back to article Seagate slips out super-silent 2.5in video hard drive

Seagate has decided the set-top box and digital video recorder market is now big enough to warrant having its own special drive - and the Video 2.5 HDD is it. It's chosen a 2.5-inch format because it holds enough video - 250, 320 or 500GB of the stuff - is barely audible at 22dB, and draws niggardly amounts of power. The new …


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  1. Androgynous Crackwhore


    Oohhh. Controversial.

    That should pique the interest of the mindless PC brigade.

    1. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Niggardly?!

      What the hell?

      How is that controversial?

      I'd say you need to learn what words mean before spouting nonsense.

      1. John Riddoch

        Re: Niggardly?!

        Wasn't there a US senator accused of racism when he used the word "niggardly"? Some googling also finds this -

        So, in short, the word shouldn't be controversial, but never underestimate human stupidity.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Niggardly?!

          There's also the fact that 'n-word-ly' sounds plain dumb.

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: Niggardly?!

            > sounds plain dumb.

            Only if you're too deaf to hear the difference between "er" and "ar", and too dumb to look up the origin of the word, which is Scandinavian and has no connection with the Spanish word 'negro' meaning black.

            That's the same sort of stupidity that leads to people burning paediatricians out of their houses because they can't hear beyond "peed..."

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Niggardly?!

              Yeah, I remember that incident, and the aide in question was offered his job back after pressure from the gay rights lobby. I hadn't heard of the word before then, but since it can mean either 'miserly' or 'fussy over trivial matters', isn't the best word to describe a person, as the aide did, because of this ambiguity between the two meanings, let alone the possibility of upsetting someone who ignorant of the word or is hard of hearing (though in the case of this article, the context makes clear that the intended meaning is 'miserly'). 'Stingy' would do as well, 'tight [fisted]' too.

              Be careful of ambiguity:

              "A man walks into a bar with an ostrich and a tabby cat.... Over the next hour, the man and the ostrich take turns to buy rounds for the three of them. The barman can no longer contain his curiosity, and asks the man about his drinking companions. "Well" the man responds "I met a genie who offered me one wish, so I asked him for a bird with long legs and a tight pussy"

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Niggardly?!

                > so I asked him for a bird with long legs and a tight pussy"

                ....see also man with the a ten inch pianist and the man with the head the size of an orange.

    2. Androgynous Crackwhore

      Re: Niggardly?!

      Erm, mind if I ask why I'm receiving such a sound thrashing dear commentardrades?

      Has there been a sudden outbreak of shooting the messenger? Or are the PC nut-jobs (that's politically correct NOT personal computer) objecting en-masse to my calling them "mindless"? Or are there other forces at work?

      I'm not one to quote the wackopedia myself but I see a kind Samaritan by the name of John was good enough to offer it as an elaboration. I can't help feeling at least a tiny bit vindicated in my describing the use of "niggardly" as "controversial", by the fact that wackopedia maintains a page entitled "Controversies about the word niggardly." I also can't help feeling a small twinge of envy at the blemishless string of upvotes he's been receiving for backing me up, while you go on kicking the shit out of me.

      Could someone who's taken the trouble to pause in passing to give me a kick spare a further moment to stop and tell me why????

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    Five POINT four zero zero?

    Are you sure?

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: typo

      How else can it be that quiet?

    2. pixl97

      Re: typo

      Most of the platter is empty, but the part that isn't is extremely information dense. The random seek times are what kills you though.

    3. kb
      Thumb Down

      Re: typo

      To me the bigger problem is the name...Seagate. i don't know if you guys have been seeing the same thing on that side of the pond but here in the states Seagate is quickly getting the rep of "the company whose stuff you don't count on" because of all the failures, just look at the BF and Xmas ads, the WDs were selling for as much as 40% more than the Seagates and they would sell out whereas the Seagates have been on sale for weeks and they still can't move 'em.

