Freecom outs first ever USB 3.0 hard drive

Mac users will just have to wait.

After 8 years of success the USB 2.0 standard has begun its long journey into obsolescence. Dutch storage company Freecom has announced the first mainstream storage product based on 'SuperSpeed' USB 3.0.

Buyers will be interested to hear that the new external Hard Drive XS 3.0 doesn't cost the earth at £99 (approx $AU181) for a 1TB drive, even though that excludes the £22.99 for a desktop PCI-bus controller necessary to make it work at its intended throughput. Laptop users can pair it with a £25.99 plug-in PC Card to achieve the same effect.

The company is also supplying drivers to make USB 3.0 work with Vista and XP. Windows 7 should have 'native' drivers from not long after launch, or users will hope so. Apple is not yet supported by the XS 3.0.

As upgrades to 3.5 inch external drives go, this one looks like a good deal. USB 3.0 boosts the theoretical data throughput of USB storage devices to 4.8Gbit/s from USB 2.0's now rather tardy-sounding 480Mbit/s. Even taking in account protocol overhead, that should still dramatically reduce data transfer times at a moment when larger files sizes are starting to become commonplace.

"We now can transfer a 5GB movie in just 38 seconds - it's unbelievably fast," said Freecom's managing director, Axel Lucassen. Assuming that USB 3.0 scales proportionately, USB 2.0 would have transferred the same file in six and a half minutes.

Lucassen also put his finger on another application that should be boosted by the arrival of USB 3.0, namely transparent encryption. "The Hard Drive XS 3.0 also outperforms the competition in terms of security. Our USB 3.0 solution will have high-speed hardware encryption with AES 256 bit - this is not only the fastest but also the safest storage solution on the market," he said.

Built-in encryption is a well-kept secret of many of Freecom's portable external hard drives, but the technology has struggled to fulfil its promise due to worries over throughput. External hard drives using integrated encryption have a deserved reputation for being slow, and the interface is one factor in that.

USB 3.0 is designed to have other advantages such as the ability to power more powerful devices straight off the SuperSpeed bus, getting round the need for a power adaptor for certain classes of device. Power draw is one of the reasons why external SATA hard drives have never taken off. USB 3.0 can also cut power drain when those devices are not in use.

More generally, to permeate every type of computing device, USB 3.0 will need native support at OS level. That is the point of USB of whatever generation. Users can plug in a range of devices and they will just work without extra software being a necessity. Having to load a driver for every USB interface or device is clearly no more than a stop-gap solution.

As far as storage goes, it's been the '3.0 week' all round, Seagate having announced the first SATA 3.0 hard drive designed to raise internal hard drive bus performance.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags storageUSB 3.0hard drivesfreecom

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John E. Dunn

Techworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?