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WDC is storage stud of CES with voice-activated media streaming

The rest? Well... y'know, they store digital information

Toshiba, Western Digital, Kingston and Micron's Crucial unit have all introduced drives in time for CES – the standout being WDC announcing voice-activated media streaming features via Smart Home devices.

The Kingston collection includes:

  • Nucleum – a 7-in-1 Type-C media hub that extends functionality of newer MacBooks with a limited number of USB Type-C ports
  • Multi-drive DCU1000 PCIe NVMe U.2 SSD in a 10-bay 1U rack-mount server with U.2 server bays and a total of 40 physical SSDs attached to the 10-bay demo box
  • UV500 SATA SSD family (2.5-inch, M.2 and mSATA) featuring 3D NAND and TCG Opal-enabled encryption
  • Lower-cost A1000 M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD with much faster than SATA performance./li>

The DCU1000 looks like a small business or departmental flash power house of a box.


Toshiba has new Canvio-branded portable hard disk drives with Premium, Advance and Basics models. Capacities range from 500GB through 1TB, 2TB and 3TB. These drives have a USB Type-A to USB Type-C adapter and are 13.5mm thick at the 1TB and 2TB capacity levels but 19mm for 3TB.

The Premium drives are the fancy top-end ones with a silver finish, and diamond-cut edges. Capacities are 1TB, 2TB or 3TB.

The mid-range Advance drives come in glossy black, white, blue or red. Capacities are 1TB, 2TB and 3TB, with the 3TB job having a 19.5mm profile, thicker than the 14mm profile of the other two. All three offer Tosh's backup and security software for download.

The entry-level Basics models come in 500GB, 1TB or 2TB versions and are pre-formatted for Windows. They are 14mm thick and have a minimalist design and matte surface; boring but inoffensive in other words.

These Canvio models will be available in February and, to be plain, don't represent much of an advance on the existing Canvio Premium, Connect II and Basics products.

Western Digital

WDC has seven CES products with indirect Alexa support being the boss:

  • My Cloud Home storage device works with other devices that support Amazon Alexa services so people can access music stored on the MyCloud Home via voice commands
  • The My Cloud Home app works with Google Chromecast technology to allow people to stream their home videos, TV shows and movies to a Chromecast-enabled Smart TV
  • The world's smallest 1TB USB drive with a USB Type-C connector
  • The world's smallest 256G USB flash drive
  • Low-profile 256GB SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1 Flash Drive for notebooks and tablets, TVs, games consoles and car audio systems
  • Portable My Passport Wireless SSD with one-touch card copy to edit and share content in the field, plus direct access from third-party mobile creative apps, like FiLMiC Pro and LumaFusion
  • SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD for saving and editing hi-res photos and videos on-the-go

The eye-catcher is indirect support of voice control so you can yell at your Echo device to get the latest Taylor Swift album played from the MyCloud Home box.

Crucial SSD

Micron's Crucial business unit has launched the MX500 consumer SSD as an update on its MX300. As before, the aim is to replace desktop disk drives and Acronis True Image HD software is included to help this. There is also a mobile-friendly web-app to help installation.

The MX300 was built using 384Gbit chips of 32-layer TLC (3bits/cell) 3D NAND from parent Micron and priced around $250 for 1TB. It came in 2.5-inch and M.2 formats with capacities of 275 and 525GB and 1 and 2TB, with the M.2 drives stopping at 1TB.

The MX500s keep pretty much to the same scheme. They use 256Gbit chips constructed from 64-layer TLC 3D NAND, Micron's again, with capacities of 256 and 500GB and 1 and 2TB. Again, there are 2.5-inch and M.2 formats and the latter tops out at 1TB. A 1TB MX500 costs $259; virtually the same as the prior MX300.

Performance-wise the MX500 is slightly better. Its random read/write IOPS are up to 95,000/90,000 compared to the MX300's 92,000/83,000. The sequential read/write bandwidth is 550/510MB/sec with the MX300 numbers being 530/510MB/sec. Some of that is helped by using an SLC buffer for write acceleration.

The MX300 endurance was 220TB written, meaning around 0.2 drive writes per day for the three-year limited warranty period. This is improved with the MX500 delivering 360TB written at about 0.2DWPD for a five-year limited warranty.

The MX500 has self-encryption facilities – AES 256-bit – and is, overall, no dramatic improvement on the MX300. Crucial says the drives are available now. ®

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