      Now I don't know if this is true or not, just what I heard, but the scuttlebutt going around is this can all be traced back to the Maxtor deal, instead of bringing Maxtor up to Seagate quality they cranked out the cheap garbage Maxtor ARM controller chips and those when combined with frankly lousy firmware code is making these things die left and right. the way I had it explained to me is the firmware screws up and can "lose" where the sectors end at when those cheap ARM chips get too hot and it tries to slam past the physical boundary and bye bye Seagate.

      So if it were me I'd just put up with a little more noise and wait 6-8 months before touching anything with the name Seagate on it. In my exp the best is Samsung (if you can find any) followed by Hitachi (both Samsung and Hitachi pre-buyout of course) followed by WD and then at the bottom of the barrel Seagates. I know I've dealt with enough dead Seagates in the past 3 years at the shop I avoid them like the plague and even had to walk a guy through building a clean box so he could try to save his family photos that were on a less than 2 month old Seagate that croaked. The quality just isn't there anymore and when it comes to your data is it REALLY worth such a risk to savea few DBs worth of sound?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: typo

        I think I've had exactly this happen. Was a hot day, Seagate inside stuffy notebook got a bit warm (~50C) and started thrashing its head against the wall. Was alrightenough after a rest and cooldown for me to establish that it had taken the MBR out and the partition table with it. Was able to recover a respectable proportion of the data but it's still something of a chaotic nightmare.

        No idea if this was due to an incompetently designed controller chip from Maxtor but I think I've still got the thing scudding around somewhere. Any idea of the implicated chips' numbers?

  3. Real Ale is Best

    500MB max?

    Not suitable for HD recorders then!

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      >Not suitable for HD recorders then!

      I beg to differ... many people use PVRs to watch weekly broadcasts at times convenient to them, and then delete them. If you want to store the recorded footage 'for keeps', then you would have to take steps to transfer it to additional storage anyway, because one day that single HDD will fail. I believe there is PVR firmware which allows content on a PVR HDD to be transferred to other devices on the network.

      For 'normal people' who don't tinker with their toys, all a bigger PVR HDD means is that come the day it goes Pft!, they lose more hours of the recordings they have made.

      [Disclaimer: I'm not advocating illegal duplication of copyright material, but the above is a technique that allows broadcast material to be retained for reasons that fall under fair use provisions- such as academic use or parody. ]

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Pedestrian users with no imagination.

        > II beg to differ... many people use PVRs to watch weekly broadcasts at times convenient to them, and then delete them.

        ....which is still best done with more capacity rather than less. More capacity means that there is a large window between when you record something and when it is likely to be culled to make room for something else. More capacity means that you can go on holiday and not have to worry about your favorite show being there when you return.

        Modern TV recordings are BIG and there's no longer an option to tweak quality settings to get more storage out of a small PVR.

        Puny PVRs also make it harder to juggle the interests of multiple people on the off chance that you aren't someone that lives alone (family, roommates).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pedestrian users with no imagination.

          seriously who records the tv. get a life.

      2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        Not suitable for HD recorders then

        MEH, so you haven't got a PVR then Dave, or else you're the only user of your PVR

        A 1 hour HD TV show takes up about 3-4% on my 250GB sky+ box. Add a HD movie or 2 and suddenly 250GB seems very small.

        Add the different viewing intrests of 3 people and 250GB starts to look minuscule.

  4. Fat Jez

    I thought 1MB cache seemed a bit low, the specs say it has 16MB.

  5. Justin Stringfellow

    "The drive ... can handle 12 separate video streams simultaneously with a sustained data transfer rate of 100MB/sec and a max one of 300MB/sec."

    12x100MB/sec = 1.2GB/s

    Wow, that's impressive. Especially at 5.4 RPM.

    1. Steve Knox

      Math and/or Grammar -- take your pick.

      Rather, 100MB/sec / 12 streams = 8.33... MB/s per stream.

      (The use of "simultaneously" to modify "handle" effectively rings in the noun phrase "12 separate video streams", meaning that "with..." can only modify "handle", which agrees with the subject drive, meaning that 100MB/s is the sustained data transfer rate for the drive, not for each stream.)

      1. Justin Stringfellow

        Re: Math and/or Grammar -- take your pick.


      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Math and/or Grammar -- take your pick.

