both of which now offer a 1yr warranty. That is a vast reduction from previous 3yr and 5yr warranties and while it does not necessarily imply these drives will fail any faster it does mean they offer shorter warranties than their competition, the SSD. This could convince a lot of people that paying $1/GB for an SSD is not really that bad of a deal and you can only expect that price to fall, especially on larger sized SSDs.
Also consider the fact that there are only two major HDD manufacturers left, Seagate and Western Digital. This defragmentation of the industry has been going on for quite a while now, resulting in those two manufacturers owning their competitions resources and IP and pretty much being able to determine what the market will provide and at what cost to the consumer. That has lead to the rather counter-intuitive profits that these two, especially Western Digital, made over the past year. You would not expect a company which lost its manufacturing capabilities to the Thai floods to see a 230% increase in profit, yet that is exactly what happened from March 2011 to March 2012. Seagate held their first place spot over the same time period, with higher volume sales contributing to that success with their prices only rising 20% instead of the 40% they threatened during the supposed supply difficulties.
The HDD market seems to be on its way out, not just because ultraportable devices chose SSDs over HDDs but also because the average consumer has come to the realization that while having a few terabytes of storage is nice for long term storage they really do not need it, especially on a device which does not have long term support. The Inquirer smells something foul in the air and comments on this topic here.
"Seagate, Western Digital and to a lesser extent Toshiba are starting to see free market economics - or as close as it gets - show their strategy of consolidation and profiteering. With the number of solid state disk (SSD) in the low teens, prices are falling steeply while hard drive makers rely on artificially high prices and shorter warranties to make a quick buck."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The other side of Computex @ The Tech Report
- Inside the “Card-That-Unlocks-All-Cable-Channels” Scam @ Hardware Secrets
- Microsoft's $1bn Yammer gobble gabble blabbed by insiders @ The Register
- Skype 4.0 For Linux Now Available @ Slashdot
- Intel to hold ultrabook cost-reduction meeting with Taiwan supply chain makers in July @ DigiTimes
Seagate announced today that they will be pursuing a controlling interest in LaCie. The two companies deal in complementary areas of the storage industry with Seagate manufacturing drives and LaCie developing mobile and desktop drive enclosures and NAS solutions. In order to achieve a controlling (more than 50%) interest in the company, Seagate has offered to purchase all of Philippe Spruch’s–LaCie’s Chairman and CEO–shares. In addition to shares from an unnamed affiliate, such a buy would net Seagate 64.5% of outstanding shares of LaCie stock. Seagate is offering the LaCie shareholders €4.05 (approximately $5.09 USD) for their stock, and may be increased to as much as €4.17 should Seagate get 95% of LaCie shares and voting rights within 6 months of closing.
The merging of Seagate and LaCie logos (hehe).
After acquiring a controlling interest, they would then work to buy back all other otustanding shares with a cash offer. The initial purchase of stock is still pending governmental approval. Ricol Lasteyrie & Associates has been appointed as an independent expert by the board of directors for LaCie to examine the offer and determine whether or not to accept. Should it go through, Philippe Spruch would join Seagate as the president of Seagate’s consumer storage division. He would have the current Seagate vice president Patrick Connolly and LaCie deputy general manager Pierre van der Elst reporting to him. At this time, Seagate has not disclosed how much the former LaCie employees would be paid to work for Seagate. If all the appropriate governing bodies “okay” it, the buyout is expected to happen in the third quarter of 2012 (Q3 2012).
Steve Luczo, Seagate chairman, president and CEO was quoted in the press release in stating: “Seagate has a strong commitment to the growing consumer storage market and bringing the most dynamic products to market. LaCie has built an exceptional consumer brand by delivering exciting and innovative high-end products for many years. This transaction would bring a highly complementary set of capabilities to Seagate, significantly expand our consumer product offerings, add a premium-branded direct-attached storage line, strengthen our network-attached storage business line and enhance our capabilities in software development."
The combination of Seagate and LaCie seems odd a first, because LaCie does not manufacture their own drives (so it’s not a hard drive patent portfolio Seagate is after); but they are actually complementary services. While Seagate has the hard drive storage down, LaCie has a lineup of drive enclosures and NAS boxes. By combining the two, Seagate can manufacture the drives and the enclosures themselves. Seagate does currently have a few enclosures but their expertise is primarily in the drive technology itself. The opposite is true to Lacie, so the two companies coming together is a good thing for Seagate. One thing that LaCie has done that instantly benefits Seagate is focusing on high end and premium drive enclosures. While Seagate has focused on low and midrange drive enclosures, LaCie has solely focused on high end. This is beneficial because Seagate can integrate those higher profit margin premium LaCie products into their lineup without the need for extensive research and development. Whether it will also result in an improved product lineup and/or cheaper products for consumers remains to be seen, but it has the potential to be a good thing.
