CES - PC-to-Mac file transfer, Intel SSDs draw a crowd

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Storage and data transfer technologies were in abundant display at CES, but a couple of new technologies attracted significant interest and crowds.

Data Drive Thru demonstrated a product to conduct simple file transfer from PCs to Macs at CES this week, allowing connections between the two without the need for software on either computer.

The product, called iTornado, will be available from retailers March 1 and is priced at US$79.95. It consists of a micro-computer inside a case smaller than a pack of cards, which also includes two retractable cables to connect to the Mac on one side and the PC on the other, according to a spokesman who demonstrated the product in a CES show booth.

In the demonstration, split screens loaded on both machines within a few seconds so that a user could drag and drop files easily. The technology relies on USB ports and transfers data at 25 Mbit/sec., according to a spec sheet from Data Drive Thru in Dallas.

The spokesman said the PC-to-Mac capability follows up the successful PC-to-PC file-transfer micro-computer called the Tornado.

At the Intel Corp. booth, an Intel-brand solid-state drive prototype was being demonstrated that will be used to replace hard drives in laptops and PCs. It boasts much faster read and write speeds and will be shown at the Intel Developer Forum in April, said Chris Saleski, a manager in Intel's storage group.

Called the High Performance Solid State Drive, the driver relies on serial reads and writes according to Saleski. Solid state means no moving parts, which improves durability. The technology also requires less power than a traditional disk-based hard drive. Intel is making a 1.8-in. drive that's expected to offer capacities of between 40GB and 120GB, and will also offer a 2.5-in. drive, he said.

Intel has not decided whether it will sell the product through retailers or sell to laptop and PC makers. Saleski said the drive technology will be a candidate for use in a coming class of small PCs that Intel refers to as mobile internet devices, he said. Several of the new ultramobile laptops already on the market, such as AsusTek's Eee, employ solid-state flash drives.

In a short demonstration of an Intel solid-state drive at work in a laptop, Saleski showed that the drive could read and write 680MB of data and related storage in 24 seconds. The read and write speed of the solid state drive will be three to four times faster than that of most hard drives, and it will initially cost as much as three times as much as a hard drive, he said.

The Intel branding on the new drive means it will be eligible for a five-year guarantee for users, Saleski said.

Solid-state drives for laptops and other devices were also being shown at CES by Toshiba, SanDisk and Samsung.

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