The World’s First USB-Powered Desktop External Drive

Innov8 USB-powered DriveSeagate today announced the world’s first USB-powered desktop external hard drive, the Seagate® Innov8, which delivers a whopping 8TB of storage space.

Along with industry-leading capacity, the new drive features a unique technology that keeps the drive running without needing an external power source. It also features a reversible USB-C connector and a striking industrial design. Here’s a closer look at what’s new.

Ignition Boost

We all have a plethora of devices in our homes that require an external power supply for recharging. Thanks to Seagate’s new Ignition Boost technology, consumers won’t have to hunt for a wall outlet to power their Innov8 drive. On top of the power from a USB-C computer, an internal battery gives the drive a boost during its spin-up phase. Once the drive is up and running, the speedy new USB 3.1 bus technology works to keep Innov8 humming along—and keep the drive’s battery charged.

“It’s a self-sustaining system,” explains Clement Barberis, LaCie and extreme design products marketing manager. “Since the drive is plugged into your computer, it’s getting all the power it needs. You don’t have to worry about carrying around an adapter.”

Seagate Innov8 Story HighlghtsSeagate has filed a patent for its innovative Ignition Boost technology. Until now, no other company has developed a 3.5-inch external drive that draws most of its power from a computer.

“When we started with this project, we were really looking at how we could get more value out of a 3.5-inch drive and make it more flexible,” says Paul McParland, senior director, hardware and program management. “One of the biggest drawbacks of these high-capacity drives is that they take so much power. You need to plug them into the wall. That was the idea behind this product—developing a 3.5-inch drive that’s powered by no more than a single USB cable plugged into your laptop.”

Early on, when the drive is still cool, the battery supplies supplemental power to the hard drive, adds Phil Yin, a principal hardware technologist.

“But once the drive has warmed up, its power requirement is reduced and the host system is able to recharge the battery,” explains Yin.

Engineering Collaboration

Engineers at Seagate’s Longmont design center collaborated with their counterparts in the consumer solutions group in Cupertino to develop the drive’s technology; the Longmont team had done some earlier work in developing a self-powered technology for a 3.5-inch drive. Cupertino engineers then applied that work to some of the learnings they’d gained from the company’s battery-powered wireless hard drives, such as Wireless Plus and LaCie Fuel.

“There was a lot of interaction and teamwork between the consumer group and the drive team, to optimize the drive for this particular usage model,” says McParland. “The results really speak for themselves. There’s no other product like it on the market.”

Innov8’s roomy capacity means consumers can access up to 800 HD movies, 4 million photos or 2 million songs. Innov8 utilizes Seagate’s Archive HDD platform, which provides reliable, low-power data retrieval based on shingled-magnetic recording (SMR) technology. SMR overlaps data tracks, like shingles on a roof, to increase areal density.

The drive’s USB-C connector makes it easy to connect, since both ends of the cable are identical and the connector is reversible.

“More and more computer manufacturers are moving toward a one-connection standard like USB-C,” Barberis says, who adds that the Innov8 drive is ideally suited for two distinct consumer-storage categories. “This is a great solution for ‘tech trailblazers’ who appreciate the latest technology features like USB-C, along with ‘seasoned archivers’ who have amassed large multimedia files.”

Forward-Thinking Design

Innov8 also sports a forward-thinking industrial design—one that takes its cue from last year’s award-winning Seagate Seven portable drive. Like Seven, Innov8 has an aluminum enclosure that’s meant to embody the durability of the hard drive inside. The enclosure’s design also has six layers, representing the six platters used in the Archive HDD.

The industrial design—as with Seven—was done in partnership with San Francisco’s Huge-Design, whose clients include Nike, Google, HP and Intel. Innov8 already has received a prestigious Red Dot award for its design.

“Like Seven before it, we wanted to deliver a very unique look and feel with Innov8, one that evoked a bare hard drive, but also offers enormous storage capacity for consumers with a ton of videos, photos and other important files and life memories,” says Tim Bucher, SVP, consumer solutions group.

Innov8 includes Seagate Dashboard software for one-click, on demand or customizable, scheduled backups.


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