When Apple showed off Thunderbolt, we all got giddy with nerdy excitement. 10Gbps dual throughput? Yes, I would like that. Then nothing was released. Thunderbolt ports on the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air sat empty and unused as we waited for the peripherals to arrive. So far we’ve gotten high-end RAIDs that are a bit out of the reach of the average Mac user. Finally Thunderbolt gets some consumer love--some pricey, pricey consumer love.
Whether it’s cars, dog breeds, or plant species, it seems like there are hybrid versions of just about everything these days. It’s not a bad idea—why not mix two generally wonderful things to create something even better? That’s what Seagate hopes to accomplish with its next generation of hybrid drives. The Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid Hard Drive packs the storage of a standard hard drive with the speed of an SSD. It’s totally worth it if you can’t afford a high-priced, low-capacity SSD, and are sick of the slow read and write speeds of the standard platter-based drive.
One of the most essential tools in a Mac user’s arsenal is an external drive for backing up all that irreplaceable data, and the space wars are hard-fought battles, with manufacturers trying to deliver the best drives with the most features for the lowest price. Western Digital’s My Passport Studio and Iomega’s Helium are both worthy contenders, but in this battle for speedy data transfers there can only be one winner.
Videos and music make long flights and arduous commutes bearable. But if there’s just not enough room on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad for everything you want to hear or see, the Kingston Wi-Drive tacks on an extra 32GB by streaming directly to your iOS device.
I have a confession to make: I’m a document pack rat. In all other areas of my life I’m meticulously organized, but when it comes to files and folders, my stuff is all over the place. Digital spring-cleaning is not my forte, which is why I’ve got a bunch of portable hard drives strewn about with various data. Thankfully, Seagate’s 4TB FreeAgent GoFlex Desk will let me consolidate onto one single hard drive with enough space to back up my Mac and iOS devices and store my media files.
With an overseas trip coming up, the iPad and its non-expandable storage wasn’t going to be able to keep me entertained during several long flights. Besides, converting a ton of video files and transferring them over to the iPad seems to take forever. Luckily, Seagate has my back. Their GoFlex Satellite stores a ton of media, and it can stream in iPad-friendly formats over its own Wi-Fi network.
Your Wi-Fi router is the unsung hero in your computer setup. It’s probably the thing you think about the least -- and in many ways it’s the most important link in your electronic chain. After all, your router is what keeps your iMac, MacBook, iPhone, and iPad connected to the internet, not to mention all the other stuff you’ve got sipping bits, like game consoles, TiVo boxes, and internet radios. Apple’s latest AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule are essentially minor updates, but if you’re a Mac user in need of a new router, both are extremely good options.
Mom always says that living with your head in the clouds often leads to unrealistic expectations. But when it comes to data, living in the clouds is perfectly acceptable -- desirable even. After all, it’s a trivial matter to store gigabytes of files on third-party servers for access wherever you can get a network connection. But what if you want to store all of that data on your own turf? And what if you’d rather avoid the complexities of setting up remote network access? Both the Buffalo CloudStor and Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive, Cloud Edition aim to solve these issues -- with varying degrees of success.
Storing your data in the cloud makes for easy and convenient backup, but it does come with a downside. Where is all your stuff actually going? And what happens when today’s hot new cloud storage service goes belly-up and its hardware gets sold to whoever wants to buy it? Pogoplug lets you roll your own network-connected storage, giving you online access to your data and turning spare external USB drives into network attached storage (NAS) devices. And it manages to do all this -- and more -- while still being simple to use and quick to set up.
The future of the MacBook can definitely be seen in the thin form factor and speedy performance of the MacBook Air -- two huge benefits that come in large part from the Air’s onboard flash memory. Unfortunately, you can’t magically turn a MacBook Pro into an Air, but you can swap out a Pro’s platter-based hard disk for the flash memory of a solid-state drive (SSD). To give the MacBook Pro the kind of pep of its thinner sibling, we traded out the stock hard drive for a Mercury Extreme Pro SSD from OWC. In certain circumstances, the performance gains were significant, but we had to trade capacity for speed.