        Failure to grasp that mathematics is plural + presenting string of spurious grammatical presumptions as fact + failure to recognise A PUN = downvote

  6. Ross K

    I dunno

    Sky+ HD boxes are kitted out for a 3.5" drive. Would they make the change to 2.5" before the next hardware refresh (whenever that is)? Yeah they could use some kind of 2.5->3.5 bracket, but it's probably cheaper for them to continue using bog-standard desktop drives and say "bugger the environment".

    500Gb is nothing to write home about anyway. Aren't Tivo selling a 2TB model these days?

    1. pixl97

      Re: I dunno

      I'm assuming that these products are being designed for next generation product lines. The 2.5 format would allow the design of a much thinner end product. Add the quite and low power factor in and you can end up with a device that doesn't heat your room, stays silent about that fact, and might not look like an eyesore.

      1. NoneSuch Silver badge

        Re: I dunno

        @pixl97 - Yes, it would. Burglars have been suffering back strain from carrying the larger 3.5" equipped DVR's out the back window. The slimmer drive would mean they can now carry three units out to the van instead of one.

      2. Ross K

        Re: I dunno

        I'm assuming that these products are being designed for next generation product lines.

        Yeah I thought that too, which is why the 500Gb size is a bit low unless someone's planning a RAID setup or something...

      3. Fatman

        Re: ...being designed for next generation product lines.

        Could one picture this drive installed as part of a """smart TV"""" ???

        I mean, quiet, low power consumption, thin size, etc

  7. Raz

    The most important...

    thing about this drive is missing: price. All other features are surpassed by SSDs. Quiet? An SSD is completely silent. Fast? (SSDs should be 5 times as fast during sustained transfer mode, like when writing... video streams). Low power? An SSD uses less power, maybe not a lot less, but less.

    So what's left? Price. Show me the price! Otherwise I don't care about the platter industry, since they gouged us during last year's flood.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The most important...

      Good point. Capacities match too.

      Although... Perhaps concerns about rewrite durability of flash could count in favour of those dreadful spinning rust contraptions in this situation? "Time-shifting" features and the like might give the storage a bit of a thrashing?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The most important...

      The faster speed of SSDs is irrelevant for DVRs, since you're streaming. True, it does random access when booting or for configuration changes like setting a recording, but any DVR designed recently enough to include this drive should include enough flash on the motherboard to use for the OS and config, and use the hard drive for storing recordings only.

      I expect the next generation Tivo will include on-board flash and it'll be possible for the hard drive to die without losing anything except your recordings. If the flash dies you'd be screwed of course, but that's true today since there's already a small amount of on-board flash for the boot/BIOS as in any PC.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The most important...

        I wouldn't say screwed. More like saved the bother of watching the substandard yawn fest that passes for tv these days.

  8. sniperpaddy


    To me this is just marketing BS.

    What's the use of a 2.5" for a non mobile device. There is a MTBF penalty for the higher areal density.

    Who needs 12 simultaneous video streams at home and do you really believe it will be stutter free sharing 100MB/sec ?

    That 1MB cache looks wrong. It should be 16MB.

    I used 3.5" Samsung Spinpoint 1TB, 5400 rpm drives years ago. Silent, cold and lower failure rate that the equivalent 2.5".

    1. Oddb0d

      Re: BIG DEAL

      > To me this is just marketing BS.

      Since it's probably just an existing model with tweaked firmware, I have to agree on this point.

      > What's the use of a 2.5" for a non mobile device.

      Lower power consumption, lower operating noise, greater storage density (2.5" drives @7mm height fit in 1/6 of the space of a single 3.5") and increased flexibility in chasis layout due to a smaller physical size, those are all pretty good reasons.

      >Who needs 12 simultaneous video streams at home and do you really believe it will be stutter free sharing 100MB/sec ?

      The manufacturer doesn't explain what that figure means or how it's derived but if you consider the typical data rate for a Bluray movie is around 36Mbps then 12 simultaneous streams should be no problem. The necessity for multiple stream recording comes from the market for CCTV DVRs which now typically record 16 channels of 720p video simultaneous.

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