Are ioSafe's new hard drives as rugged as they claim? We head to the shooting range to find out!
Covering CES involves a lot of walking, a lot of meetings, excessive amounts of work, and surviving on mediocre hors d'oeuvres. Still, there are some companies that make us forget how miserable it is to be stuck in Vegas (without the gambling, drinking, shopping or partying) surviving on the world’s tiniest food. This year, ioSafe was one of those companies.
On Friday morning they picked us up in a limo, informed us that we were being taken off the strip and drove us straight to a gun range. We were told we would be shooting at ioSafe's just announced Full Metal Jacket external hard drives. The aluminum enclosures on these drives are crush-resistant to 2,500 lbs. The SSD version is available in titanium, which means it can stand up to 5,000 lbs. The SSDs can take drops of up to 20 feet onto solid concrete, while the HDDs can handle 10 feet. They can sit in salt or fresh water for up to three days at depths of 10 feet (HDD) and 20 feet (SSD). They’re also protected against damage from diesel, oils, hydrualic fluids and aircraft fuels in a depth of 12” for up to an hour. Throw in protection from exposure to blowing sand, dust, rain, salt fog, icing, freezing rain, altitudes of up to 15,000 ft (aluminum) or 30,000 ft. (titanium and SSD) and UV, and you’ve got a HDD that is extremely difficult to break. Still, we were going to try.
The actual demo was supposed to involve a water tank, a vice, and us shooting at the drive a couple of times to see how much it could take. We'd then plug the drive in and find out if we could retrieve any of our data. However, the guys at ioSafe were feeling generous and we were feeling destructive; everyone in the room agreed that the proper way to carry out this demo would be to keep shooting and find how much it would take to render the data on ioSafe’s rugged hard drives completely unsalvageable. Turns out it takes seven birdshots from a shotgun and a single bullet from a fully automatic M6.
The drive survived the shotgun, the water tank and the vice. Six shots later and it was no longer registering when plugged into ioSafe CEO Robb Moore's laptop. The Intel SSD had to be removed from its aluminum enclosure before we could see any data. The official demonstration over, we went to town. By the time we were done, there was a hole in the SSD itself and there was no way we could see any of the photos stored on it.
I’m embarrassed to admit that operating the M6 was completely beyond me. The fact that I shut my eyes when I squeezed the trigger -- coupled with the fact that I was was too afraid to pull it for longer than a split second -- meant I missed with every bullet. Despite turning out to be pretty handy with the shotgun, it was Marcus that stepped in and ended the demo.
Check out the gallery below for pictures of what we did to that poor ioSafe drive. You'll notice that the gallery also includes some pretty unhappy looking drives from manufacturers other than ioSafe. It seems they're not quite so hardy when it comes to gunshot wounds, nails, or vices.
We'll be posting 1080p of the full demonstration later this week, so stay tuned for that!
Editor's note: There's some confusion as to what gun was used during the demo. Those present at the ioSafe demonstration informed us it was a modified, fully automatic M6. Several other publications are calling it an M16. However, some of you say it's an AR15 and a gun-nut friend we spoke to (we love you really, Bob) says it looks like an M4 or an AR15.
"It's a variant of the M4 Carbine, complete with a Daniel Defense Omega Rail with an EOTech sight of some sort," Bob explained. "Not sure which model."
Let's agree to call tentatively call it an AR15. Failing that, "big scary gun packing flashbacks that kept Jane awake for two nights running" would also suffice.
Editor's note2: We got in touch with ioSafe who in turn got in touch with the range, American Shooters. Here's what Jeffrey, the nice guy who taught me how to use the safety and not have the recoil knock my teeth out, had to say:
"Ah, what was actually fired was a full-auto LWRC M6 with a Daniel Defense upper. Since the make and model wasn't important for the demo, I said M16 which is the same thing and more recognizable."
Mystery solved! Ten points to user Taiso who solved it faster than Shaggy and Scooby:
the m6a developed by lwrc looks just like this gun: http://www.lwrci.com/p-109-m6a1.aspx they are all from the same AR-15 family so its easy to mistake an M4 for this one or vice versa. the M6 (no a attached) is a shotgun like sting stang said.