In a string of announcements over the past week, storage giant Maxtor (408/432-1700, www.maxtor.com ) has updated its hard drive product line with new external FireWire and internal ATA drives ranging from 20GB to 100GB.
Just announced this week, Maxtor's Personal Storage 3000DV is a 60GB external FireWire drive that spins at 7,200 rpm. It will be available in early July and will cost $380.
In last week's announcements, Maxtor added two internal 5,400 rpm ATA drives to its lineup: the DiamondMax D540X and the DiamondMax 536DX. The DiamondMax D540X comes in 20GB, 40GB, 60GB, and 80GB configurations. (See chart for pricing.) The 536DX is a mammoth 100GB drive.
But it's not all wine and roses for Maxtor. The company says it expects flat or negative growth in the immediate future. In an effort to streamline expenses in the wake of its recent merger with drive maker Quantum, Maxtor announced it would cut 700 to 800 U.S. jobs over the next six months. Maxtor also has laid off 700 employees at its manufacturing plant in Singapore.
Yet Maxtor is anticipating industry-wide growth over the next four years, thanks largely to users who have bought digital video cameras in the past year and need to store the gigantic video files they create on hard drives in order to edit them. According to Annabelle Poindexter, senior manager of retail marketing, Maxtor now owns 30 percent of the external hard drive market.
"The 536DX is aimed at digital-video editors," says Bob Silva, senior marketing manager of desktop products. "We are looking at DV and HDTV as the future. The more you get into editing digital content, the more you need space."
To that end, Maxtor is trying to push the barriers of ATA drives beyond their current 137.4GB capacity limits. Maxtor believes it has broken this barrier by moving to a 48-bit addressing scheme that will extend drive capacity to 144 petabytes (each petabyte is roughly 10^13 bytes). In order to become a standard, however, the new addressing scheme will need to be codified by a new ATA industry specification. Assuming this happens, consumers could continue to see the massive gains in storage space continue.