It's a weekend, so it looks like it's time for another price guide! In RTPE news we are working on releasing a new graphing engine soon, so don't be surprised if our graphs start looking clean and anti-aliased, instead of the awful gnuplot terminal renders we are using now. Just in time for last month's Storage Guide, we unveiled our Cost Per GB calculator, which should help you in your storage purchasing decisions. Two weeks ago we (somewhat) quietly implemented logical OR into RTPE as well. Finally, we expect to open the Beta of our price alert engine very soon; so you will be able to let RTPE contact them as new rebates and refurbs show up on products on your watch list!
Storage news has been fairly weak recently. We recently saw the introduction of perpendicular recording, along with some other tidbits on magnetic storage in general. IDF had a small tidbit about Seagate's real time encryption dubbed FDE (Full Disk Encryption). FDE sounds like the Holy Grail of laptop security; loosing your laptop means a key will still be needed for the drive to physically decrypt its data. From our IDF coverage it seemed like Seagate's FDE was very rudimentary, but this is definitely a step in the right direction to prevent things like this from becoming big problems.
Well even though there is virtually no noticeable difference between SATA IO (formerly SATA II) and SATA, we will continue to cover both sections independently in the hopes that perhaps someday there might be. Hard drive prices, in general, have been very stagnant over the last few weeks. While we have seen some expected changes on the large capacity devices, the majority of drives remain pretty much at the exact same price they were at when we published our last storage guide.
Last month we talked a little bit about Western Digital's "SATA IO" offering; the WD2500KS [RTPE: WD2500KS]. We criticized the drive a bit since the $0.60 per GB rating left a lot to the imagination. However, in the last two weeks all Western Digital SATA drives reduced competitively; and the WD2500KS became one of the most cost competitive drives at $0.48 per GB. Again, the drive lacks NCQ, but as we have seen in the past NCQ implementation seems highly dependent on the manufacturer. The 16MB buffer on the WD2500KS is another benefit only a handful of SATA drives have right now (all of which come from Maxtor) and of those drives only the Western Digital supports the (in)famous 3Gbps bus. Below you can see the aggressive behavior of this drive in the retail market:
You'll also notice the addition of 500GB drives since our last Price Guide. At $0.64 per GB Hitachi isn't setting any records, unfortunately.