Transcend announced its new StoreJet 35T3, which offers a whopping 8 TB of storage in a USB 3.0 external storage enclosure. The world of high-capacity external storage is heating up, and it is all fueled by a new HDD recording technology that offers the lowest price-per-GB on the market.
There are currently only two 8 TB HDDs available, the Seagate Active Archive HDD and the HGST Ultrastar He8 (reviewed here). The HGST offering is designed for cutting-edge datacenter applications, and its price reflects that. The Transcend JetStore, which is available in 3 TB, 4 TB, and 8 TB capacities for $159, $209 and $409, respectively, costs less than a single Ultrastar He8. This indicates the StoreJet enclosure employs the Seagate Archive 8 TB HDD.
The Seagate Archive HDD utilizes SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording), which is a new technique being used to increase the density of HDDs. The standard form of data recording, PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording), lays data tracks out in parallel with a nice space between them to avoid interference when reading data. SMR lays data tracks over one another, much like the shingling on a roof, which boosts capacity (as noted in the graphic above).
Unfortunately, SMR has performance implications that relegate it to the backup/archival space. The Seagate Archive HDD doesn't handle random write data very well, but its industry-low price of only 3 cents-per-GB offers a great "cheap and deep" storage solution. However, this class of HDD isn't recommended for desktop usage.
The Transcend StoreJet boasts speeds of up to 200 MBps, but the Seagate Archive HDD is only spec'd at 190 MBps on the outer portions of the platter. SMR drives do have a large cache that can speed up bursty data transfers, and that is likely the source of Transcend's estimates.
The enclosure also offers a One Touch auto-backup button that instantly backs up users' data. This functionality is enabled by the free Transcend Elite data management software, and the product also features AES-256 file and folder encryption.
Like the Archive HDD itself, the Transcend StoreJet comes with a three year warranty. This is actually longer than the woeful one year warranty offered for most desktop HDDs. The internal 3.5" HDD requires too much power for the USB bus, so the enclosure requires an external power source.
Seagate offers its own Backup Plus 8 TB model with an MSRP of $299, but you can often find it for $250 when it is on sale. Transcend's competition will be stiff.