Subject: Storage | March 20, 2012 - 01:27 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: storage, Seagate, hard drives, HAMR, density, 1 Tb/in^2
In April 2006 Seagate began shipping the first 3.5" desktop hard drive using Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) technology and since then PMR has become essential in allowing all of the hard drive manufacturers to create the 2 TB+ drives available today. As we approach the limits of what drive manufacturers are able to do using PMR alone; however, they are starting to look at additional technologies to boost the storage density. One such technology on the horizon is Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording, or HAMR. According to a recent press release, Seagate is not only experimenting with HAMR but is the first drive manufacturer to use HAMR to reach 1 Terabit per square in of areal density.
HAMR works by using a laser to heat up the storage medium before the compounds used to store data have their orientation aligned by the write heads of the drive. As bits get smaller and smaller, traditional magnetic recording methods are not strong enough to permanently change the magnetic orientation of the bits, which means that there is an inherent, if theoretical, minimum bit size and corresponding maximum storage density possible with current Perpendicular Magnetic Recording. HAMR further allows drive makers to get around that limitation by heating the physical bits to the point that traditional magnetic write heads can change the orientation.
Via Bit-Tech. The laser heats up the platter before being written to.
The current 1 Terabit per square inch achieved using HAMR is also the theoretical maximum storage density for PMR alone (as mentioned above), which is promising as it implies HAMR still has a lot of working room to improve and has matched the maximum proposed for PMR.
Seagate expects to use HAMR to produce 60 TB+ 3.5" and 20 TB+ 2.5" hard drives within the next ten years. To put this areal density in perspective, current 3 TB desktop drives feature approximately 620 Gigabits per square inch while current 750 GB laptop (2.5") drives feature about 500 Gigabits per square inch. Interestingly, when comparing the 1 Tb/in^2 mechanical drive density to flash (ie SSD) storage at equivalent densities, it works out such that a single bit equals 1nm of flash storage!
Unfortunately, we won't be seeing 60 TB drives any time soon. Rather, Seagate expects 6 TB desktop drives and 2 TB laptop drives to be the most immediate benefits of the heat assisted recording technology. Still, as my 2 TB drive is filling up more quickly than I ever imagined (thanks to working with HD video and making regular backups of data), I welcome as much increased storage as I can get!
Introduction, Hardware Vendors
This year's South by Southwest (SXSW) Trade Show brought together many small and global companies with computer hardware and information technology backgrounds as well as creative industries that produce art, music, and movies. SXSW interactive badge holders and showcased artists got an inside look at the newest innovations in mobile social media platforms and applications, open source web content management systems, professional audio/video technologies, and other multimedia products.
Since I write for PC Perspective, I narrowed the focus of my trade show coverage to companies creating innovative computer hardware, PC and Mac peripherals, and other gadgets that may interest our readers. I also scoured the rest of the trade show for the best booth babes handing out swag and watching other fun, promotional events to get expo visitors to engage with companies to find out more about their products.
See our video coverage of the SXSW Trade Show!
Subject: Storage | December 30, 2011 - 09:45 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, Warranty, Seagate, hitachi, hdd
It's been a few short months since Thailand saw some serious flood damage. The flooding had a huge impact on everything from Automobile production to the making of fiber optic cables. The largest impact to the computer industry was that of storage devices. While flash memory fabs were spared, makers of HDD components were hit hard.
Hitachi plant in Thailand, partially submerged.
This effect quickly trickled down to the HDD quickly spiking prices by nearly 200% by Halloween. Inventories remained at critically low levels for a 60-day window - long enough to have far reaching impact on the PC industry as a whole. With a key component missing from PC production chains, the effects caused dips in demand from the PC suppliers, eventually trickling back up the chain to other component makers. Intel was forced to scale back their chip production. The industry finally saw a reprieve just a few weeks ago, as HDD production recovered sufficiently as to begin the slow replenishment process, and it started to look like everything would be ok.
...and then the other shoe dropped.
Right as HDD Suppliers started catching up on supply, Western Digital made a surprising announcement. Starting on January 2nd of next year, most of their drive lines will see a drastic reduction to warranty periods. Caviar Blue, Caviar Green, and Scorpio Blue drives see a 50% drop from 3 to 2 years. Seagate quickly jumped on the bandwagon, cutting the 5-year warranties of several of their lines down to three. Even worse, the Baracuda, Baracuda Green, and Momentus (laptop) drives will be cut from five all the way down to 1-year warranties. Seagate's reductions go into effect December 31, 2011.
The Momentus XT, while technically a Hybrid SSD/HDD, was not spared in the warranty cuts.
This isn't the first time warranties saw an across-the-board cut in duration. Back in 2002, Western Digital and Seagate (as well as Maxtor - since acquired by Seagate), jointly cut their warranties back to just one year. The reasoning back then was claimed to be strictly business, and that it was done to be in-line with the 1-year warranty provided by PC OEM's, but was that the only reason? We would need a bunch of data on HDD failure rates to know for sure...